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6 Business Owner Archetypes & How to Leverage This

Posted by Katie Hauser on May 15, 2016

This is a special guest post from James Lopata, Executive Coach at innerOvation. Read the original post on the innerOvation blog.

When it comes to what businesses need, one size does not fit all.

But you might not know it from all the easy advice that’s thrown around on the web.

One of my business buddies, Jeb Bates (owner and CEO of ThoughtAction and the PaperRoom Institute) and I were brainstorming recently about the work we do with business owners. We discovered that there are six basic types. And that we approach working with each differently.

Each leader comes from a different place, sees things in a unique way, and has different needs.

Below are the six archetypes that we discerned and, in a nutshell, what kind of outside business coaching that we find works best for each.

(See the Business Owner Optimization Matrix for quick reference.)

Which one are you or would you be if you ran a company?

How can you leverage your type and find what you need in order to succeed?

(1) The ‘All Set’ Owner: These owners are pretty well all set with what they need. Usually these are well-seasoned business proprietors who have a lot of experience and therefore know what type of help to look for and when to look for it. They find the kind of help they need when they need it. These types are rare. They are golden. Invest in them!

(2) The Driver Owner: These types know what they are after. They have clear goals. They know how they want to get to those goals and they just go. Some of their challenges include that they can become so single-minded and driven in their pursuits that they miss things that can be crucial to their business development. They will sometimes suddenly look up and around and find themselves stuck in places with their businesses that they hadn’t intended to be. Perhaps customers stop showing up, or a sales strategy isn’t working as intended. Their drive and certainty sometimes blinds them to other possibilities. These types benefit from outside assistance when (a) they hit a wall and can’t see the way forward, or (b) they somehow see the benefits of getting external help before they hit a wall and are willing to seek the broader benefits of deeper exploration of business possibilities and accountability structures.

(3) The Everything Owner
: These are the types who have all the tools. They know about and have in place lots of legal structures, financial tools, business plans, and so on. It’s all there. But they just can’t seem to make it all work together in a way that builds their confidence, builds their business and builds revenue. The kind of help these types need is assistance in defining a central vision and mission for their business, and to help them discover key metrics. Providing clarity helps these owners better focus the tools at their disposal in a way that decreases waste and overkill and creates efficiency, effectiveness and ease.

(4) The Analytical Owner: These types know a lot and they like to analyze and consider and really get know their business, but, for all their knowledge, they can’t always put it all together into action to create a winning business. These types get entangled in what is frequently referred to as ‘paralysis by analysis.’ Sometimes this business owner’s behaviors manifest in short bursts of big investments — just for the sake of doing something, anything — followed by periods of regret and retrenchment. These need deep behavioral change. Outside assistance from the right sources can help them get unstuck by helping them see the deep beliefs, habits, perceptions and thoughts that are hindering their progress. Deep change can help free them into forming constructive actions and behaviors that allow their businesses to thrive.

(5) The Go-Go-Go Owner: These are the ones who are always on the go, but have very little reflection. They often lurch from one thing to the next and are typically very reactionary when it comes to business needs, as opposed to being responsive or forward-looking. They typically don’t feel they need assistance from anyone. These are the most difficult nuts to crack. Unless they have become worn down enough and felt enough pain or are in danger of losing it all, they typically have no interest in getting outside help. If they are really ready to commit to a process of change, coaching could benefit them greatly.

(6) The Not Set Owner: These owners may need assistance, but they are generally not willing to be assisted. These types either must transform into one of the other 5 types, or they risk creating a business that goes nowhere.

Which are you? Click here to view the handy Business Owner Type Optimization Matrix.

James Lopata is an Executive Coach with over two decades of executive management experience. Follow him on Twitter or head over to the innerOvation blog for more wisdom.