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Segueway to Success

Listen at – “Entrepreneur or Businessperson – Segueway to Success

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By: Brent Hamachek and Tom Kuchan

Our “Segueway to Success” show, talking about our blog, airs each Wednesday at 15:00 CST.  Find today’s show and the archives on our web site:

Being a businessperson and being an entrepreneur are NOT synonymous.

The principals of Segueway have been working with business owner/operators for the past 13 plus years.  In that time they have encountered some brilliant entrepreneurs and some very capable businesspeople.  Sometimes those people are one in the same.  Often times, however, they are not.

People who do not give the difference between the two groups much thought often use the terms interchangeably.  Not only is this inaccurate it is also dangerous if we take for granted that a business associate who might be a very good businessperson or entrepreneur will be just as good at one as at the other.  And the distinction becomes even more important if we begin to mistake an entrepreneur for a manager, even though most entrepreneurs end up managing what they built from their risk-taking exploits.

First consider the entrepreneurs, those people, like Steven Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, inspired by passion, vision, energy and intellect to see green space in the marketplace and to set a course to get there, stay there and, usually, expand from there.  If Keynes’ “Animal Spirits” truly exist anywhere in the world of business they reside squarely in the hearts and minds of the entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurship is a melding of talent and skill and can best be thought of as a behavior.

In a 1989 study, some unifying characteristics were discovered within the world of entrepreneurs.  These characteristics help to form a profile of the entrepreneur.  While some people may evidence more or less of any particular attribute, there is general agreement over the characteristics cited:

  • Need of independence
  • Need for achievement
  • Propensity for risk taking
  • Intuition
  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Internal locus of control
  • Unsatisfied or restrained person

Being a Businessperson, on the other hand, is a vocation.  On its most basic level it is a term defined by its own words; a business person is a person who makes his or her living working in business.  You can have different types of business people – business owners, business executives, business workers, etc.  What all those terms have in common is that they are describing someone’s vocation.  They are absent any unifying attributes or philosophy.  When we consider someone to be a good businessperson we generally think ourselves to be describing someone who has good sense of balance and decision making skills.  We think of terms like “tough,” “sound judgment,” “salesman,” “knows-numbers,” etc.

And then to the particular type of businessperson who is the manager.  Some of the attributes for the successful manager as developed by writer Gerard McLaughlin are:

  • Exhibits a real knowledge of the company, an empathy for its mission, and a genuine commitment to its goals and values
  • Possesses outstanding planning, organizational and project management skills
  • Has a disciplined and methodical approach to handling multiple projects simultaneously
  • Is committed to building a strong team and creating a culture that recognizes and rewards teamwork success
  • Adapts readily to changing roles, methods, and situations; is flexible, open-minded, and responsive to new ideas
  • Possesses excellent time-management skills

These are exhaustive topics replete with literature to study but the message we would like to convey is that being an entrepreneur, being a businessperson, being a manager all require very different skills and talents that may reside in one person but do not necessarily reside in one person.  The entrepreneur with the vision to start a new business venture may not be the person who can manage it to success or through troubled waters.  That is one of the main reasons that over 50% of all new businesses fail within the first five years.

One such entrepreneuer who has successfully made the transition to accomplished business manager is Jill Gordon, co-founder of the Chicago-based retailer “Kidsnips.”  Founded over 15 years ago, the privately owned children’s hair salon and toy store started in green space, grew and thrived as other competitors entered the market and then navigated the economic collapse of the last decade.  Jill and her co-founder Kim Stolze have managed expansion, addressed considerations of franchising, retained and trained both a workforce and a client base and continue to explore new horizons.

Join us Wednesday when we are joined by entrepreneur and manager Jill Gordon who will share her experience through the Kidsnips story.

Segueway Solutions –

+1 (847) 778-9474

Brent E. Hamachek spent the first 15 years of his professional life in banking, working in 6 different sectors including audit, credit and 9 years as a commercial banker.

After commercial banking, Brent formed Segueway Solutions in 2000 in order to assist privately held companies in transition. To date, he has worked in 40 different industries and has served in the capacity of CEO, CFO & EVP Sales for clients. Brent is a sought after consultant, speaker and trainer offering national and foreign expertise to clients.

Tom Kuchan is a proven leader in global business expansion and effectiveness, risk management, finance and operations with experience in both Fortune 50 and entrepreneurial environments. He has a proven record of defining strategic objectives, translating them into operational tasks, and leading their implementation in diverse geographies and cultures across the globe.

Tom has lived overseas for over twenty years, including Switzerland, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked extensively across Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

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