Entrepreneurship – What Kind of Smart Are You?

business (7)There used to be only one kind of “smart”.  You took a test which measured your intelligence quotient (IQ) and were assigned a number based on the results.  The higher the number, the smarter you were and the more likely you were to be a success.  Fortunately, that way of thinking is now known to be flat out wrong.

We all know someone who is book smart, but no one can work with her because she’s completely clueless on how to interact with people.  Then there’s the charming, personality guy who doesn’t know how to turn a profit.  There are many kinds of intelligence. 

Word smart

Word smart people know how to communicate their ideas, visions and goals, which inspires others to support them. They’re able to create loyalty in employees, sell customers, write business plans, teach using funny and interesting stories, influence important people and raise money from investors.

Words matter.  Lack of communication, across the board in all industries, is the biggest complaint workers have about their bosses. It’s a fundamental part of human nature to want to know what’s going on and, more importantly, how we’re going to be affected by it.

Self smart

One of the abilities of the self smart person is the capacity to understand herself (i.e. motivations, limitations, strong points, fears, hopes, wants vs. needs, drives) through others’ eyes.  It’s impossible for us to see ourselves as others see us, we all have blind spots.  Some peoples’ spots are much larger than others – you know who they are. 

Successful entrepreneurs welcome people who challenge them, who “call them on their s***”.  Self smart people seek out feedback from others, it gives them insight, which they use to learn, grow and move forward. 

Number smart

Successful people comprehend profit, loss and margins.  They use financial information to make decisions and do their planning.  This occurs over the life span of the company, beginning with start-up costs and ending with exit strategies.

The lack of number smarts is the biggest problem most entrepreneurs have.  It’s estimated that 80% of businesses fail in the first 5 years because the owners weren’t aware of or didn’t care how vital it is to know and do the math. 

People smart

This kind of smart is having good social or people skills. It’s being able to read and interact with all types of individuals.  These are people who’re energized by and like to work with others. 

Their knack of effectively interacting with people shouldn’t be confused with an ability to communicate (word smart).  They often talk at, rather than with others.  They’re the personable “glad handers” who can efficiently work a group without really saying anything.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur it helps to know which kinds of intelligence are your strengths and which are your weaknesses.  You can focus on your positives and learn to overcome or compensate for your negatives.  The more you know about them the better chance you have of achieving your goals.