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  • MMR Specialty Foods Team

Are you an innovator, disruptor or refiner?

3 reasons to define your founder persona & unlock your path to success


A large part of succeeding as an entrepreneur is knowing yourself. Another part is getting stuck. This is true no matter what industry you're in or what you offer.

When we work with entrepreneurs, one of the first things we like to do is identify if they are innovators, disruptors, or refiners. We call this your founder persona. It helps clarify those big questions and points you in the right direction so you can overcome roadblocks and hurdles.

Keep reading to see how knowing your founder persona unlocks success.


The difference between a disruptor, innovator, and refiner


An innovator creates new ideas or products. They are creative, imaginative risk-takers. Innovators think outside the box, approach problems with fresh perspectives, and are often comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.

A disruptor is someone who challenges the status quo. They are often seen as bold, assertive, and fearless as they are willing to challenge conventional norms to create something better. Disruptors are often driven by a desire to revolutionize an industry or solve a major problem.

A refiner takes existing ideas or products and improves them. They are often described as methodical, detail-oriented, and patient. Refiners are not as concerned with being the first to the market or creating something new. Instead, they have a deep understanding of their market and can identify areas for improvement and growth.

One persona is not better than another and you can be more than one.


Know thy founder persona: 3 reasons why


1. It helps you make an impact

Conceptualizing your persona helps you craft your story and connect to the right people. If you're starting a new business, you must understand why people would get on the train with you.


Often, people have ideas for something similar to an item already in the market. We saw this a lot with cannabis-infused gummies. The niche became so saturated that they were jumping onto the bandwagon unless a brand could define how they were disrupting or refining. That's not a compelling reason to get involved.


If you're a refiner, how do you explain how you bend the status quo? Communicating the value of your product or service tells everyone what's unique about you. It's the first step to getting funding and customers.


2. You'll know how you want to achieve your goals

Answering tough questions like 'what really matters' reveals your uniqueness. Try envisioning what you hope your life will look like once you're successful. There are plenty of questions you can ask yourself to get a clear picture.

  • How do you compare to competitors?

  • Where will your product retail?

  • What opportunities will you take a risk on, and which will you not?

  • What do you want your legacy to be?

  • How flexible are you?

  • How willing are you to evolve?

Everyone says they want to be wildly successful and have lots of money. Some people even say their only goal is to make big money, which is an entirely different endeavor. Would you rather be in every big box store in California, losing $100 per store a day, or would you rather be in two stores and have money to put in your pocket at the end of the year? Different people will choose different options.

3. It prepares you for challenges and opportunities

Understanding who you are as a founder and what type of business you're trying to build helps you respond to opportunities that come your way.


Say you meet an influencer who can give your product 5 million views. Are you ready for that much volume? Do you have a plan for what happens if and when you sell out? Thinking through how you will respond helps you determine if the risk is right for you, and be prepared to act confidently.

Sometimes it's best to pass on opportunities until your infrastructure is in place. Other times, it's best for you to jump in, and whatever happens, happens. You'll deal with it as you go through it.


Chart your path to success

Woman looking at a mmap while hiking
Photo by Nick Seagrave on Unsplash

Once you’ve determined your founder persona, there are some steps you can take to clarify your vision and chart a course for your business in the right direction.

Start by taking a deep dive into your business goals and values. Ask yourself what you wish to achieve, like securing funding or launching into a new market, and what values drive your decisions. As you reflect, pay close attention to what stands out. Notice when your core values become apparent, and use those insights to guide you.


Next, it’s important to verify the structural integrity of your business. To ensure that your operations are aligned with your sales process and vision, examine how you communicate expectations to your sales, production, and logistics teams. Make sure you’re giving your team the tools and support they need to be successful. Be open to feedback, and be willing to adjust your expectations as needed. Aligned teams make for strong businesses.


Get started today

Determining a path that aligns with your founder persona and goals can be challenging. That’s why we’re here to lend support.


At TraceTrust, we work with clients to help them find the best way to clearly articulate their story, prepare for situations that may arise, and understand how their decisions will impact their business. Most importantly, we show them how they can be resilient.

What differentiates us from other consultants is that we want the outcome you want. There are good results down every path. Some are riskier than others, but in the end, it’s your decision we will support.

We achieve this through a Project Roadmap designed to give you the clarity, confidence, and independence to set your plan in motion. Check out our website to learn more.

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