Entrepreneurs have needs, too.
If you’re familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you know that the whole thing is graphically represented as a pyramid, with basic needs at the bottom and more sophisticated needs higher up.
Maslow’s Hierarchy looks like this:
Note that basic needs like breathing, sleeping, and safety progressively give way to the more sophisticated needs, like friendship, confidence, and creativity. The general idea is that you must fulfill the most basic needs in order to move on to more sophisticated needs. You can’t worry about friendship and intimacy when you’re struggling with your immediate safety or having trouble finding resources. Only once those struggles have culminated will you advance to other needs.
Bringing this back to entrepreneurs, we notice that the pyramid leaves out some very important processes and needs that entrepreneurs deal with. That’s why UpStart created the Entrepreneurs Hierarchy of Needs, which is based on Maslow’s pyramid but with entrepreneur-specific needs instead of the general populations’.
Take a look at the Entrepreneurs’ Hierarchy of Needs to see the changes made to accommodate this group with unique needs.
At the base of the pyramid we find physiological (body-based) needs. For entrepreneurs, this pyramid is more focused on needed concepts and understanding rather than bodily needs.
Maslow: Breathing, water, food, sleep, sex, excretion, homeostasis
Entrepreneurs: An employee (yourself), an idea, sleep, work-free relaxation, flexibility with ideas and plans
Next are needs for immediate safety and protection, which are only pursued once physiological needs have been fulfilled.
Maslow: Security of the body, employment, resources, morality, family members, health, property
Entrepreneurs: Protection of employees, customers, company resources, product demand, equipment
Love and belonging needs
We are beginning to get more sophisticated now on the entrepreneurs hierarchy – love and belonging are not necessary for survival or safety, but they undeniably “feel good” to us and make our lives feel more complete.
Maslow: Friendships, family relationships, sexual intimacy
Entrepreneurs: Business partnerships, retaining original supporters, sexual intimacy at home, finding mentors
The esteem needs are, again, not necessary, but ones that we are intrinsically motivated to pursue. We don’t worry about how confident we are or how much respect we get from customers and stakeholders until we’ve satisfied our love and belonging needs.
Maslow: Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect from others
Entrepreneurs: Confidence, sense of worth, meeting goals and milestones, respect to and from customers and stakeholders
Finally, self-actualization needs are at the top of the entrepreneurs’ hierarchy pyramid. Most entrepreneurs don’t reach this point. One might consider this group of needs as “wisdom.” Gaining wisdom isn’t pursued until all other needs are taken care of.
Maslow: Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, adaptability
Entrepreneurs: Imagination, spontaneity, innovation, disruption, clear judgement, successful products that meet demand, not attempting to create demand, philanthropy and charity work
What level of needs are you currently pursuing? Which have you fulfilled? Do you think the entrepreneurs’ hierarchy is accurate? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Reach out to us on Twitter with your comments: @conrecept.