Have you ever felt that you aren’t smart enough to be an entrepreneur, yet there seems to be no compelling evidence that a high IQ is a prerequisite for this lifestyle? It’s no secret that we know of successful businesses started by first-time entrepreneurs who dropped out of school, and according to many sources, “book smarts” (intelligence) tends to be trumped by “street smarts” (experience) every single time.
There are in fact multiple types of intelligence, and along all these scales we all have strengths and weaknesses. The most successful entrepreneurs are those with the broadest range of interest, skills and experiences (street smarts), while a maximum depth in any given discipline is not so important.
Here, we highlight eight common types of recognised intelligence that is prioritized in terms of its applicability to the entrepreneurial role as well as those which cover the potential of most humans.
Self-smarts (intra-personal intelligence)
Intra-personal intelligence is the capacity to understand your own strengths, weaknesses and motivations, and to capitalize on these insights in planning and strategy. Good entrepreneurs must be able to surround themselves with advisors and partners who complement their skills to find satisfaction and happiness.
Word-smarts (linguistic intelligence)
People with high linguistic intelligence display a high aptitude for word usage and languages. They are typically good at communicating ideas, reading, writing and telling stories. Good entrepreneurs need these skills to lead a team, sell ideas to customers and investors as well as write business plans.
People-smarts (interpersonal intelligence)
These attributes are the embodiment of social skills. Entrepreneurs with high social skills interact more effectively with all their constituents. They are able to sense the feelings, motivations and temperaments of others, to enlist their support and negotiate effectively. They love working with people.
Number-smarts (logical-reasoning intelligence)
Logical-mathematical intelligence is the ability to calculate, quantify and think logically. Entrepreneurs use strengths in this area to balance their passion for a specific solution and to develop the specific steps and financial resources required for building, rolling out and scaling the business to success.
Nature-smarts (naturalist intelligence)
This sort of environmental and cultural insight is deeply rooted in a sensitive, ethical and holistic understanding of the world and its complexities. It is believed that good entrepreneurs use this to see new markets first, predict world trends and devise effective marketing campaigns and demographics for focus.
Picture-smarts (spatial intelligence)
Spatial intelligence is the ability to think in three dimensions and the ability to visualise with the mind. Core capacities include mental imagery, spatial reasoning and an active imagination. It’s easy to see how this is important for entrepreneurs in marketing, solution design and product branding.
Music-smarts (musical intelligence)
Musical intelligence is the capacity to discern pitch, rhythm, timbre and tone. In addition to being key to any business directly or indirectly related to music, this skill helps entrepreneurs to be better listeners, orchestrate events and develop marketing programs. Music-smart people also tend to be logical.
Body-smarts (kinaesthetic intelligence)
This intelligence involves a sense of timing and the perfection of skills through mind-body coordination. Business entrepreneurs who are also good at invention and building innovative new products are especially strong in this area. Strengths here also lead to leadership presence and public-speaking prowess. In addition to intelligence, every aspiring entrepreneur needs to focus on shaping the right mindset. The mindset that works best is one that sees challenges as exciting rather than threatening, setbacks as learning opportunities and a conviction that effort and perseverance will overcome any obstacle.
If you have the right mindset coupled with even a few strengths among the multiple types of intelligence described above, then being an entrepreneur could just be the right career for you.(Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise!)