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Updated 24 May 2018

4 Types of entrepreneurs: Which one are you?

Just because entrepreneurs seem larger than life doesn’t mean that all of them are all loud, big personalities. Find out if you fall into the four main categories of entrepreneurship. 

Nicole Crampton, 13 September 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Tony Stark stands on the edge of a cliff, fighter jets shoot passed him and an explosion lights him up from behind. This might be what majority of people have come to expect from entrepreneurs, but don’t let that perception fool you. There are many personality types suited to be an entrepreneur, and one of them might just be you.


“For anybody that plays tennis, all of us have a stroke that we prefer. And that’s our default. It’s destiny in the sense that we all start with a comfort zone. We start with a set of ways of making decisions, of leading people, of seeing ourselves as an entrepreneur – whether we’re building an independent start-up, or trying to create a new business out of an established corporation,” says John Danner, entrepreneur, researcher and author.

Here are the four categories of entrepreneurs based on John Danner and Chris Kuenne’s book, Built for Growth: How Builder Personality Shapes Your Business, Your Team, and Your Ability to Win: 

Related: 4 Things no one tells you about entrepreneurship

1. The world-changer

You want to leave the world a better place than you found it, and you’re using your business to achieve that goal.  You know the world can be changed by one person and one venture at a time and you’re committed to leaving the world a better place. This entrepreneur would typically have a mission as the core element of the business with other elements funding the mission. 

A world-changer in action 

Bill Gates, and his wife Melinda, founded the Bill and Melinda Gates to give back to the community:

“Our families believed that if life happens to bless you, you should use those gifts as well and as wisely as you can.” 

2. The visionary 

Do you find yourself lightyears ahead of your friends and colleagues? You could be a visionary entrepreneur. This type of entrepreneur will identify needs in a marketplace and develop something to fulfil that need. You have “a gift to understand how a market was developing and to be able to identify the solutions, or services, or products that the market would want before the market even realised it,” says Chris Kuenne, Professor at Princeton and co-author.

The visionary sees the bigger picture

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, has revolutionised entire industries with his focus on moving beyond the status quo: “Leaders are also expected to work harder than those who report to them and always make sure that their needs are taken care of before yours, thus leading by example.” 

Related: The buzz about social entrepreneurship

3. The captain 

“Captains tend to see themselves more as managing through the “we” rather than the “me,” if at all possible,” says John Danner Berkeley professors and co-author. Do you prefer to see other succeed and help your to steer your business to success? You could be a captain entrepreneur. If you prefer to win as a team, where everyone got involved and helped the business succeed, then you’re probably a captain-style entrepreneur leader.

A captain leading from within 

Jack Ma, Alibaba founder says: “Your employee should have superior technical skills than you. If he doesn’t, it means you have hired the wrong person.” He relies on the experience and skill of his team to achieve success in his business. 

4. The analyst

This entrepreneur is focused on fixing problems in a systematic way. Are you the type of business leader who focuses on the puzzle or the problem? If you are, you could be an analyst entrepreneur. “They’re attracted to situations that nobody has yet been able to crack. And that fascination with the puzzle solving, with the system’s diagnosis is what animates and anchors,” explains Danner. 

Analyst track and overcome challenges

Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp of Uber developed their initial business idea around a challenge that they had come up against. They have since launched various other iterations to solve further challenges within the transport industry: “You won’t be a good entrepreneur if you are satisfied after solving one problem. There are always bigger challenges.”


If you’re still uncertain about which personality you fall under, you can do this quiz to determine what type of entrepreneur you really are.

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Nicole Crampton

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