Characteristics of Entrepreneurs: 15 key Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs


Characteristics of Entrepreneurs: 15 key Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Numerous factors go into starting a successful business, including a strong concept and initial funding. But, perhaps the most important ingredient is the entrepreneur.

These are individuals who must transform their ideas into a fully operational business. If you’re thinking about launching your own venture, you might be wondering if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

But first, what is an entrepreneur, and what do they do?

It all starts with an idea. You’ve been working the nine to five for years, but you feel like you’ve stopped growing. You’re grateful for the people who helped you grow, but you want to use your skills in your own business venture.

You know you have entrepreneur characteristics, but you might not know where to start. Starting a company can be intimidating. You may need to take out a loan, lease a commercial property, or hire staff. 

The details can feel overwhelming. That said, the right person will thrive in this environment. They have the entrepreneurial spirit necessary to make it happen. They’ll feel more at peace running their own company than they ever would in an office job.


What is Entrepreneurship?

While entrepreneurship is commonly thought of as the process of starting a business, there are several nuances to consider.

Entrepreneurship Essentials, entrepreneurship is defined as “the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled.” 

An opportunity can be a myriad of things, but the course goes on to describe it as "a proposed venture to sell a product or service for which customers are willing to pay more than the required investments and operating costs.”

By that definition, entrepreneurs—either as individuals or in teams—discover opportunities throughout their personal and professional lives. They form hypotheses on ways to deliver value to customers and perform structured tests to validate their ideas. This often involves recruiting teammates through networking and investing funds to determine how they’ll deliver a product or service at an acceptable cost. Great entrepreneurs come from all walks of life.

In Entrepreneurship Essentials, it’s noted that “there’s no single personality profile, and it’s important to pay attention to the entrepreneurial team, rather than focus on the individual.” And while that's true, there are entrepreneurial team, rather than focus on the individual.” And while that's true, there are certain characteristics and skills that are particularly important for entrepreneurs to have when starting and leading a venture.


What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone passionate and innovative who creates a new business. Their business doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel — your favorite neighborhood cafĂ© is a business, too — but it takes an entrepreneurial mindset to bring their ideas to life.

Entrepreneurship is all about pursuing opportunities. It’s about looking for areas to provide a service or a new product the public might need. It’s also about taking the initiative to bring your ideas to life.

At their core, entrepreneurs are individuals who start a business. On a deeper level, however, they are also people who innovate. They see challenges and think of creative ways to overcome them. They have a desire to go off the beaten path. Entrepreneurs fill society with new ideas and keep refreshing and revitalizing the old ones.


15 key Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Characteristics of Entrepreneurs: 15 key Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Starting a new business comes with an inherent amount of risk. You can do everything right, but external events could lead to a negative outcome. While there’s no formula for entrepreneurship, there are good or bad entrepreneur characteristics. For example, failing to own up to your mistake is a bad one. Staying disciplined is a good one.

Here are 15 key characteristics shared by successful entrepreneurs:

1. Curiosity

Successful entrepreneurs have a distinct personality trait that sets them apart from other organizational leaders: a sense of curiosity. An entrepreneur's ability to remain curious allows them to continuously seek new opportunities. Rather than settling for what they think they know, entrepreneurs ask challenging questions and explore different avenues.

This is validated in the online course Entrepreneurship Essentials, where entrepreneurship is described as a “process of discovery." Without curiosity, entrepreneurs can’t achieve their main objective: discovering new opportunities. The drive they have to continuously ask questions and challenge the status quo can lead them to valuable discoveries easily overlooked by other business professionals.

2. Originality

This is the spark that drives many successful startups. Originality isn't just for creative; it's a skill that everyone can cultivate. Entrepreneurs always look for creative ways to solve problems or deliver a service, often with limited resources. They look in many different places for inspiration. Find what gives your ideas and use it as your fuel. To cultivate this skill, lean on habits that support creativity. It could be music, meditation, or meeting new people.

3. Structured Experimentation

Along with curiosity, entrepreneurs require an understanding of structured experimentation. With each new opportunity, an entrepreneur must run tests to determine if it’s worthwhile to pursue.

For example, if you have an idea for a new product or service that fulfills an underserved demand, you’ll have to ensure customers are willing to pay for it. To do so, you’ll need to conduct thorough market research and run meaningful tests to validate your idea and determine its potential.

4. Adaptability

The nature of business is ever-changing. Entrepreneurship is an iterative process, and new challenges and opportunities present themselves at every turn. It’s nearly impossible to be prepared for every scenario, but successful business leaders must be adaptable. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who need to evaluate situations and remain flexible to ensure their business keeps moving forward, no matter what unexpected changes occur.

5. Decisiveness

To be successful, an entrepreneur has to make difficult decisions and stand by them. As a leader, they’re responsible for guiding the trajectory of their business, including every aspect from funding and strategy to resource allocation. Being decisive doesn’t always mean being correct. 

If you want to be an entrepreneur, it means having the confidence to make challenging decisions and see them through to the end. If the outcome turns out to be less than favorable, the decision to take corrective action is just as important.

6. Willingness to try things

Experimentation and risk-taking are crucial to the entrepreneurial mindset. Be ready to try new things, and be ready to watch them fail. Every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve on your ideas. However, plan your experiments carefully so that you can get useful learning fast. 

Try showing your product to a trusted group of friends, read market research to see if there’s adequate demand, and stay up-to-date on the latest news in your industry. These strategies will help you take calculated risks as you try new things.

7. Team Building

A great entrepreneur is aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Rather than letting shortcomings hold them back, they build well-rounded teams that complement their abilities.

In many cases, it’s the entrepreneurial team, rather than an individual, that drives a venture toward success. When starting your own business, it’s critical to surround yourself with teammates who have complementary talents and contribute to a common goal.

8. Uprightness

In the business world, you’re only as good as your word. Honesty and integrity are important characteristics for any leader. These personality traits will reap several benefits: You will develop a reputation as a strong and honest communicator. Your employees will value your leadership. Clients will know you can deliver on your promises. People will be more willing to lend you money for your next idea. Your community will support you during the tough times.

9. Risk Tolerance

Entrepreneurship is often associated with risk. While it’s true that launching a venture requires an entrepreneur to take risks, they also need to take steps to minimize it. While many things can go wrong when launching a new venture, many things can go right.

According to Entrepreneurship Essentials, entrepreneurs who actively manage the relationship between risk and reward position their companies to “benefit from the upside.” Successful entrepreneurs are comfortable with encountering some level of risk to reap the rewards of their efforts.  However, their risk tolerance is tightly related to their efforts to mitigate it.

10. Comfortable with Failure

In addition to managing risk and making calculated decisions, entrepreneurship requires a certain level of comfort with failure. It’s estimated that nearly 75 percent of new startups fail. The reasons for failure are vast and encompass everything from a flawed business model to a lack of focus or motivation. While many of these risks can be avoided, some are inevitable.

Despite this, successful entrepreneurs must prepare themselves for, and be comfortable with, failure. Rather than let fear hold them back, they allow the possibility of success to propel them forward.

11. Always having a plan

Successful businesses leave little up to chance. They look far into the future, with backup plans to adapt to unexpected events. You should have a vision for your company 5-10 years from now. To bring that vision to life, you can use the SMART method to set short and long-term business goals.

These are goals that are:

Specific: What is the exact outcome you’re hoping for?

Measurable: How will you know you achieved this outcome?

Achievable: Is it reasonable for you to expect to achieve this goal?

Realistic: Can you arrive at your goal with your current resources?

Time-Bound: Do you have a clear deadline for your goal?

Each goal should build on the last, bringing you closer to your vision closer to reality. Also, remember that a lot can change over the years. You’re allowed to adjust your plan if needed.

12. Persistence

While many successful entrepreneurs are comfortable with the possibility of failing, it doesn’t mean they give up easily. Rather, they see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Throughout the entrepreneurial process, many hypotheses turn out to be wrong, and some ventures fail altogether. Part of what makes an entrepreneur successful is their willingness to learn from mistakes, continue to ask questions, and persist until they reach their goal.

13. Understanding the value of self-care

Great leaders understand that exhaustion and overwork is a recipe for disaster. They may have all the skills in the world. But, without proper wellness, they won’t be able to execute. Budgeting time for self-care will pay you back tenfold. The same philosophy applies to your employees. Make sure they understand the value of their work and encourage them to rest when they need it. They will pay you back with a positive attitude and stronger work ethic.

14. Innovation

Many ascribe to the idea that innovation goes hand-­in-­hand with entrepreneurship. This notion is often true. Some of the most successful startups have taken existing products or services and drastically improved them to meet the changing needs of the market.

Innovation is a characteristic some, but not all, entrepreneurs possess. Fortunately, it’s a type of strategic mindset that can be cultivated. By developing your strategic thinking skills, you can be well-equipped to spot innovative opportunities and position your venture for success.

15. Long-standing

Most people think of entrepreneurship as the process of starting a business. While the early stages of launching a venture are critical to its success, the process doesn’t end once the business is operational. According to Entrepreneurship Essentials, “it’s easy to start a business, but hard to grow a sustainable and substantial one. Some of the greatest opportunities in history were discovered well after a venture launched.” Entrepreneurship is a long-term endeavor, and entrepreneurs must focus on the process from beginning to end to ensure long-standing success.


Common mistakes to avoid as an Entrepreneur

It’s easy to make mistakes if this is your first time launching a business, but maybe we can help you avoid a few. Here are some things to look out for.

1. Stick to your budget

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re starting out. Be careful not to blow your budget too quickly. Stick to the essentials for now, like hiring the right staff, investing in the right tools, and building out your client list. The rest will come later.

2. Make smart hiring decisions

Your business will thrive or die based on who you hire. Choose your employees wisely. Look for people who share your entrepreneurial mindset and have experience working at a new business. It’s also useful to find people who have different expertise than you to cover any of your blindspots.

3. Set achievable goals

Set achievable goals when you’re starting out. Stick to SMART method we outlined above.

4. Don’t forget to delegate

You hired great people. Use them! Many entrepreneurs don't know how to delegate to others or they're afraid to. Consider whether you need to own a task. You can't control everything so only keep the most important ones. Assign tasks based on others' strengths, set clear expectations, and check in with them regularly. They’re your team and they will deliver. Otherwise, you risk overworking yourself.

5. Avoid making decisions out of fear

Clear your head before making big decisions. Emotions like fear, anger, or frustration can cloud your judgment. When you encounter a stressful situation, take a step back, be mindful of your feelings, and approach the problem later with a clear mind.


How to Develop the Qualities of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is both a challenge and a great opportunity, and it takes certain qualities to be successful. There’s no right or wrong way to be an entrepreneur. Characteristics and behaviors like experimentation, persistence, and innovation can be developed with time, experience, and training. As long as you possess the entrepreneurial spirit, you'll be able to seize opportunities and overcome challenges throughout your journey.

Modern leaders need an increasingly long list of managerial skills.

Here’s what you should work on as you develop your business:

·       Persuasiveness

·       Problem-solving

·       Communication skills

·       Flexibility

·       Self-motivation

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