Sandy Geyer answers commonly asked questions from new entrepreneurs.

“I’ve been told that people with certain personality types have a higher chance of being a successful entrepreneur than others. I want to start my own business but I’m concerned that my personality may mean I’m not cut out for entrepreneurship. I suppose I am quite introverted and detail oriented and would prefer to stay “behind the scenes”. What do you think? Is it true that some personality types should not try and start their own business?”

From my experience, entrepreneur personality types don’t give you an indication of whether you would be a successful entrepreneur at all, but they do provide very helpful guidelines as to how to play to your strengths as you align and set up your business structure. Your level of self awareness is critical in this area.

As an introvert, you would most likely score highly on the task oriented and detail oriented dimensions of personality type measures. Task orientation is a great attribute as you would function well in a “control” position. This also indicates that you would focus on getting the job done without being concerned about how much you think people like you. Your detail orientation would ensure that you think things through carefully, analyse your results and set good systems in place as you go. In other words, you will look before you leap!

The downside of your possible natural detail orientation, is that you might get too caught up in the accuracy aspect of things and forget about the necessity of taking massive and consistent action. Your task orientation might also cause you to struggle with inspiring your stakeholders (ie clients, staff, partners) to follow you.

The benefit of personality theory over and above the insight it might give us about ourselves is the knowledge of what drives human behavior in our businesses. In your case, you would be most interested in how to be a valuable contributor, sitting behind the scenes, whilst mobilising the right people to storm the barriers. I would strongly suggest that you learn more about personality drivers and how to apply that information to the structuring of your business. Ensure that you are playing to your strengths whilst filling in the gaps by either partnering with, or employing the people who have what you don’t.

Sandy Geyer is an entrepreneur and mentor and teaches the principles of entrepreneurial intelligence at ENQ Practice.

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