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Entrepreneurial Dilemma

by Rick Baker
On Aug 16, 2012

The Entrepreneurial Dilemma: how to delegate [or institutionalize] the entrepreneur's deal-doing insight.

True entrepreneurs have deal-doing insight. They possess the natural strength of insight: a combination of wisdom, curiosity, and imagination that, without effort, identifies problems and their solutions. Deal-doing insight can be converted into fortunes. It can also be the cause of entrepreneurial 'aloneness'...a gap between the entrepreneur and all the other people in the organization.

Put another way, true entrepreneurs are a different breed of cat. They are driven to create, innovate, and deliver new things of value. They are inventors. Also, true entrepreneurs know how to sell the things they create. Otherwise, if they could not sell the things they create, they would be inventors not entrepreneurs.

So, true entrepreneurs - the best of the entrepreneurs:

  1. know how to create things of value and 
  2. know how to sell what they create.

Philip Delves Broughton1 presented an excellent example of this when he described Ron Popeil, the inventor [for example, Popiel Pocket Fisherman], infomercial personality, and master salesman:

"Popeil grew up selling at state and county fairs before making his fortune in infomercials. He wrote about selling not as a stand-alone business activity but as one piece of a process that begins with great ideas, includes patents, design, packaging, pricing, manufacturing, advertising, and publicity. The greatest salesman, by Popeil's definition, understands how all these steps are integrated because he is the inventor, manager, and seller. The moment selling becomes a separate business function you're sunk."

That last line describes a thought-key to sustained entrepreneurial-business success:The moment selling becomes a separate business function you're sunk.

Selling cannot become a stand-alone business function. To sustain business success, the true entrepreneur must be able to transfer deal-doing insight. That means the entrepreneur must be able to teach it or transfer it to someone who has the natural strength of deal-doing insight.

That raises [more than] 4 important questions:

  1. Can true entrepreneurs teach others how to possess deal-doing insight?
  2. If so, who can be taught? 
  3. How would one go about doing the teaching?
  4. How would one identify, attract, and hire a person who possesses deal-doing insight?
The quick answers are:
  1. Yes...but it requires time, focus, and complete dedication [and often true entrepreneurs are inclined to do what it takes]
  2. A rare few...people who are 'driven'
  3. One-on-one training, mentoring, and coaching.
  4. There are several essential steps:
  • First, deal-doing insight must be an ongoing priority at the organization [part of its fabric]. 
  • Second, a process must be designed and proven before people can be recruited. 
  • Third, a customized sales training program must be designed and proven [as alluded to in #3 above]. 
  • Fourth, a multi-prong recruiting program must be designed to fit the specific needs of the organization [again, part of its fabric].


  1. The quote was transcribed from the audio book 'The Art of The Sale', by Philip Delves Broughton (2012)
  2. True entrepreneurs can invent and sell things of value. The dilemma:  most true entrepreneurs are not able to transfer that combination of strength to other people. So, sooner or later, invention and selling become two separate functions...and, sooner or later, the business fails.

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Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.