While there's definitely an art to being a successful entrepreneur, the business world focuses more heavily on scientific factors -- primarily cold, hard numbers gathered by tried-and-true methods.
Then why I am (jokingly) thinking about adding "marriage counseling services" to both my resume and the list of services offered by my company? Maybe I could be the next Dr. Phil or John Gray, author of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.
It's because there's more (often a lot more) to a business finding its way than just a great idea for a product or service and a strong business plan.
On a regular basis I see businesses thwarted -- and even ruined -- by non-compatible partners.
Sometimes it's because one partner has stellar credit, while the other has a credit score below 600. Or maybe it's because one partner believes it's feasible to grow the company 20 percent per year, while the other thinks 5 percent is more realistic and safer. And it could be something like one partner wanting to hire a bunch of relatives that the other partner can't stand and/or thinks is incompetent.
Sometimes the friction is obvious and manifests itself quickly. Other times, problems take a while to emerge, just like in a regular marriage.
The number of potential flashpoints is essentially limitless, which is why it's so important for entrepreneurs that plan to enter into a partnership to make sure they're with the right person.
While there's some dispute over marriage and divorce statistics, it's believed that about 40 percent of all marriages will end in divorce. And while there are no statistic on entrepreneur "divorces," it's reasonable to assume the rate is fairly high, too.
But what if those entrepreneur divorces could be sharply curtailed, increasing the likelihood of business success?
That's why I'm focusing these days on the psychological elements of business; relatively speaking, matching entrepreneurs with the best financing options is easy. Taking things to the next level, however, isn't.
In my last post, I mentioned research I've begun into developing a business-oriented version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire, which categorizes people into 16 different personality types. Myers-Briggs reveals the psychological preferences that go into decision making, as well as how participants view the surrounding world; mine will do the same by questioning participants on growth goals, risk tolerance, investment tendencies and the company's growth stage.
The results have been promising thus far. Small-scale data suggests that the 16 business personality types being developed roughly match the Myers-Briggs types in terms of frequency throughout the population.
To help with the research, I'll be launching a website later this month designed to help gather data. I'm certainly interested in hearing from as many of you as possible and will keep you apprised of the information collected.
Of course, for any research to be considered valid, it'll take time to collect the data needed for an appropriate sampling size, but given the important and exciting implications, it seems likely to be worthwhile. Stay tuned.