Types of Entrepreneur
There are probably as many different types of entrepreneurs as there are people, since one of the great joys of being an entrepreneur is the freedom to invent and re-invent yourself and your business to meet your requirements and the needs of the market in which you operate. That’s why agility, flexibility and future focus are clear advantages to successful entrepreneurs and most would resist being placed in any kind of box, and often defy description in the breadth and diversity of their activities.
That said, there are a number of general categories by which entrepreneurs can be loosely described, as shown here.
A rapidly growing and vibrant sector, social entrepreneurs play an important role in providing products and services with the overall intention of creating social good, operating from a triple bottom line perspective of people, planet, profit. Profit is often reinvested into the enterprise rather than being distributed to shareholders. There are different models of operation and varied legal structures to create such companies, and they are distinct from charities in being self-sustaining through income. Social enterprises have been a long-standing feature of the UK economy and contribute substantially to revenues.
Many people seeking to find meaning in their work are turning to social enterprise as a means of combining their desire to help others and make a difference with their ambitions to succeed in a worthwhile business. This means the demographic spread of social entrepreneurs is right across the spectrum from young to old and from every type of background and education.
Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said: “Social enterprises have the human touch, the local knowledge and the personal commitment to get to grips with so many of our social and environmental problems…Social enterprises are businesses, just a different sort than most people are used to, but they create jobs and support growth. The facts speak for themselves… We want to make the UK the best place in the world to do social enterprise” (Recorded Address at Voice 11 Social Enterprise Conference, O2, March 2011)
Organizations such as Divine Chocolate, Belu and the Big Issue in the UK are social enterprises, and one of the most famous global ventures is the Grameen Bank which was started in Bangladesh by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.
“Social entrepreneurs are people who recognize social problems, decide to roll up their sleeves and get into action using entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to implement social change that is sustainable, good for the planet and for the highest good of humanity.”
Christophe Poizat, Founder & President of International Network of Social-Eco Entrepreneurs (INSE). For more information, visit: http://inse.biz
Serial entrepreneurs set up businesses, and bring them to a stage of development where they can move on either by selling according to a pre-determined exit strategy, or place the enterprise in the hands of a successor or group of successors whilst retaining some degree of investment and/or strategic input, whilst they start their next venture, with a view to repeating the process again.
Lifestyle entrepreneurs choose businesses that reflect their passions and they are more focused on doing something they love than on the pure profit motive for starting a business. This includes making deliberate choices to fit a business around a way of living, for example preserving time with children and family, for a hobby or interest, a sport, or some other element of their life which they wish to retain a place of importance.
The ‘one man band’ – An individual who operates alone in an enterprise and manages all aspects of the business themselves. Increasingly possible and prevalent with the advent of the internet, email, VOIP, etc and the consequent ability to perform multiple tasks, coupled with the ease of outsourcing to other freelancers through the ready supply available through websites.