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Are you an ID, EGO, or SUPER-EGO Entrepreneur?  This Small Business Made Simple Short introduces the Small Business Made Simple series and focuses on four crucial aspects of small business management: starting a small business, growing a small business, handling small business challenges, and exiting a small business. Each Small Business Made Simple series Short is written by authors who know what they’re talking about because they’ve lived the success and pain of running a small business. You’ll get practical, straightforward advice that has been time-tested by those who’ve been through it.

In 1923 Sigmund Freud authored a paper called The Ego and the Id, which is an analytical study of the human psyche. Called the Structural Theory, this theory categorizes psychological conditions into three divisions:  the Id, the Super-Ego, and the Ego.  The Id is best thought of as a newborn child driven by instinctive drives and impulses and seeks instant gratification.  The Super-Ego is the multiplicative inverse of the Id, representing a “father figure” and a moral compass.  The Ego serves as the mediator between the Id and the Super-Ego and takes into account external factors to derive a clear view of reality.The theory has spurred much discussion in the scientific community, but the concept is firmly seated in college psychology classes as a higher-education staple.

Whether or not Freud nailed it with the Structural Theory is open to some debate (one which I’ll let bigger brains than mine ponder!) but virtually all of us can relate to these three personas and know someone who fits each of these profiles.  The Id-like person throws caution to the wind, takes risks without thinking through implications, and allows the dreamer in him to lead his actions.   The Super-Ego-like person is highly risk-averse, needs to have near-perfect information before making a decision, and never, ever, swims until at least 30 minutes after eating.   The Ego-like person has drive and is willing to take risks, but seeks to understand situations enough to take calculated risks as opposed to foolish risks.

While reading this, you may have thought of a friend or family member who fits into each of the above categories.  You may have also slotted yourself as being predominantly Id, Super-Ego, or Ego-like.  It also may be situational to where you are more Id-like in certain situations while you are more Super-Ego-like in others.  As this specifically applies to starting and running your own small business, it is vitally important that you identify whether you are more Id, Super-Ego, or Ego-like and that you balance who you are with others who fit into the other categories; thus the following maxim:

Small businesses need a blend of Id, Ego, and Super-Ego personas to be successful.

So as it relates to you, are you more of an Id that throws caution to the wind without thinking about implications?  Or are you more like the risk-averse Super-Ego who needs perfect information to make a decision?  Or are you more of a middle-of-the-road Ego who is willing to take calculated risks and knows how to balance risk and reward?  Then again, maybe you’re not sure.

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