Anatomy of an Entrepreneur Part 2 (10 Necessary Talents)

Last week I started the discussion that, according to Gallup, the most successful entrepreneurs possess this potent mix of 10 "rare talents".  I'm not sure these talents are rare or perhaps it's just having all 10 in one person that's a little less common.  

I'm also not convinced your business is doomed to failure or mediocre obscurity if you haven't been born with all of these talents.  But there IS a case to be made for the usefulness of cultivating these traits in ourselves.  They'll benefit our businesses and maybe even spill out into the rest of our lives as well.

Rather than putting all 10 talents in one epic TL;DR post I broke them up into bite-size chunks.

Last week I covered Business Focus, where you make decisions with one eye on profits and losses.  And Confidence which boiled down to 3 thought patterns 1) not getting stuck over-analyzing everything 2) seeing obstacles as opportunities and 3) using knowledge gaps as opportunities to learn.  Now on to the next two talents...

Creative Thinking

As a creative professional, I was thrilled to see this one on the list.  This, after all is why people hire me.  For my ability to fire up my brain cells and mash the neurons together until the spark of creativity triggers something uniquely beautiful and brilliant for their business.

The good news here is that all the latest research and current thinking says there's nothing "rare" about creativity or "creative thinking".  It can be learned.  And just like a muscle the more you use and condition it the more using it will become effortless and second nature (well...sometimes, other times it still takes an insane amount of effort).

But Gallup is talking about creative thinking specifically as it applies to your business.  Creative business thinkers are part dreamer and part rebel  Which sounds like a pretty awesome combination.  They're on top of everything that's going on in their industry.  And always dreaming up new ways to improve on the status quo.  They're also thinking ahead, anticipating future needs of their customers and ways to grow their business.  They're quick to act and seize opportunities when they see them.

A word of caution, when you've got an awesome new product or service (which could happen often for you if you're always creating and pushing boundaries).  Instead of launching big and sinking tons of money into it - test it out with a smaller group and make sure your vision matches what your customers want.  Nothing revolutionary here, all the "big guys" do this ;)

Not everything you do will be an instant hit.  Every creative (and I'll wager just about every entrepreneur) knows this.  But "creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep," Scott Adams.  And business is finding the creative "mistake" that everyone loves.


If you're a one-person show delegating is a little difficult.  Who do you delegate to?  Even the smartest dog in the world can't help you run your business.  I suppose if you've got the cash flow you can consider outsourcing jobs you had to bootstrap the first time around. Maybe hire a professional design studio to freshen up your website.  Or hire a professional photographer to take new photos.  You know, instead of your best friend snapping a pic in your living room.  Or hiring a copywriter to redo even one of your pages ;) Small upgrades that can have big impacts.

But if you're ready to grow your business beyond one person (or you're already there) then the skill of delegating cannot be understated.

And it may mean some new HR skills for you.  You need to understand your team's strengths and abilities so you can give them jobs and responsibilities in which they'll excel.

You also need to learn to let go (a useful phrase that Disney has ruined for us).  Set clear expectations, make sure your team has all the resources they need to get the job done.  Then take one giant step back.  A great delegator doesn't care how the team gets the job done.  Or if it's done the way he/she would've done it.  All a great delegator cares about is the outcome, the results, the goals achieved.

Encourage new ideas and approaches.  After all, you may not be the only creative thinker in the building.  Plus you'll build an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.  Everyone will end up feeling more invested in your business.

And now that you've successfully delegated all those tasks you've got time to focus on the growth of your business.  Or your next creative move that will shake up your industry and have your customers singing your praises.

The next post (part 3) will cover determination and independence.  Those characteristics that drove your parents bonkers when you were toddlers have finally come in handy.  And you'll need them in spades.