A business owner’s multiple personalities (and why they matter)

Three Personalities

Many people have attempted to dissect and analyse this crazy world of business ownership that we inhabit.

We can spend all of our time reading books and blogs in an attempt to solve the puzzle of what we need to be doing. There’s certainly no shortage of material out there, no shortage of free advice, and no shortage of people telling you what you’re doing wrong.

Probably the most popular author on small business ownership, in the US at least, is Michael Gerber. It’s possible you might have heard of his E-Myth stuff.

One of Michael’s more valuable contributions to our world is his suggestion that within all of us, as business owners, lie three competing personalities: the technician, the manager and the entrepreneur.

Who are they?

  • The technician is product focused and is happy to keep busy doing the work that he loves
  • The manager is systems focused and keeps everything together, making sure all is running smoothly
  • The entrepreneur is market focused and is obsessed with how things could be better for the business (and the world)

I think it’s a reasonable proposition and it’s a useful lens through which we can analyse how we focus our own attention. In fact, it’s something we use in our SmarterPreneur Circles and it’s the basis of a powerful exercise that engages the participants.

It’s a simple exercise. I ask how people have been spending their recent time in these different modes, and look for an answer in percentage terms e.g. 20% Entrepreneur, 30% Manager, 50% Technician. Most people find it easy to estimate this.

Then I ask them how they feel they need to be spending their time to develop the business they’re looking to build. And again, three numbers are forthcoming.

Here’s the thing: the two sets of numbers are always different.


Why is that? Why is there always a gap between our ideal and actual selves?

At a fundamental level, I believe it’s due to the fact that we can’t stop ourselves from being drawn into the many aspects of our business that are desperately in need of our attention, as we see it. We tend to operate more in a reactive state than a proactive one.

Everyone’s mileage will vary but as a species we spend way too little time in activities that raise real awareness about how we’re doing and where we need to be going next.

Do you think that making some space for that awareness raising would be a good use of your time in the coming days and weeks?

(image via KatBee44 on redbubble.com)

This post has been amended from a recent edition of a fortnightly email written specially for ambitious business owners. You can join the growing list who receive this mail here

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