Jan Halfpenny, a dyslexia and business specialist, shares her thoughts on the value of taking dyslexic differences in entrepreneurs into account.
Cass Business School found that one in every five entrepreneurs in the UK is dyslexic and as many as one in every three in the US may have this different way of thinking. These rates for dyslexia are double those found in the general population for both countries. The figures mean that service providers across many sectors spend at least one day a week working with dyslexic entrepreneurs, or working to win their business. With such a high commitment to them it pays for service providers to know the significant patterns in the business behaviour of this group.
The same research identified some of these patterns. Dyslexic entrepreneurs tend to:
- employ more people;
- be team builders;
- delegate more frequently;
- build their organisations more rapidly;
- be serial entrepreneurs.
Their behaviour takes on an extra significance for service industries in times of economic stagnation. In such times entrepreneurs are called upon to stimulate and lead growth through job creation, and because dyslexic entrepreneurs tend to be less self-sufficient than their non-dyslexic counterparts they become valuable clients for business support companies and networks.
Innovative companies who take dyslexic differences into account and get business interactions right for this group can earn considerable benefits. For service providers to fully and effectively interact with this group requires them to understand the complete pattern of dyslexic processing needs and how to fulfil them. This is vital because when information is delivered in a manner that presents a processing issue for a dyslexic entrepreneur, they are likely to rapidly disengage and move on to something else.
As dyslexia is labelled a disability on both sides of the Atlantic a legal framework guides actions towards equal access to service provision (US) (UK). However when the economy requires entrepreneurs to be firing on all cylinders we also have compelling practical and commercial benefits to gain from attracting and keeping more dyslexic business clients. So get to know the needs of dyslexic entrepreneurs and the one day a week you spend on servicing them may become more profitable.
Jan Halfpenny is a dyslexia and business specialist and MD of Halfpenny Development. She writes on inclusivity, conducts research and creates online dyslexia training and consultation for businesses and organisations.
Recent research on dyslexic entrepreneurs: In Their Element: The Case for Investing in Dyslexic Entrepreneurs.
Logan, J., 2009, Dyslexic Entrepreneurs: The Incidence; Their Coping Strategies and Their Business Skills, Cass Business School & John Wiley & Sons