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One of the great peripheral assets of my job is the pleasure of gaining deeper insights into business, and businesspeople.

There are three types of small business owners, and what separates them respectively is solely a function of their attitude.

Three Types of Small Business Owners:

1) The Philosopher (All Product, No Promotion) 

(Otto Frederick Rohwedder)

Like a Philosopher, this type of small business owner slaves away at their product in the hopes somebody will eventually recognize their superiority. People rarely do.

The philosopher spends a great deal of time ruminating about their business plans, but rarely sets any of  these plans into action. They would rather spend 6 weeks writing a business plan than two seconds sending a press release to the media. They are convinced that there is a certain amount of "perfecting" that needs to take place before plans should materialize in the form of action. They don't make good salespeople, and prefer manuals and business meetings over media interviews and authoring content.

The Philosophers actually do get their products off the ground are seriously devoid of necessary marketing efforts, and energy. They have the brains and the product, but yet, the business owner down the street with bright yellow signs and an inferior products usually always eats their lunch.

They are all product, and no promotion.

They would rather perfect the customer experience versus run the risk of "overly" promoting themselves before their product is truly "ready" for that sort of attention. They won't actually say this, but this idea will just naturally manifest within their collective subconscious. Want an example of one?

You know, you always here about how a particular idea or invention is the "greatest thing since sliced bread." This implies what a great idea slicing bread was, and naturally whoever though of it should have naturally made a fortune. Tell that to Otto Frederick Rohwedder who actually did invent sliced bread, but failed to make it profitable until he sold the idea to Wonder Bread years later.

2) The Pirate (All Promotion, No Product)

(Timothy Snelgrove)

If I had to compare these first two types of small business owners in terms of attitude, I would say that the Philosopher is a pessimist who is staunchly conservative while the Pirate sees only smooth sailing ahead. The Pirate is just as entrepreneurial as the Philosopher, but takes greater risks, and is not afraid of rejection. They are the types that will start a business and figure out the product later. They view "planning" as secondary to first-hand experience, and enjoy perfecting their product over time, but ideally, after it is already profitable. The Pirate more often than not acts before they think. They are great at marketing because all of their energy is directed toward increasing visibility and making a profit. They rely a lot on the perception they create around their product for the sake of the general public.

Like a Pirate, this type of small business owner will go rushing into a situation (market) even when not adequately prepared. Consider the tale of Timothy Snelgrave who gave away free coupons and samples of his coffee via social media. A lot of brands do this successfully, but not Timothy's Coffee. Within 3 days, their supply was depleted. Talk about going into a gun fight with a knife!

3) The Diplomat (All Product & Promotion)

(Steve Jobs)

The Diplomat is the most successful of all three types of small business owners. The Diplomat does not necessarily have the tools to both successfully create an outstanding product, and propel its launch deep, deep into the public eye.

Most Diplomats are cognizant of their limitations as entrepreneurs, such as the fact that they are either Pirates (relentlessly promotional), or Philosophers (product obsessed); however, they always find a way to pull together the necessary people and/or tools to do both.

Steve jobs was the Duke of marketing, but without the brilliance of Steve Wozniak, Apple would not be what it is today. Wozniak is a philosopher, and without the assistance of Jobs, would probably never would have amassed the immense fortune he enjoys today.  Does that make Jobs a Pirate? No, and the reason is because he leveraged the proper people and resources to ensure his product had a Pirate and a Philosopher. The Diplomat doesn't wait around creating a new product or summoning the courage and ability to get it into the public eye. Instead, they do both as quickly as possible in the interest of spreading value, and turning a profit.

I hope you enjoyed this post about the three types of small business owners. Need a Pirate? Subscribe to our free marketing updates below.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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