A big thank you to our guest blogger, Teresa Wallace!
Congratulations! You are an Entrepreneur, or you are considering becoming an Entrepreneur. Either way, it’s an exciting time to be one of us. Exciting and scary. Why scary? Do you know that about 50% of new companies fail in their first five years? Imagine how demotivating it would be to invest five years of work, money, and hope — and it all just disappears, five times out of 10.
The Gallup organization has found that there’s a particular reason for every entrepreneurial failure, and sometimes many of them: Entrepreneurs run out of money, market conditions changes, supply chains fall apart, or the regulatory issues makes it too hard to run a profitable business.
These are all valid reasons, but they also found a more basic reason for failure that we rarely hear about. It’s quite simply that the entrepreneur just doesn’t have the talent for the job. It sounds harsh, but Gallup research finds that the success of a new business has much to do with the person starting that business.
When we start our companies, we are often forced to be the chief cook and bottle-washer. We are the product developers, service providers, information technology gurus, accountants, marketing, and sales force. We take on all these roles because of necessity. After all, who can we afford to hire in the early stages of our businesses? Who will care about our venture as much as us?
Yet, how many of these things can we be truly great at? It’s here that the problems start.
All the best research around leadership development tells us that we are most successful when we operate in our strengths. These are our natural talents. These are the behaviors that show up without us even making an effort. In entrepreneurship, the natural talents seem to make some people better at noticing new business opportunities and more likely to be risk-takers, natural salespeople, and adept at cultivating social networks — all traits that drive entrepreneurial success. Gallup identifies 10 Talents of Successful Entrepreneurs.
While they have identified the 10 Talents of Successful Entrepreneurs, Gallup also reminds us that we do not have to be great at all 10. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs are great at only a few; however, where they are deficient, they find ways to add the other talents to their businesses. Where we will be most successful in our entrepreneurial ventures is when we spend most of our time in our Dominant or Natural Talents and seek support and partnerships in the others.
For a moment, let’s move out of the theory and into real-life application. Here is my personal example to illustrate how Entrepreneurial Talents work. My Entrepreneurial Talents are: Knowledge-Seeker, Determination, Risk-Taker, and Independence. I do these things naturally, and they help me move my company forward.
Based on my Entrepreneurial Talents Assessment (and what I know about myself), Promoter and Relationship Builder are at the bottom of my talents. I struggle in these areas. Nevertheless, my business will never reach its full potential if I do not promote it and build relationships.
While I can try to learn the behaviors associated with Promoting or Relationship Building, I will never be able to tap into them like someone with these natural talents.
Instead, I allow people close to me to connect me with the right individuals and join networks to meet people who can further my business goals. My success and my business success occur because I am great at my natural talents.
Set Yourself Up For Entrepreneurial Success
You can find out more about you entrepreneurial talents by picking up the new book: Entrepreneurial Strengthsfinder by Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, Ph.D.
It’s eye-opening reading and will help you begin to think about your talents, how you’re using them in your business, and how you can access them if they don’t come naturally to you. Each book contains a free access code so you can take the Entrepreneurial Talents Assessment online. Your personalized report will show you your Natural Talents, the talents that you will need to work a bit harder to access, and the ones that you should find other ways to tap into.
About the Author:
Also known as The Sunday Serenity Coach, Teresa Wallace consults with entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking to re-energize and take their careers to the next level. Connect with her at Agility Leadership Coaching or on Twitter @agilitycoaching.