Intuitive versus Professional. What?

Read time: 1 ½ minutes Executive Briefing #9 by Jeffrey Cullen

If you’re familiar with our BaseCamp4 program, you know that we work with owners and managers of businesses with sales between $5 million and $50 million. You may also have heard us mention the “intuitive” versus the “professional” entrepreneur. A prospective client recently asked, “What the h$%@ does that mean?”

First of all, we define intuitive as someone with natural talents combined with lots of experience and hard work. Let me give you a personal example. As a self-taught drummer for more than 30 years, I consider myself to be a pretty good intuitive drummer. I worked hard and gained my experience by playing in bands when I was in my teens and twenties.

About 18 months ago (whether it was in response to a mid-life crisis or simply because it’s a lot of fun) I started formal lessons and joined a new band that includes two professional musicians. But here is the thing; I’m struggling to keep up. Why?

Because, while being intuitive is a great foundation, there are lots of fundamentals I don’t know (ghost notes, paradiddles??) That limits me and I seem to fake it a lot. Because I want to play with the pros, the practicing and the lessons go on.

The intuitive entrepreneurs we have the privilege of working with are in a similar situation. Their natural talents and hard work have brought them a long way, but they lack the business knowledge and fundamentals that professional entrepreneurs need to operate successfully in bigger arenas. As they play with (and compete against) those “professionals”, intuitive entrepreneurs bump up against limits in their knowledge and skill sets. Those roadblocks force them to work even harder to lead their organizations.

Of course the stakes are a lot higher than mine (music is a hobby for me). Entrepreneurs have their livelihood and the well-being of their staff in the balance. They have the same choices: keep struggling to keep up, exit the business through choice or circumstance (I heard the band were talking to a new girl who can do a mean paradiddle!) or get better and become a professional entrepreneur.

If you’re an intuitive who needs to become a professional, why not download a free copy of the BaseCampp4 booklet ComEx© The Management Tool for owners of small businesses that are no longer small.

Just visit the contact page at

You can also talk to me directly at or call (780) 469-3535.

Download a printable PDF of this executive summary here.

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