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7 Kinds of Entrepreneurs

They're not all the same, and that's probably the best quality about them.

Global Influencer

Global Influencer
Global Influencer

When you run across as many entrepreneurs as I do you get a feel for differing mindsets, skill levels and general attitudes of the entrepreneurs you interact with in a business relationship.

Some entrepreneurs are ‘vexations to the spirit’, others are timid wanna-be’s and others make you afraid of being in the same room with them in case they take your wallet. They all make up the business world and it’s fun to be able to figure out people at a networking event or be able to understand them if you are ever in front of them in a boardroom or on the Shark Tank.

I think you can accurately identify these kinds of entrepreneurs from the CEO’s you run across.

1. The Disruptor

I love these guys. I love their energy, their innovative brilliance and how they challenge old ideas. I enjoy finding and writing about disruptive technologies that question the status quo because their curiosity about how to make things better always jumps out at you. Their natural curiosity makes them the real deal when people say someone is thinking outside the box.

If someone asked me to give an example of a disruptor entrepreneur Elon Musk comes to mind but there are more out there than you think constantly questioning and looking for alternatives to products and services.

Of course, there is a fine line between being an innovator and being labeled a disruptor. Perhaps, they are part of the continuum together.

2. The Prodigy

Those entrepreneurs who are extraordinarily talented or have exceptional abilities in business are wonderful to work with in any situation. They have an innate business mind that allows them to effortlessly conduct business with an upper hand. They have the Midas touch and seem to conduct business instinctively.

Neil Patel by the age of 30 had already founded three companies and received numerous recognitions, including making President Obama’s list of top 100 entrepreneurs under 30. He told Forbes he didn’t learn the one thing he really wanted to in college: critical thinking but his natural business skills came to the rescue.

3. The Strategist

These entrepreneurs don’t let anything faze them and keep their emotions in check at all times. They are thinking like a chess player, many moves ahead. The long-term goals of this entrepreneur’s vision are ingrained in their employees who understand where the company is going. They don’t tend to be very open but you can be sure their planning will be successful.

Warren Buffet is by far the best business strategist in the modern era. Known as the “Oracle of Omaha” he had assumed control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 with holdings in the media, insurance, energy and food and beverage industries.

4. The Machine

The Founder’s Institute says this type of entrepreneur “is someone who gets things done on time, every time. Equipped with a strong sense of duty and an aptitude for problem solving, this type of person can transform a simple proof of concept into a marketable product in even the tightest schedules.”

They are conscientious, self-disciplined, very determined and most likely if something has to be done they will end up doing it themselves to make sure it is done the way they want it.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavic was so committed to getting a job in the computer industry in his early career, he took the job for free for 6 months to prove himself because he was under qualified. He waited tables at night to pay his rent. His two books, Driven: How to Succeed in Business and Life (2010) and The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding (2013) illustrate why I call him the Machine.

5. The Visionary

When you look up ‘business visionary’ on Google (GOOGL), Steve Jobs comes up very time. He saw the vision for Apple (AAPL) and changed the way we communicate. Discipline coupled with massive amounts of creativity creates a visionary. The visionary who can take innovation and the vision is a great business leader.

The visionary sees employees as talent and leads them by the force of their passion and will. Sustaining the vision through thick and thin is a game-changing entrepreneur.

6. The Hustler

I know a lot of these entrepreneurs. Everything is about hype and you’re always hoping the information they give you is on the up and up. They’re go-getters and, please forgive me if you sell automobiles, but they are like typical car salesmen. Friendly to a fault, full of confidence, they are the ultra-extrovert and love giving you the rose colored glasses for you to read their pitchdeck.

I know it must be unfair to say Mark Cuban is a hustler but I say it in a good way. Just because they are enthusiastic doesn’t mean they are making claims that are not true.

7. The Accidental Entrepreneur

I am hesitant to include this ‘entrepreneur’ in the list because they may be responsible for successful businesses but they did so in spite of themselves. It may sound odd but I run into inventors, intrapreneurs (superb employees) and timid people who have come up with great ideas and initially try to setup businesses. They quickly realize that they need help and hire someone to take over the reins. Maintaining a controlling share of the business may make them an entrepreneur but I think they would rather be employees once they realize how out of step they are with entrepreneurism.

A young man came to me recently wanting me to work with him and his new startup. To say he was naïve would be an understatement but his idea had some merit. He said he had a competent CEO lined up but wanted me to be Chairman of the Board – what? Thinking if he filled up the management with senior executives the project would go ahead was a bit foolhardy.

Of course, the accidental entrepreneur may be a genius for realizing that he can’t run the company and needs help…hmmm.

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, young and old, and obviously with a diverse mix of foibles and talents. The fact that someone can put all their faith and resources into a startup is challenging and exciting.

From the Disruptor to the Accidental entrepreneur a successful business starts off with a strong leader. It might make your business relationships work better if you know what kind they are before you work with them.

Many people think of position size in terms of how many shares they own of a particular stock. But it’s much smarter to think of it in terms of what percentage of your total capital is in a particular stock.