Book Review: Entrepreneurial DNA
By Daniel Kosir | July 29, 2011
"For centuries, entrepreneurs have been put in one big box. We have been told that we are all the same. That is the single biggest misconception in entrepreneurship- the one size fits all approach to business startup, growth and exit."
Joe Abraham's inspirational springboard for Entrepreneurial DNA is simple, but the implications are vast. His call to eschew "old-school entrepreneurship" is well argued and makes a lot of sense: we are using the same playbook for a game that has rapidly changed.
Think about many of the resources available that offer entrepreneurial advice: the articles, the conferences, the webinars, the success stories. Abraham argues that we still follow the credo that if it worked for them, it will work for us. We need to move beyond this cookie-cutter vision of entrepreneurship, because when it comes down to it, we are not all the same.
This is where the rationale for Entrepreneurial DNA comes into play. Abraham argues that entrepreneurs generally fall within a certain profile or "DNA" that telegraphs potential strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.
His primary thesis proposes that the best business results come after people master their Entrepreneurial DNA and optimize their business approach to play on their particular gifts, talents and weaknesses.
To this effect, Abraham suggests the BOSI quadrant, a collection of entrepreneurial profiles that each hold distinctive modus operandi:
An individual who loves building businesses from the ground up, the builder has a very astute business mind, always looking to be two or three steps ahead of the competition. The builder is driven, calculating, focused and ruthless.
The speculative part of the entrepreneur in all of us, the opportunist wants to be in the right place at the right time. He or she is a risk-taker who leverages time to make as much money as fast as possible.
An entrepreneur who will enter an industry and stick with it for the long run, the specialist is an expert who possesses very specialized knowledge but struggles to stand out in a crowded competitive marketplace.
These are typically entrepreneurs who have accidentally stumbled across a breakthrough invention, concept, product, or system that can be built into a business. Think scientist, inventor or thought leader.
Abraham notes that many individuals have an Entrepreneurial DNA that is a combination of two or more of these profiles, but there is always one that is the strongest or "primary". The book allows readers to determine their Entrepreneurial DNA through taking a short online test (recommended) or a mini-test in the fourth chapter.
Once a reader has discovered their unique entrepreneurial profile, Abraham presents a wide berth of suggestions on how to best approach business in light of their specific DNA. For every entrepreneurial profile, he discusses ways to optimize business plans, operations and management that are in line with the talents, strengths and weaknesses of specific entrepreneurial types.
All in all, Entrepreneurial DNA is an enjoyable and refreshing read that respects the diversity and variety of the entrepreneurial world. It provides a unique perspective that breaks with the all too common one-size-fits-all approach that is typical in entrepreneurial discourse.
Aspiring entrepreneurs may want to consider reading this book as a way to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and get an idea of what type of business they are likely to succeed in. I would also recommend it for established individuals who are thinking of venturing into unfamiliar territory or find themselves questioning what the next step is for their business.