Emotions faces characters

Sponsored by MetLife

By Rieva Lesonsky

How does your personality affect the way you run your business? It’s Personal, a paper by MetLife, examines four different personality types and how they shape a small business owner’s approach to entrepreneurship. Here’s a closer look at the different personality types and how they influence everything from the kind of business you start to the benefits program you choose for your employees.

1. The Visionary

Visionaries launch their companies with a strong mission that goes beyond profit and loss, operational efficiency or even customer needs. Their goal is to make a difference not only for their customers, but also for the world as a whole. Self-confident and open to new experiences, they let their sense of purpose guide their actions and decision-making.

How does a Visionary approach employee benefits?

Visionaries are likely to choose benefits packages that reflect their company’s mission and overall values. For example, a company that defines itself by its commitment to social responsibility may choose a 401(k) plan that includes the option to invest only in socially responsible companies.

2. The Problem-Solver

These business owners see problems as opportunities, and love coming up with solutions to challenges. No wonder their businesses are often inspired by a problem the business owner has or an unmet need in the market. Curious, inventive and collaborative, Problem-Solver business owners love getting ideas and input from others to help them develop innovative solutions to problems.

How does a Problem Solver approach employee benefits?

True to their name, these entrepreneurs see benefits as a way to solve a problem that most small business owners face: how to attract qualified employees despite competition from bigger businesses with deeper pockets. Offering a competitive benefits package that’s tailored to your staff’s needs is an effective employee attraction and retention tool.

3. The Director

Directors tend to own businesses based on highly specialized expertise, such as financial services companies, healthcare businesses or high tech ventures. As a result, their businesses generally need employees with specialized skills, and also have to comply with lots of regulation. Directors are practical and always looking for ways to maximize their resources. As a result, they are comfortable delegating and empowering their employees to make the day-to-day decisions about their work, while they focus on the big picture.

How do Directors approach employee benefits?

Because these entrepreneurs often need highly specialized employees, they rely on strong benefits packages in order to compete with bigger businesses for these scarce resources. They also prefer benefits providers that can handle all the details of the programs, letting the Director focus on running the businesses.

4. The Hands-Free Owner

Hands-free business owners let their employees take the lead in their work. Instead of micro-managing operations, these entrepreneurs create high-level goals and priorities for the business, and then hire strong managers who can develop and execute the strategies to reach those goals. Optimistic and forward-thinking, they like to control the high-level aspects of their business, but don’t feel the need to be involved in all the day-to-day details.

How do Hands-Free Owners approach employee benefits?

Because they believe in letting employees make their own decisions, these business owners typically look for benefits providers that offer a wide range of choices and flexible options. For example, they may seek out healthcare plans with a large network of providers or the option to select an HMO or a PPO.

5. What’s Your Personality?

Of course, most of us don’t fall into just one of these personality types, but I can definitely identify my predominant types, as well as that of most other entrepreneurs I know. I’m a combination of a visionary and a director. I believe in putting my money where my heart is. It’s important to me that my business practices reflect my values. But I also believe business owners need to show their employees they trust them to make the right decisions.  Empowered people will power your business.

I love that there are so many different ways to run a business—and that all of them can be equally successful. After all, when the way you operate is in tune with your personality, you’ll enjoy running your business more, and your employees will enjoy working for you more. (A great benefits plan doesn’t hurt, either.)

How does your personality affect how you run your business? I’d love to hear from you. To find out more about your personality type, read the paper here.