Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

[Review] Entrepreneurial DNA

Despite its title, the book “Entrepreneurial DNA: The Breakthrough Discovery that Aligns Your Business to Your Unique Strengths” by serial entrepreneur and author Joe Abraham thankfully isn’t about the perennial debate of whether entrepreneurs are born or made. It is, however, an interesting blueprint of how to identify what kind of entrepreneur you are so that you can optimize and leverage your business approach, processes and relationships for maximum success.

Entrepreneurial DNA” seeks to dispel the notion that all entrepreneurs are the same. “For centuries, entrepreneurs have been put in one small box. We’ve been expected to run our companies, lead our teams and build relationships with other entrepreneurs as though we are clones of each other. The fact is, we are not the same. Entrepreneurial DNA proves that once and for all,” says Joe Abraham. While we may know that, the question is then how do we know what entrepreneurial profile we fall into.

To this effect, Abraham proposes the BOSI (Builder, Opportunist, Specialist and Innovator) quadrant – it’s quite similar to the DISC or Myers-Briggs quadrant behavioral approach to psychology, but adapted to entrepreneurs. Abraham acknowledges that every individual has strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that give you a distinctive modus operandi, and so proposes four different entrepreneurial profiles. Paraphrasing Abraham:

The Builder

Driven, cold, ruthless and calculating, the Builder is the ultimate chess player in the game of business, always looking to be two or three moves ahead of the competition. Loves building a business from the ground up.

The Opportunist

The speculative part of the entrepreneur, it’s the part that wants to be at the right place at the right time, leveraging timing to make as much money as fast as possible. Think quick money-making deal, a real estate quick-flip, or an IPO.

The Specialist

An entrepreneur who enters an industry and sticks with it for 15 to 30 years. The Specialist build strong expertise, but can struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors.

The Innovator

Entrepreneurs who have accidentally stumbled across a breakthrough invention, recipe, concept, system, or product that can be built into a business. Think a scientist, inventor or a thought leader.


Once you’ve learned to identify your own unique entrepreneurial profile (note: you may fall into more than one of those profiles), Abraham recommends best practices and suggestions how you can approach your business. You’ll learn to build and optimize your business plan, business processes and operations, talent management strategies and even your personal life as adapted for your entrepreneurial profile. You’ll even learn why what works for some other company may not work for yours.

The book is recommended as a self-reflection exercise for entrepreneurs and business owners who find friction between their personal and business lives. It is also applicable for aspiring entrepreneurs to understand themselves and what kinds of enterprise they will likely thrive in.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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