The ability to delegate, strong verbal communication skills, a grasp of the big picture, persistence, and openness to being mentored are some of the traits characterizing successful dyslexic entrepreneurs.

According to Dr. Sally Shaywitz of Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, dyslexia can be as much an asset as it is a challenge.   Many successful dyslexic entrepreneurs employ creative strategies in their business dealings that they learned in childhood to compensate for difficulties with written communication and organization. These strategies may even give them an edge over competitors.

Julie Logan, professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass School of Business in London, published a 2007 study in which she found that over a third of US entrepreneurs surveyed self reported as dyslexic.  That’s an interesting statistic that may suggest being dyslexic is an asset in the world of start up companies. Some examples of high profile business successes with dyslexia come to mind, like brokerage innovator Charles Schwab and Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways.

What follows are 5 strategies used by successful dyslexic entrepreneurs:

1. Delegating

The ability to delegate helps successful dyslexics compensate for their deficits. Dyslexic entrepreneurs also hire more staff than non-dyslexics. These strategies translate an edge in business, because delegating to a larger staff leads to quicker growth and the ability to own several companies at once.


2. Verbal Communication Skills

Being able to network, express a vision and motivate others is essential to a business’s success. Dyslexics in Logan’s study perceived themselves as better oral communicators than non-dyslexics. Many learned early on to compensate for their lack of writing ability with heightened verbal communication skills.


3. Grasp of the Big Picture

Some dyslexic entrepreneurs, like Paul Orfalea, founder of Kinkos, and John Chambers of Cisco Systems, claim they have the ability to quickly grasp the big picture, rather than getting bogged down in details. This enables them to build companies with a broad perspective in mind.


4. Persistence

Successful dyslexics have learned to be persistent and to solve problems in new ways, even when things don’t come easily. This quality can spell success for an entrepreneur.


5. Link to a Mentor

The impact of a mentor is often key to influencing a dyslexic individual to become an entrepreneur. The mentor may be anyone who takes a genuine interest and refuses to give up, including parents (particularly fathers), tutors, coaches and other business people.  




Lainie DonnellComment