What type of entrepreneur are you?
As an entrepreneur, it’s natural to want to gain a better understanding of yourself. Among other things, this enables you to identify your particular learning needs as well as establish more specific criteria to help you select colleagues, partners and employees who complement you. To this end, a number of entrepreneurial typologies have been developed. One of them was developed by Louis-Jacques Filion, professor and holder of the Rogers—J.A. Bombardier Chair of Entrepreneurship at HEC Montréal. It describes six types of entrepreneurs: the lumberjack, the butterfly, the player, the hobbyist, the convert and the missionary. This typology allows you to compare the thought processes that influence an entrepreneurial player’s behaviour and actions.
To find out what your entrepreneur profile is, answer the following six questions. Bear in mind, however, that this is primarily intended as a reference to guide you in your reflection, as there is no typology comprehensive enough to categorize every entrepreneur. Ultimately, each case is unique.
1. What is your business’s raison d’être?
a ) To do work you enjoy, your way.
b ) To make money/profits.
c ) To give you the means to practise your favourite recreational activities.
d ) To be self-fulfilled and achieve your goals.
e ) To realize your full potential.
f ) To see your company evolve and encourage employees’ learning and professional development.
2. The people who know you consider you to be:
a ) Productive
b ) Opportunistic
c ) Outgoing
d ) Hard-working
e ) Creative
f ) Driven
3. You consider your greatest strength as an entrepreneur to be:
a ) Production
b ) Productivity
c ) Networking
d ) The ability to multi-task
e ) Your potential
f ) Teamwork
4. When it comes to involvement in your company, you prefer…:
a ) People who are productive and hard-working.
b ) Short periods of intense work.
c ) Not to get emotionally involved in your business.
d ) To have a financial cushion, like a second job, and to devote the rest of your time to your company.
e ) To be 100% emotionally invested and to be aware of everything that’s going on.
f ) To be able to delegate when possible, to allow you to concentrate on developing your team.
5. Which strategy do you use to grow your company?
a ) Targeting products that are related to your business as a way to expand.
b ) Reducing operating costs as much as possible to increase profits. Then, quickly finding another goal to work on.
c ) Focusing solely on what is really profitable.
d ) Investing all your available time in your company.
e ) Doing everything you can to bring your idea to life.
f ) Investing in relationships, change and innovation.
6. What’s most important to you is:
a ) Being productive and sure about the quality of your work.
b ) Working in a dynamic environment, where things are constantly moving.
c ) Building a profitable business, so you can do your favourite leisure activities.
d ) Being able to support your business, even if it means getting a second job.
e ) Having finally discovered how to realize your greatest dream.
f ) Building a team that functions like a family, that helps the business grow.
Interpretation of results
The majority of your answers indicate…
A ) You are a LUMBERJACK. You are uber-productive. You get more work done than all your colleagues. You don’t like being around people, as you sometimes feel as though you’re wasting your time. However, you are ambitious and have the ability to work hard. You also like to be doing something, often more so than others. It’s no accident that you prefer those who work hard and do good work like you. The organizational culture of your company is productivity-oriented. This is the most common type of entrepreneur.
B ) You are a BUTTERFLY. You are highly sociable and know a lot of people.
You like to get involved in a project, but often not for too long. Most of all, you like to acquire struggling companies, make changes to them and then sell them. On another note, you like things to happen quickly and you like it when there’s lots of action; otherwise, you lose interest and start looking elsewhere. You know how to leverage opportunities that present themselves.
C ) You are a PLAYER. You lead a very active social life. You enjoy leisure activities, entertainment, parties and games. This explains why you are not as emotionally invested in your company as you could be. In fact, you see your business as the financial support you need to continue to practise the recreational activity or activities you enjoy. This is where your priorities lie. t. Most of the time, you work in a cyclical field, where you work hard during certain periods of the year, and then practise your leisure activities the rest of the time. You may also gradually replace your sport or hobby with social or political commitments.
D ) You are a HOBBYIST. You have a job that you keep for financial security, and you devote all your free time to the development of your business. It will take you a long time to finally make one of the first major decisions: to leave your “day job” to dedicate yourself entirely to your business. You may become a lumberjack or a convert, but at some point you will exhibit the qualities of a player, as you will have acquired a dual or multiple method of functioning, where you perform one activity in order to support another, in which you can truly fulfill yourself.
E ) You are a CONVERT. Many creators and inventors fall into this category. You have found an idea for a business that you’ve been searching for your entire life, and it has become your singular focus. You prefer to do things rather than see results, because you are convinced that, in everything you do, you are taking a step—however small—toward realizing your dream. If you come from an R&D or marketing/sales background, you have a strong likelihood of succeeding.
F ) You Are a MISSIONARY. You launched your business yourself or acquired one and made substantial changes. You have thorough knowledge of your product and your market. You also managed to cut the umbilical cord to your company fairly early on, and you can see things from a broader perspective. You work on the company as much as you do in the company. You delegate everything you can. First and foremost, you try to devote the bulk of your time to communicating, taking part in group activities where you can listen, discuss and exchange with your employees, whom you treat as collaborators. You are the stimulator that fosters the health of the group and instills a sense of identity in group life. You have succeeded in creating a strong innovative culture, which makes your company a leader in its field.
To learn more about each of the profiles, consult the document, Six Types of Small Business Owner-Managers. Also see:
Filion, L.J. (2007) Types de propriétaires-dirigeants de PME. Published in: Filion, L.J. (ed.) Management des PME. De la création à la croissance. St-Laurent, QC : ERPI, chapter 4, pages 63–74.
As for me, I see myself in the convert profile, but I aspire to be a missionary. What is your current entrepreneur type? Which type would you like to become?