I know an entrepreneur when I meet one. They have certain inherent traits that give them away. They would sooner die than work for someone else. They are fiercely independent and crave freedom. They are usually disorganized but are wonderfully creative. I understand the entrepreneur. I grew up in the home of a serial entrepreneur and I became one myself. Then, it’s no wonder that I love coaching the entrepreneur.
Born to be an entrepreneur
I grew up observing my father’s grand entrepreneurial schemes. Joop Muusers is still a true entrepreneur to this day. He journeyed from the canals of Holland, to Australia where he grew tomatoes with his brother Arnold. He then became a trucking company owner for a few years. Later, he discovered the opals mines of Australia and began selling opals all over the world. He took us to Hong Kong and then to Los Angeles. We ended up in Hawaii where my father became a jewelry store mogul. He now lives in Thailand where he grows flower bulbs for export to Holland. He went full circle in his entrepreneurial quest.
How to spot the Entrepreneur
Successful entrepreneurs are a different breed. They have big ideas, big plans and not a lot of focus. They usually have several balls in the air and are experts at “creative financing”. This used to mean convoluted financing schemes with friends and relatives that materialized at the most appropriate times. More commonly today it means credit card debt.
On telling the Entrepreneur the Truth
I still remember when it struck me that entrepreneurs need to hear the truth. My client, a successful entrepreneur with his hands in several businesses, wasn’t moving forward. Each week during our sessions, he reported that he had not completed the tasks he said he would. I took a risk said to him “All I hear from you is excuses about why you don’t do what you say you want to do”. All of a sudden, my client’s demeanor changed. He stopped smiling. He looked at me with an expression of “How dare you?” He said “Now wait a minute.” I thought “Oh here I go… I’m going to be fired.” But the next week the tasks had been completed. My client was very proud of himself and sheepishly admitted that without the push, he may have continued making excuses. Miki Agrawal
What I learned from this is that deep down entrepreneurs don’t want to be coddled. They appreciate the truth. So be prepared to tell them the truth. You are probably the only person they will ever encounter that will tell them the way it really is. Other people tippy-toe around them and cover the truth.
Disorganization is their biggest downfall
Papers, books, reports, old articles, and tons of files are littered throughout the office of the entrepreneur. I try to get them to see that delegating is the smart way to get things off their plate and get it done. They really don’t have to do it all themselves. If they could only find what they need when they need it they could operate at a different level of success. I help them to improve what they are good at and delegate the rest.
Don’t Hold Back the Entrepreneur
True entrepreneurs are not afraid of risk. I like to encourage them to think even bigger! They can take it. I listen. I brainstorm. I encourage brilliance. I don’t criticize or tell them they’re wrong. And I certainly don’t ask them to do things they don’t want to do.
How to Work With Entrepreneurs
If you work with entrepreneurs, you should know that they are very complicated and interesting people. The best way you can work with them in harmony is to respect them and get out of their way. Learn to be supportive and understand that entrepreneurs see things that others don’t see. They can envision the possibilities and see the steps necessary to get there. They thrive on risk, seem very stressed, yet manage to get it all done eventually, sometimes with a high financial loss and at other times, with extreme success. Take pleasure in the journey!