What kind of entrepreneur are you? - Tips to become the best one
It is clear that you are the CEO, Founder, Owner, Director, General Manager, or some variant of your own company, but do you really know what level you are at? How do you see yourself and what do others perceive? What would be the next step?
A worldwide genius at the field (Bradley Schwartz) classified entrepreneurs in 6 levels. I will tell you below the summary version, which can help you understand yourself a little better, giving you a different perspective and allowing you to decide if you are where you want to be.
Without further ado, the levels, according to the author are:
3: Owner / Leader
In this case I already differ with this good man, since 0 and 1 are practically the same, such as 4 and 5. On the other hand, this should not be seen as a ladder, but rather as an ascending path where it begins at 0 and ends at 5, but with a long distance between each checkpoint. That is, most of us are at an intermediate level between one point and another. We would not be progressing if it wasn’t so, and that would be very boring.
1 – Self-employed
He is an entrepreneur who dedicates 90% of his time on the product, with very little focus on marketing and little knowledge of the management of a company. He fulfils all the roles simultaneously, so he does nothing quite right.
If you are here, what you should do is changing your perspective. For example, do not see yourself as a consultant or as a freelance, but, in any case, as the owner of the consultant. You must also generate a vision of your company: where do you want to go? Work to try to create a workflow and be able to hire someone to help you.
A variant of this case is the so-called level 0, which is different because it also has a single customer and the whole business depends on him.
Many entrepreneurs aren’t able to advance from this position. They feel that they are advancing because they work 14 hours per day, but in reality, they are stuck in a vicious circle (they need the finished product to generate income, but they need income to finish the product).
2 – Manager
This is a bad place to stay, but unfortunately it is part of the road. The characteristics of this milestone, according to the author, are:
They believe that if something has to be done well, they have to do it themselves
They lose focus, as they feel it is more important to be a boss than to earn money
They hire people who can control, not lead, since they want to be in everything
They see the company’s money as their own and not as the profit that the company generates
They have trouble at making decisions since they don’t have the information for it.
I hope you are not at this point, but if so, I’ll give you some tips to move forward. You have to put together a team (not a sum of employees) and you must lead it. You have to create a sum of procedures that take your company forward (remember why you created it in the first place). How to know if you achieved? When you have an autonomous leader in each area of the company, let them inform you, you do not have to direct them but lead them.
3 – Leader (Owner)
At this point you can consider yourself satisfied, since very few can make it. You work less than before, because all your areas are controlled by a person in charge and you don’t have to worry about everyday life. You have time to see how to increase the value of the company, opening new sales channels or improving procedures. Your role is to direct the company without “working” on it.
You may wonder, why moving forward if I am already where I want to be? The answer lies in the fact that you may not be happy here where you are. It’s ironic, because you are where thousands and thousands of people would want to be, but maybe you might not feel complete at this place. You have too much free time and that can be a problem.
A problem with this position is that probably you don’t feel comfortable, because you liked the work you used to do and now you don’t feel useful anymore.
Personally, I get you. Ask yourself again “where do you want to go?”, “what makes you happy?”
Probablemente encuentres que la respuesta es algo más compleja que este camino ascendente que describe el autor, ya que podrías seguir siendo el líder de la empresa, pero a su vez cubrir alguna tarea o participar en algún área que te apasione (por ejemplo, en investigación para definir el roadmap de tu producto, o en ventas para presentar tu producto en eventos, como hacía Steve Jobs o Bill Gates).
Now, if in spite of what has been said, you decide to reach the last level and become an investor, a business person, what you must do is changing the vision of yourself. You have to put a CEO and walk away from the management of your company, which happens to be only a business that produces a certain ROI and you must invest your time in generating other businesses, which will produce more and more benefits.
4 – Investor
Your focus is on the return on investment (ROI). At this point, the game is very different and you could make mistakes, don’t be afraid, everything is learning. You arrived here making mistakes, do not forget it.
The big question is: “Do you feel comfortable in this role?” If not, do not worry, you can go back to level 3 whenever you like.
As a corollary, the difference that the author sees between this level and the next one is that in the last one, you make investments with external capital, not with your own, you help companies to grow and to go public. I see this as a variant of this same level.
If you got here, making a self-analysis and as a matter of respect for the time you dedicated to me, I would like to tell you how I see myself. It is important for you to understand who wrote these lines.
Actually, I feel that I am somewhere between the levels 3 and 4. That is, I lead more than one company of the same category, which have a solid structure and area leaders whom I trust and who have a clear responsibility. However, I also get involved in the areas that I am passionate about, which are several (project management, macro-level business management, new products). On the other hand, I also have investments, and not only in the stock market, but in other companies, of which I am a shareholder or strategic partner.
A phrase that was stuck on me is the one that says: “If you are working hard, it is because your company is not working”.
I am saying this since it is something that always strikes me, because when I have plenty of time, I often feel bad because I think that I am being unproductive or that I have little work, but the truth is totally the opposite (the work is very well organized and it works as a properly oiled mechanism). In those cases, I take the opportunity to think about new opportunities, or write some lines in a blog.