Most of the entrepreneurs I am advising at the moment fall into three distinct buckets:
- The Go Getter
- The Pragmatic Inventor
- The Controller
The Go-Getter recognizes excellence. Their passion drives their actions – yet they realize that going it totally alone will slow them down. This type of entrepreneur seeks out professional advice – and more importantly – evaluates it, considers it, then accepts the parts that work for them. They hire experts; they seek mentors. They do not yield to naysayers, yet they are willing to modify their vision to meet market need. They know that success relies on their own actions – and they concentrate on their areas of strength to drive their business. Go-Getters make great clients.
The Pragmatic Inventor has a product he/she created or refined. Inventors think outside the box. They see a problem, and find a fix. What these clients need is business and marketing help. They need a team to take their invention or idea and make it a desirable commodity. Some need help in packaging, costing, placement and sales. Some hope to license their raw invention, receive royalties and move to the next idea. Again, those destined to become successful recognize their strengths and understand their limitations. They know it takes a team to win. Inventors take more work, yet are very satisfying clients to see and help succeed.
The Controller may be a driven salesperson or a quirky inventor – or a mix of both. They often believe in themselves or their product so much that they cannot accept that success means letting go — or at least loosening their grip. These clients need a mix of TLC and tough love on their journey to accepting advice and realizing that few one-person shows hit the big time. They may seek advice, acknowledge the wisdom of others – but question having to pay for public relations and marketing advice. Controlling clients present significant challenges and often take more time and energy to help. And, in my experience, they are most likely to stall or fail. When they finally accept that they need help … and that expertise comes at a price … the relationship can work.
Whatever the style, entrepreneurs intrigue and inspire me — I learn something new from every one.
What type of client challenges you the most? What are your best tactics for dealing with them?