Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Entrepreneur’s Checklist

Over the course of the years, I have been blessed to be approached by many self-professed entrepreneurs who have great ideas they would like me to partner on. 

While the ideas are often great, my primary interest is in the person behind the idea.  After all, there are many great ideas out there waiting for the right collaboration of minds to execute.

The right minds that can create success from such collaboration are rare.

And with that, I was musing about an entrepreneur evaluation checklist that would include but not be limited to the following criteria.


Be …

Don’t Be …

Humble Filled with low self esteem
Audacious Arrogant
Aggressive Reckless
A collaborator A one-man-band
Patient when needed Complacent
Transparent Mysterious
A visionary A dreamer
Strategic Paralyzed by excessive analysis
Tactical Chaotic
Someone who perseveres Someone who doesn’t know when to change direction or stop altogether
Proud Too proud
Data / fact-based Wishful thinking-based
Outcome-based Luck-based
A communicator Vague
Someone who understands one’s strengths Someone who doesn’t understand or accept their weaknesses
Someone who will do what it takes Someone who doesn’t know when to pull back
An educated risk-taker A misinformed one
Confident Uncertain
Focused Random or all-over-the-map
Innovative Regressive
Direct Evasive
Passionate Wide-eyed and scary
Proactive Passive
Respectful Wimpy
Flexible when required Too flexible or inflexible
Stalwart Cocky
Values / character-based Wishy-washy or unpredictable
Authentic What everyone else wants you to be
Gracious with accolades Needing all the credit


Yes, these are obvious, common sense concepts.  However, I wonder why they are not commonly held by entrepreneurs given the fact that they are such common sense.

A great idea is obviously critical to a successful venture. 

Equally critical to a successful venture is the nature of the minds behind the idea.

It is because of this simple fact that so many brilliant ideas that should have been successful have failed while some seemingly innocuous ideas have propelled to greatness.

Knowing the nature of the minds behind the ideas will help identify the difference between failure, success or entertainment for others.

Understanding the mind of the entrepreneur will also help you to know whether you are about to make a leap towards success for yourself and others or you are about to waste your time, energy, talent and possibly money.

Be audacious in your evaluation – you’re worth it.

In service and servanthood,


My Musings-in-a-Minute entry for “An Entrepreneur’s Checklist” is the same as this one and can be found here.

Addendum – March 30, 2011

Maybe this is not just an entrepreneur’s checklist. As I absorb the emails being sent to me about this blog, I wonder if this is a checklist for how to engage with and collaborate with others.

Maybe ……………………

I have also received a lot of comments about the importance of faith.  I deliberately didn’t mention it here as faith is a very personal choice.  I will say that for those who make their faith an important part of their Life (as I do), may they use it to find wisdom, strength, courage and insight and not use it as a hammer to wield power over others or as an excuse to execute poorly with the belief that “Someone Else” will bail them out constantly from their own ignorance, stupidity or slothfulness.

1 comment:

  1. I've worked for a series of start-ups full time, and also helped out several on the side. About a year ago I stopped. While the entrepreneurial spirit became addictive to me, and I loved to be around it, I became extremely disillusioned by entrepreneurs. I started to wonder if the personality type with the attributes on the right-side of your table was necessary to be an entrepreneur, and decided that's not what I wanted.

    My wife, who is clearly smarter than me, reminded me that the entrepreneurs that I worked with were not actually successful, and that the things that I found distasteful about working with them may have been why. This helped, but I needed a little more proof.

    With your post comes hope because it means that my evaluation did not come out of thin air. It is grounded in someone's experience other than my own.

    One more thing concerning your list, some of the items on the right outwardly look and even feel like their counterparts, because they are effectively perversions of their counterparts. For instance, aggressive and reckless look the same. Audacious and arrogant look the same. The difference is in authenticity, which of course is the central theme of most of your work...and rightly so.