I read an interesting article in Forbes recently that discussed a study about whether entrepreneurship was in your genes. The article referenced several different examples of each type of entrepreneur the study identified and it got me to thinking that perhaps the real question is whether or not it matters to the success of the entrepreneur?
After years of working with many entrepreneurs my sense is that only very few of us are “born” entrepreneurs. You know the type, the kid who has the Kool-Aid stand and actually made money at it. The one who went from job to job, always selling, and saving to start-up “his or her” thing. It’s in their blood. They have to take an idea all the way through execution, come hell or high water. Get out of their way because they mean business. But when I think back, I’ve only met a handful of those types and they are fun, charismatic and usually successful – and they’ve had their share of failures too.
The “made” entrepreneurs are those whose education and experience has led them down the entrepreneurial path. Connections they’ve made and people they’ve associated with draw them into a business plan that seems like it might be workable. There are also family businesses where the kids grow up in the entrepreneur’s lap and decide it’s right for them, much like the children of professionals, (doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, etc.), go into the same profession as their parents.
The rest of us are “accidental” entrepreneurs. An odd ball set of circumstances pushes us into business and we see it through. I started running a family scuba diving shop and then became a business broker and was fascinated by how a business works – if you press this lever, this should happen, etc. I did not set out to own or run a business, I just found it fun and found myself leading groups of people toward a vision or goal.
Regardless of how you got there, in the end, success comes down to good leadership and stewardship of the enterprise that you or someone else created. An entrepreneur has to be a leader to get things to happen, but a leader doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur.
In the end, I don’t think one type of entrepreneur is better than the other. However, it is worth noting because each brings different skills to the table. The born entrepreneur is likely gifted in sales. The made entrepreneur is likely adaptable, trainable and willing to learn and partner. The accidental entrepreneur is more the Heinz 57 variety – a lot went into the success and you’ll probably never know which was the magic ingredient
So does it matter which type you are? No, it simply means you bring a different perspective to the game. And as long as you’re open to other perspectives, you’ll stay in the game!