How to Survive as a Behavior Analytic Entrepreneur

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
bSci21Media, LLC

Brett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA
Brett DiNovi & Associates

As behavior analysts look to start their own businesses many initially struggle. Entrepreneurship has been referred to as a roller coaster ride, and for good reason – sometimes things are going great and you feel like you are on top of the world, while other times leave you feeling as if your world is crashing down around you.

In a recent video by Brett DiNovi & Associates, Brett discusses his own experiences as a business owner and likens the effect to a pendulum swinging back and forth between two extremes. These swings in the pendulum can be difficult to manage, even as an experienced business owner, and sometimes the swings come with severe outcomes, like bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, most training programs in behavior analysis do not provide coursework in business or entrepreneurship – neither are part of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) course requirements, or part of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) accreditation standards. While you might be able to make the case that Organizational Behavior Management is similar to business, the latter encapsulates many diverse skillsets that go well beyond performance management. Such skills include, but aren’t limited to, accounting, legal work, marketing, human resources, and many others.

For behavior analysts wishing to expand their repertoire into business, many seek out separate degrees in schools of business and the like. But even in these cases, Brett cautioned that some such training programs would do well to ensure their instruction is informed by best practices in the hyper connected business environment of 2018. The simple reality is that living every day as a business owner is a complex experience that isn’t easily encapsulated in course work.

In the course of that daily grind, Brett has a few techniques that have helped him push the pendulum back in a positive direction: goal setting, self-monitoring, feedback, and pay-for-performance. To find success as an entrepreneur one must engage in constant goal setting and monitoring of how what you are doing connects to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in your business. Moreover, you need to make sure that the goals you are tracking are the right goals for your business needs. Once you bring on other employees, setting up 360 degree feedback systems linked to pay can help facilitate communication and adjust contingencies in an agile way as your business grows.

To hear more, be sure to check out the full video, and to subscribe to Brett DiNovi’s YouTube channel and let him know what you would like to see in future videos. Also be sure to subscribe to bSci21 via email to receive the latest articles directly to your inbox!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world,  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at

Brett DinoviBrett DiNovi, M.A., BCBA has the unique and distinguished experience of studying the principles of applied behavior analysis under the rigorous scrutiny of both Dr. Julie S. Vargas (formerly Skinner) and Dr. E.A. Vargas at West Virginia University’s internationally recognized program. For the past 26 years, Brett has used behavior analytic principles to create large scale change across school districts, Fortune 500 companies using principles of Organizational Behavior Management (OBM), and across individual learners. Brett has been a OBM consultant in Morgantown WV, an instructor at West Virginia University, a guest lecturer at numerous universities, a speaker on multiple Comcast Newsmakers TV programs, an expert witness in due process hearings, has publications in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and has been in in executive leadership positions across schools and residential programs nationwide. In addition to an award from South Jersey Biz Magazine for “Best Places to Work,” an award for “Best of Families” in Suburban Magazine, and the distinguished “Top Ranked U.S. Executives” award, Brett’s proudest accomplishment is being a role model and father for his daughter and two stepchildren (one of which has autism). Brett can be reached at


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