Reflections on the DNA of an Entrepreneur: Discovery vs. Routine


One of the characteristics I enjoy most about entrepreneurship is that an entrepreneur does have to keep doing the same tasks repeatedly. In fact, my experience is just the opposite. An entrepreneur is constantly trying to perfect new tasks. The entrepreneur is in constant contact with people and those who need a product or service. Because entrepreneurs want to perfect a product or service, they must continually take the pulse of the people they serve.

I have to confess my undergraduate and part of my graduate education trained me to perfect procedures in which the steps are repetitive. My background and experience as a certified public accountant highlights the repetitiveness of what a good accountant does. I found working as an accountant interesting at first, but quickly became boring because I wanted to move on to learn new things. I have heard people say that accountants and lawyers often make the worst entrepreneurs because of the repetitive nature of their work.

In retrospect, I can see how professionals like lawyers and accountants make terrible entrepreneurs because most of the time they involve themselves in fixed routines in which they have extensive training. Corporate planners in specific vocations are much the same way, but entrepreneurs enjoy constant relations and communication with the people and the consumers he they aim to serve. Few engagements involve using the identical procedures and the entrepreneur is more like a detective always trying to seek the truth to perfect a product or service. Steve Jobs highlighted this role as an entrepreneur in developing his products.

I believe I have always had the curiosity to enjoy learning new tasks because I learned from my father who worked as a private investigator. I believe, because I helped him on many occasions, it put the thirst for entrepreneurship in my blood. I enjoyed discovering new things about people and this role stayed with me to this day.

A good entrepreneur in my experience likes to work with people from diverse backgrounds. The corporate planner, the accountant, and lawyer attune themselves to a more convergent group of people with similar skills. Entrepreneurs like to learn from others about talents and skills they may not already have. Entrepreneurs like to stay in touch with people with diverse talents because it allows them to improve products and services to satisfy an emerging need.

Corporate planners immerse themselves in routine and become detached from people. These people become more bureaucratic and enjoy placing layers between themselves and the people they ultimately serve. Bureaucracy in my view is a dirty word because it adds costs and, although in the beginning is more efficient, it eventually reduces efficiency in the long haul. Corporate planners already have a model producing enough cash flows, but entrepreneurs have to craft a model to make it efficient enough to produce enough cash flows. Corporate planners manage existing models and repetition makes their models tired, but entrepreneurs create new efficient models through their communications with people and consumers to discover what they want now.

I believe an entrepreneur is more an adventurer and enjoys dealing with the unknown. Professional planners concern themselves more with avoiding the unknown and dealing with issues with which they already have skills. Both professional planners and entrepreneurs work to minimize risk, but risk is routine and a person can avoid risk through insurance or risk transfer. The unknown is much more adventurous because no one knows what it may bring.

What do you enjoy? Do you enjoy learning and discovering new tasks or do you enjoy the routine of a professional planner? What is in your DNA? I would love to hear your answer.

If you have the DNA of an entrepreneur and want help to use your talent as an entrepreneur please visit us to learn more about how we can help.

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