You might think that people who start and run businesses are similar people with similar things driving them. That perhaps the difference between a startup founder who achieves venture success and someone who works on their business solidly over many years is difficult to pin down.
But findings from our recent study show that while talent and skill most certainly have their own place in business, what separates an entrepreneur (people who build, scale and exit a business within five years) from a business builder (folk who steadily build their businesses over a period of 10 or more years) is more to do with personal motivation—that is, what brings you energy, drive and satisfaction in business.
There are many similarities between entrepreneurs and business builders. Both are highly motivated to turn their ideas into action and are more focused on the big picture than the general population. Both demonstrate a high amount of indifference to the rules of others and prefer not to impose their own rules on the team.
However, there are some subtle but striking differences in the motivations of entrepreneurs and business owners which can help predict whether you’re more likely to succeed as a founder or a business builder.
While both entrepreneurs and business builders have a higher focus on money than your average Joe, an entrepreneur’s focus is found to be almost 20% higher than a business builder. They prioritize the commercial and financial side of the business—like profit and loss, revenue, debt, margins, and budgeting—far more than their business builders counterparts.
Business builders prioritize structure slightly less than the average member of the workforce—that is, they’re slightly less motivated to plan than most. But that’s nothing compared to entrepreneurs, whose focus on structure is almost non-existent. Pretty handy when it comes to the agile approach favored by many startups.
Do you prefer sticking to the script, refining procedures to replicate results? Or perhaps you’re more motivated to rip up the rulebook and try new procedures every time? The former is typical of the business builder, slowly perfecting how things are done to be assured that value will be maintained. The latter is a motivation seen in entrepreneurs, who will try lots of things to see what works.
Low focus on procedure is essential for agile growth and experimentation in the early stages of a business. However, as a business matures a focus on procedure becomes more important to your success, so ensuring someone in your team is keen to ‘cross the ts’ is critical as your startup matures.
Both entrepreneurs and business builders have a low preference for external references when compared to the general working population—that is, neither is strongly motivated to seek input from experts or stakeholders on their ideas, decisions, and strategies. Importantly though, entrepreneurs are even less inclined to seek an external opinion than business builders. Their vision and self-belief are powerful enough to drive them forward.
That said, as a business matures, a greater focus on external reference is found to correlate with positive outcomes. As you scale, the need for experts in specific areas such as marketing, production or talent management, becomes critical to success.
Well, that really depends on your natural inclinations. We work best when following our natural preferences and businesses flourish when their founders have their eyes open to their potential blind spots.
But whatever your motivations are initially, becoming aware of your blind spots and talents to optimize is the first step to becoming the type of entrepreneur you aspire to be - or building the business of your dreams. The power is yours!
Find out more about how the Fingerprint for Success assessment can help you here.
Our programs were designed by world-renowned coaches. Sessions only take 5-15 minutes. Get started for free with your personalized program now.
Our expert coaches have designed hyper-effective programs that will help
you change the world.
Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to let you know which program to start with (and if there are any you should skip)!
Your recommended programs include:
Found correlated with venture success, big picture thinking is critical in starting a new venture. Increase your comfort and use of big picture thinking to avoid getting lost in perfectionism or sweating the small stuff so you can focus on what is important and move quickly. Big picture thinking is key in communication and situations where you need to get the gist of things quickly.
Inspire yourself and others to see and achieve grand visions and goals. A focus on goals is especially helpful for starting a new business, inspiring others with your ideas, maintaining focus over time and aligning teams with clarity and purpose.
In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help increase your comfort and confidence to be a founder of a new business, navigate investors and other stakeholders and also help you develop greater comfort to compete and collaborate at the top of your industry or field.
Comfort to initiate and kick things off is at the heart of a startup. Close the gap between your great ideas and taking action on them. Strengthen your comfort and motivation to start conversations and initiate opportunities that can accelerate your business growth.
Explore, strengthen and stand by what you believe in business and in life. Trust in your ‘gut feel’ and point of view is especially helpful for starting a new business, inspiring others with your ideas and for living an authentic and meaningful life.
In this high impact nine week program Coach Marlee will help you to increase your self leadership and general wellbeing while also helping you to break through self sabotage, develop life long skills for emotional resilience and solid self-esteem, all crucial skills when starting a business. Enjoy weekly cutting edge science backed wellbeing resources from Blisspot.
“Marlee helped me discover skills in myself and about others on how to work together as a team!”
“Marlee helped me to work on my self-belief”
“I think Marlee is impressive!”
"I have learned how to communicate better using every tool I have in myself, especially in learning how to use my tone of voice"
“As an engineer, I never thought about doing a retro with my family. This has been cool.”
“Quite amazing how many things get done when they are initiated!”
"Attention to detail coaching program was profoundly simple but impactful. I am seeing detail more than I have ever before!"
“Awesome and effective coaching program of helping to increase motivation for goal challenged people. Fallen in love with goals and looking forward to more BHAGs. Highly recommend the coaching for GoalCatcher!”