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When your greatest strengths get in the way | Clarus Advisors



When your greatest strengths get in the way

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.  There are certain personality characteristics that are requisite to starting your own successful business. But how you apply these traits is also key in determining if you grow a “sellable”  and sustainable business or just own a profitable job.

Research has shown the top five characteristics exhibited by successful entrepreneurs are:

  1. Passion and Vision
  2. Comfortable with Risk
  3. Comfortable with Ambiguity
  4. Resilience
  5. Strong Sense of Self

All are critical to getting a business off the ground. Each trait is required to drive an enterprise forward especially when it is just starting out, but they are also some of the traps entrepreneurs fall into as their businesses grow. Each characteristic (with the exception of resilience) is a double edged sword that can cripple your ability to build a sustainable and sellable business.

Passion and Vision:

Both are essential in establishing your business.  Both traits can allow you to connect with customers, employees and suppliers.  But when the passion and vision is twisted into… “No one cares about this business as much as I do… therefore only I can fix it” – it becomes problematic.  Think of the business owner who does not delegate.  We’ve all met that person before and we’ve seen how that attitude is off-putting and disruptive. Ultimately in this scenario the mission and vision is lost to everyone else and value is destroyed.  ENCOURAGE AND EMBRACE OTHERS AS THEY JOIN YOUR VISION.  IT CREATES A MORE HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT AND HELPS EXPAND YOUR VIEW – MAKING THE COMPANY MORE RELEVENT TO ALL CONSTITUENTS.

Comfortable with Risk:

Being able to recognize and evaluate risk is great asset, but that is  far different than being a “gambler”.  It takes a lot of nerve to put everything on the line, but it rarely pays off when done blindly.  EVALUATE POTENTIAL RISKS, GATHER DATA AND MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS. HAVE A RISK MITIGATION PROCESS IN PLACE THAT ALLOWS THE COMPANY TO MOVE FORWARD WHILE MINIMIZING THE POTENTIAL FOR FAILURE.

Comfortable with Ambiguity:

We live in a chaotic world, where often we do not know all the facts.  Entrepreneurs need to be able to adapt and move their company’s forward.  Being able to navigate change and uncertainly is critical.  But again, it is not the sole domain of the entrepreneur.  Most people are uncomfortable and uncertain when things do not go as planned, or the path forward is obscured.   Driving the company ahead without having the entire team on board will ultimately hurt the company. DEVELOP A “THINKING PLATFORM” THAT INCORPORATES A BROAD SECTION OF YOUR TEAM.  EXAMINE, DISCUSS AND DEVELOP ACTIONS AS A TEAM TO OVERCOME UNCERTAINTY AND BUILD COHESION.

Strong Sense of Self:

Entrepreneurs start their own businesses because they know they can.  They know they will be successsful. They have deep faith in their ability to succeed, regardless of the odds.  They can forge through adversity with little encouragement from others to overcome challenges.  But this dynamism can also be the single greatest destroyer of a company’s value.  One person running a company – controlling most or all of the aspects of the day-to-day operations is one person having a job, NOT owning a business.  CHANNEL THAT STRONG SENSE OF SELF INTO A DYNAMIC LEADER.  ONE WHO ALLOWS THE MANAGEMENT TEAM TO DO THEIR JOB – ONE WHO PROJECTS AND LIVES THE VISION/MISSION OF THE COMPANY  – ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THAT CONTROL COMES NOT FROM DOING THE TASK, BUT FROM LET OTHERS DO THEIR JOBS AND MAKING THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

Being a successful entrepreneur requires all these skills.  Being a successful business person, requires the ability to channel these traits and leverage them across the organization in a manner that allowS the organization as a whole to exhibit these traits.  By doing this entrepreneurs enhance their enterprise, creating stability and sustainable value both within and outside the organization.




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"This quick, thorough read is designed to help any sized owner or entrepreneur improve their business and its chances for survival in today’s tough economy." – Dr. Benjamin Ola Akande, Dean of George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University"