Sunday, April 22, 2007

What kind of an entrepreneur are you?

In my days, I have met with many many entrepreneurs. We have agreed and disagreed on things, learned from each other, and experienced disappointments and successes together.

Here is “one” way to slice and dice the group.

  1. The Pure Dreamer
    The pure dreamer is filled with new and novel ideas -- innovations and schemes that will make a lot of money -- for some, every once in a while they see their pictures on the front page of the Time magazine . Despite their potential, majority of these folks never cross the bridge and get to the “doing side.” They are always waiting for the right time and almost always regretful (if only, I had that idea a long time ago, ..). My advice to this group is to either admit that you are a dreamer (get it over with) and then enjoy the dreams and the innovations without regret, frustration and the feeling of failure OR “just do it” as the saying goes; the short cut to results may be finding a partner with a different character profile!
  2. The “not so Pure” Dreamer
    These are the self proclaimed entrepreneurs that generate ideas faster than bunny’s produce offsprings. They have a shotgun approach - the more bullets in the air the higher the chance of a hit. The not so pure dreamers have yet to see an idea they do don’t like and a risk level that is too high! My advice to them is that entrepreneurship is more of a laser guided sport and the more is not always the merrier. Aim carefully and focus. Fast talking is not the same as salesmanship and focusing on a quick buck is not entrepreneurship.
  3. The Always Stealth Creator
    As the name suggests these guys have discovered the next big thing but are afraid that others may find out and copy it - on the basic assumption that the rest of the universe are “non-thinkers” and will not figure it out on their own. These folks skill fully conceal the innovation, often to the point of obsolescence. My advice to this group is there a lot of smart people out there and that it is “doing” that makes money and not “hiding” – To capitalize on a good idea you must first share it.
  4. The Enforcer
    Well, these folks are skillful, mechanical and hard workers. They are intelligent and astute. They particularly shine in large corporate settings. They are not necessarily “first idea” people or original tinkers, but they can find a 1001 ways to expand an idea, open up markets for it and lead an organization to results. However, they often fail in start-up situations – naturally they would disagree. My advice to this group is that being a great corporate entrepreneur does not necessarily qualify you to be a start-up executive / founder. Be very careful; make sure you fully understand the differences between the two before you jump in.
  5. The 100% Genuine thing
    The genuine thing, although a risk taker can walk away easily if the opportunity does not make sense at a gut level. Is constantly planning the next step and most often has a passion that transcends “dollars.” A genuine entrepreneur prefers smaller organizations that can be turned on a dime. They like to be in the middle of things and can motivate people with their vision and passion to accomplish unordinary things. They are always looking for new ideas but are fairly grounded with respect to execution – can it be done? Is it worth doing? My advice to this group is “don’t” fight it!

    Which one are you??? Should I develop an “Are you an entrepreneur test” ?

My Education

I am quickly learning that writing a blog requires a lot of discipline. You need to be thoughtful and quick - My apologies for being a slow learner - I’ll get there. It would be great, however, if you could help me with topics – what interests you? Here are some topics I am looking at:

  1. Weekly tips on effective execution, this is not a how to work harder guide! but a how to be more effective series of thoughts.
  2. A session with and entrepreneur -- documenting a conversation or two every week with some of the entrepreneurs I meet and discuss funding with (naturally, the name of the company & founders, as well as, the business details will remain confidential) – the good, the bad and the ugly. The idea here is to take real life interactions and turn them in to a learning experience – this is NOT an interview, but rather a one sided (my) perspective.
  3. Random Tips on valuation, term sheet, trends, concerns, etc.

    ALL from the Investor’s perspective.

    Any thoughts?