So, you want to be an entrepreneur?
At heart, entrepreneurs use innovative technology and dynamic tools to transform ideas into viable business ventures across industries. It's not uncommon to hear of an entrepreneur described within one of four categories or "types." The definition of success—and failure—can vary for each, so it's essential to know which type of entrepreneur you are. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is critical in the early creation stages of a business, which you'll discover as you evaluate the industry, hone in on your market, and build the right team.
We're broken down the four types of entrepreneurs to help you figure out which one you identify with the most—and develop critical strategies to leverage your entrepreneurial DNA.
The innovative entrepreneur is hyper-focused on building products or service offerings and less on running the ins and outs of a business. Innovators are the entrepreneurs who want to change the way people think about and use products and services, and they are extremely committed—often obsessively so—to transforming their ideas into reality.
An innovator's dedication to the creation of products and services makes them the industry leaders that contribute significantly toward economic development. They typically have a knack for predicting market demand and are always ready to take chances. Innovators tackle every challenge head-on, often because of the excitement and the risk associated with it.
Entrepreneurs who fit the bill as innovators include Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX (among other companies), and Ratan Tata of Tata Group. If you're passionate about coming up with new ideas for a product or service and turning them into viable businesses, a Master of Business Analytics can help you use data to find inefficiencies in the market, challenge long-held assumptions, and predict unanticipated trends.
The serial entrepreneur has built a successful business from the ground up. Now, they're focused on scaling their portfolio and leaving a legacy beyond their lifetime. They're adaptable, and after coming out of at least one successful business venture, have a high tolerance for success—and the stress that can come with it.
With many business accomplishments under their belt, the serial entrepreneur feels comfortable learning new tricks to continue industry success and often looks to their customers to understand what's necessary to solve their biggest struggles. Unlike the innovator's goal to offer something no one else has before, the serial entrepreneur looks at the world to catch the next trend or gap in the market offering.
From here, they invest in or build the next "big thing" while leveraging their success to enter that next step in their portfolio. Examples of serial entrepreneurs include Gary Vaynerchuck, chairman of VaynerX, and British business magnate Richard Branson. Both serial entrepreneurs have diverse portfolios that weave in and out of many industries.
Entrepreneurs of this type need to be versed in management, finance, operations, and other vast range of other business-related topics. They don't necessarily need a Ph.D., but an educational foundation in business will undoubtedly complement what learn on in the field. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree lends itself well to this type of entrepreneur, as it provides a comprehensive and expansive approach to business, including disciplines in operations management, marketing, and strategy. Ultimately, this degree will set you up to wear many hats throughout your career, playing a different department within an organization when necessary.
This type of entrepreneur is driven to achieve social change. They're keenly aware of the world around them on a local to a global scale, as well as in the realms of the environment, economy, education, health, and other sectors. They often operate from a "triple bottom line" perspective of people, planet, and profit.
The world-changer entrepreneur's mindset shifts away from bringing any ordinary idea to life and, instead, listening carefully to the issues of a given community to tackle them head-on. They're less interested in monetary benefits than making the world a better place, setting high expectations for themselves and their product offering. Typically, their profits tend to be reinvested in the enterprise rather than distributed to shareholders.
An example of a world-changing entrepreneur is Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. In 1983, he started Grameen Bank, which provides collateral-free microloans to the poor in Bangladesh. Other examples of world-changer entrepreneurs include Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes and Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, whose organizations exemplify how businesses can be leveraged to empower communities and create positive change.
Whether you're establishing yourself in a nonprofit or private sector, Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree will provide the necessary business principles. Additionally, the primary distinction of an MPA degree lies in its potential application.
While the MBA gears toward aspiring business executives, an MPA is tailored to future leaders who want to solve complex problems, enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness, and improve people's lives.
The imitator entrepreneur doesn't want to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they repurpose what already exists in the market by adding their own flair. Compared to other entrepreneurs who build their ventures from scratch, imitator entrepreneurs redefine an idea within a low-risk environment. They're able to make note of and avoid the mistakes of previous iterations—sometimes, those of competitors—and benchmark their progress along the way.
An example of an imitator entrepreneur includes Logan Green, CEO of Lyft. He created the ridesharing platform in 2012, after using Craigslist's ride boards and wanting to eliminate the anxiety of not knowing the driver and other passengers. Today, Lyft is the second-largest ridesharing company in the United States.
Unlike the previous types of entrepreneurs who would benefit from training in essential management competencies and often, more generalized degree types, the imitator entrepreneur would thrive with an MBA with a specialization in product management. This niche focuses on the introduction of new products and services into the market, with training on how to evaluate and design new products and evolve marketing plans to guarantee long term success.
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Priyanka Jaisinghani is a social entrepreneur, writer, and advocate with a passion for making an impact. As the co-founder of a global mentorship program, GirlzFTW, she works to connect high school and college girls to inspiring mentors. She is also driving impact through her work as Managing Editor of Conscious Magazine, as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper community and the United Nation Foundation's +SocialGood Connector Class.