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The Four Routes To Entrepreneurial Success
By John MinerI really enjoyed reading "The Four Routes To Entrepreneurial Success." Miner conducted researched 100 entrepreneurs in New York to understand the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
He found entrepreneurs tend to be one of four basic personality types. Miner calls these basic types of entrepreneurs:
--The Personal Achiever
--The Real Manager
--The Expert Idea Generator
For each type, Miner offers possible routes to achieving success as an entrepreneur. Miner points out pitfalls each type typically faces along the way to success. While the other types can find happiness as employees in larger corporations or as entrepreneurs, Miner says Personal Achievers need to become entrepreneurs to achieve true fulfillment.
Some people have more than one of the above types. Miner calls these people "complex entrepreneurs." Of the entrepreneur's studied, 46% of the complex entrepreneurs had firms that had grown a lot, while individuals lacking a strong type didn't have any firms that had grown a lot. Only one entrepreneur, the owner of an industrial lubricant company, was strong in all four types. He could move fluidly between the various types.
Miner discusses characteristics of each type. For example, Expert Idea Generators love ideas, tend to avoid risk, and enjoy innovation. Miner tells us that risk avoidance is important because it keeps the Expert Idea Generator focused upon ideas that can actually work.
Miner writes: "Creative ideas have some redeeming social value; crazy ideas do not. The difference is very hard to establish when you are riding the wave of inspirational zeal."
According to Miner: "The ideal situation for any entrepreneur is one where others perceive that a high degree of risk exists, ... and the entrepreneur with his or her knowledge sees practically no risk at all."
We also learn that Expert Idea Generators often need a benefactor to provide financial support for their ideas. Expert Idea Generators, sometimes, also need managers to run the companies, because management often isn't their strength. Expert Idea Generators may not be particularly strong in following through and getting things done.
Expert Idea Generators also run the risk of becoming too product-focused and losing sight of the customers' needs. And, they run the risk of not knowing enough. For example, Miner tells us some people working in small family businesses might come to incorrectly believe they're on the cutting edge of knowledge, when, in fact, they aren't.
So, to become real experts, Miner says Expert Idea Generators benefit from reading a lot and getting experience at multiple companies in their industry.
Miner says another pitfall Expert Idea Generators run into is wandering away from their areas of expertise. Because Expert Idea Generators are often highly intelligent and may know one field very well, they may incorrectly come to believe they're prepared to tackle another industry as experts.
Miner cautions: "You are always capable of having really terrible ideas. Never forget that."
In addition to the discussing the four entrepreneurial types, Miner writes about entrepreneurship in education. And, he wonders if women follow different routes to becoming successful entrepreneurs than men do. We learn that women are more likely to start service firms than men and women are more likely to be complex entrepreneurs.
My only criticism of the book is that the test to determine your type (if any) seems too simple. Miner asks us to check one of three categories ("Very Much," "Sizable," and "Less") for various questions, such as "Need To Achieve." and "Love Of Ideas."
Now how the hey are we supposed to know our "Need To Achieve" relative to other people? Miner also says we can use our intuition to help us understand if we might fit one of the types. But, I'd still like a more robust test, such as the online test accompanying, Now, Discover Your Strengths (Now, Discover Your Strengths doesn't discuss entrepreneurship, but it shows how important it is to follow your natural strengths to be successful. It's a good book to read along with "The Four Routes To Entrepreneurial Success.")