Book Asks if You Are Born to Build?


Building a business is not just about opening your doors. It's about building a great team, bringing in more customers and creating the life of your dreams. This book looks at how you do all this.

Are You Born to Build?

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Gathering resources for your business is never easy. It takes savvy, insight, and timing to make those resources work in your favor.  It also requires you know how to build alliances and gather resources well.

One book aspiring to look at this process more closely is Born to Build: How to Build a Thriving Startup, a Winning Team, New Customers, and Your Best Life Imaginable. The book’s authors are Jim Clifton, chairman of Gallop, and Sangeeta Badal, Ph.D., principal scientist for the Gallup Builder Initiative.

Clifton and Badal have written a useful guide for entrepreneurs seeking a balanced approach to building their business in the face of fierce competition.

What Is Born to Build About?

Born to Build addresses the mindset entrepreneurs typically bring to their strategic choices. The authors believe most people overlook the builder aspect of creating a business, and as a result overlook vital concepts for better managing their opportunities and resources.

This book is about marshaling those resources and teaching entrepreneurs how to better assess themselves.  To accomplish this objective, Clifton and Badal outline what’s necessary to put the pieces into place. The authors open the book with a basic question: what are you building? They then extend the builder metaphor in part two of the book by introducing the Four Keys to Building:

  • Being self-aware
  • Recognizing opportunities
  • Activating on ideas
  • Building a team

The authors follow up in part three of the book by detailing 10 talents of successful builders, so readers wishing to build a business understand what talents are needed and where to apply them.

The book also contains Gallup Builder Profile 10, a process for assessing entrepreneurial capabilities.

Readers can take an online assessment based on this profile.  The assessment vets readers’ innate talents,  allowing them to do a “SWOT” analysis to determine their ability to build the businesses they desire.  The last section of the book explains the research used to develop the assessment.

What I Liked about Born To Build

Clifton and Badal translate experiences from larger industries to speak to the anxieties and concerns of entrepreneurs with small scale businesses.  They show how those experiences transcend professions. For example, the authors show how lessons learned from the successes of actor John Leguizamo and financial brokerage firm Charles Schwab can both be used by builders seeking to create a profitable business.

“There are many stories of highly successful builders who not only were the first to recognize opportunities in their environment, but in many cases, they outright created new opportunities for themselves….You are not alone if you’re asking yourself – Do I have what it takes to build? What should I build? Where do I begin? Whom do I ask for help?” the authors write.

It’s a wonderful perspective because it helps small business owners who aspire to scale but feel excluded from many discussions on aggressive growth because they are not the next Uber.  At the same time Clifton and Badal speak to those whose ambitions are to be the next Uber too.

Part three of the book offers the reader the ability to evaluate the professional talents of a builder, whether they are a “delegator” a “disruptor” or possess a different set of talents. Foe example, here’s how the author’s describe the disruptor talent:

“Highly successful builders can creatively look beyond the present and imagine possible features for their organization. If you are a disruptor, you are driven to steer your organization in new directions.”

There’s also a section of the book on risk and how entrepreneurs can use a process called hyper-core self evaluation to avoid taking on too much.

“If you are a hyper confidence-builder you’re certain that you can do no wrong and that you can resolve all problems if a decision turns bad. You are likely to engage in impulsive or uninformed risk-taking, are less accurate in your forecast of success, and are more likely to persist in persuading strategies even when they are not delivering the results you have hoped for … Make sure to evaluate an opportunity rationally and thoroughly before taking action. Get feedback from people in your circle of trust. Take your time deciding which projects build on your core business or your organization’s mission and purpose …”

Why Born To Build

Venture capitalists examine entrepreneur motives to see if they are truly building more than just a product to sell.  Reading Born to Build will show you the right mindset for dealing with investors and, more importantly, offers ways to examine your competitive readiness in building your business.

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Image: Amazon

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Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.

One Reaction
  1. I think that people have this innate need to create. We must look for something that we can contribute to this world.