What Are the Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is when one or more individuals attempt to set up their own business, evaluating the risk versus the rewards.
As an entrepreneur, you will take the brunt of the risk that comes with your business, starting with your own capital or taking out a bank loan.
However, you will also receive the bulk of the rewards as the head of your business.
Unique ideas that provide value to the market are difficult to come by. An entrepreneur will develop creative ideas that will utilize economic production like natural resources and labor.
You must commit dedicated time and focus to executing your idea if you want to improve your chances of success. Hard work and dedication are as vital as creativity for an entrepreneur.
A successful entrepreneur will also receive rewards that go far beyond monetary value.
As a successful entrepreneur, you will gain considerable prestige among communities related to your business.
More prestige will often mean more opportunities to invest in other business ventures or expand your already successful business.
Unsuccessful entrepreneurs will see the failure of their business as a bad thing since it is often their capital that is at risk. However, good entrepreneurs consider their failures as a learning opportunity. They will evaluate their actions to apply better strategies to their next business venture.
Entrepreneurship can happen at any career level. Individuals with few or even no qualifications can (start their businesses)[/features/useful-resources/entrepreneur-no-experience] just as successfully as business executives and venture capitalists.
Most businesses are small and are owned by one individual or a small group, for example, family-owned businesses or partnerships.
The profits of a small business may not end up as high as a successfully scaled business. However, small businesses can provide enough profit to the owner to supersede the average salary.
Employees hired by small brick-and-mortar businesses are typically local to the area.
However, small businesses are not limited to physical stores. They can take advantage of online platforms designed to increase their reach.
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Auto shops
- Web design services
- E-commerce stores
A scalable start-up is a business created to scale into a large corporation.
Start-ups are generally funded by venture capitalists who seek to invest in promising entrepreneurs in exchange for a share in the company.
Entrepreneurs who can find a gap in the market for a product or service can create a business to provide their offering on a massive scale.
Successful scalable start-ups include:
Today, most successful start-up companies are related to or exclusively linked to the tech industry, for example:
- Educational platforms
Note that these don’t necessarily have to be scalable.
Large company entrepreneurship is the creation of business ventures within an already existing company.
Company executives must constantly find innovative business ideas to sustain the company. There is usually a finite amount of time when innovations are relevant. For example, Google remains relevant in the tech world by constantly creating new applications and add-ons to its primary service.
Google’s innovations either provide the market with new, valuable services or create services that rival other large tech firms, for example:
- Google Hangouts
- Google Drive
Large companies can also buy smaller companies or start-ups to subsidize them and add to their existing innovation, acting as investors and contributors.
Social entrepreneurship (also known as altruistic entrepreneurship or socialpreneurship) is when individuals create an organization to make social contributions rather than monetary profit.
These organizations are generally non-profit and receive funds from third-party sources, including large charitable organizations and public funds. Some of these organizations rely entirely on donations.
Entrepreneurs may also hold public events to raise money for a cause.
Members of the public can participate in challenges, performances or competitions to raise awareness of the organization and encourage more donations.
Rather than monetary growth, the success of social entrepreneurship is measured by the effect it has had on the cause.
All successful entrepreneurs share similar traits needed to succeed in the world of business and innovation.
Although you may not always need a particular qualification, your business will not succeed if you do not possess or practice the following traits.
There is a difference between (drive and motivation)[/interview-advice/competencies/work-ethic]. Understanding the difference between the two will be a deciding factor in your success as an entrepreneur.
Although to become a successful entrepreneur, you must be self-motivated, there is no guarantee that motivation will always be available.
Drive is similar to motivation, except it allows you to push past the discomfort and fatigue you will inevitably experience when pursuing your goals.
Personal drive is closely related to an individual’s needs. Think about the reason you want to achieve your goal. Why is it important to you?
Ways you can improve your drive include:
- Build habits that are related to your goal
- Create one or more daily mantras
- Keep a journal of your progress
- Talk about your goals regularly
Self-discipline is one of the most important traits of an entrepreneur. Starting a business will require doing things consistently, regardless of your circumstances.
Remaining focused on your goals allows you to contribute to your business consistently.
If you have consistent input into your business, there is a strong chance that you will receive consistent output.
Maintaining discipline means that you will continue to put energy into your business even when you face setbacks.
Discipline is not a static trait; it is just like any other skill. Therefore, just like any other skill, discipline can be improved.
- Create a schedule to follow every day
- Include rest times in your schedule
- Turn off your phone when you need to focus
- Tell your friends what your plans are and ask them to keep you accountable
- Remove things within your day that do not benefit your business or your family
Of the Big Five personality traits in psychological trait theory, openness is the highest recurring trait among the most successful entrepreneurs.
For an entrepreneur to be successful, they must consider ideas that the average person would not accept.
The greatest innovations in human history started as ideas that the general public could not accept. This remains the case today, even as the open market continues to develop.
Becoming more open-minded is not just good for business but is an integral part of the human experience. Moreover, the process of becoming more open-minded is often very enjoyable!
- Speak to more people within your area of expertise
- Speak to people outside of your area of expertise
- Travel to different countries
- Go on long walks
- Listen to different genres of music
- (Learn new skills)[/interview-advice/competencies/transferable-skills]
- Visit museums and historical landmarks
Where some entrepreneurs fall short is that they are unable to maintain belief in themselves. If you are not confident in your goal, your likelihood of success is significantly lower.
The most successful entrepreneurs are known for having extreme self-confidence. Often it takes a level of extreme confidence to put 100% of your energy and focus into your ventures.
Modern entrepreneurs often refer to a quote from one of the most successful entrepreneurs in human history, Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Not everyone starts out with the self-esteem that is common among successful entrepreneurs, but there are plenty of ways to build it.
- Learn to do something (anything) consistently
- (Learn a new skill)[/interview-advice/competencies/technical-skills]
- Learn a new language
- Perform difficult physical exercise consistently
- Improve your current personal relationships
- Make a list of all the things you are good at
- Create positive daily affirmations
While openness is the top trait for successful entrepreneurs, trait conscientiousness is considered the highest indicator for success across the board.
Conscientious individuals will (prioritize tasks)[/interview-advice/competencies/self-management-skills], follow a schedule consistently, and keep every aspect of their lives completely (organized)[/application-advice/job-applications/organisational-skills].
Knowing how to prioritize your tasks and keep track of your performance indicators will considerably improve your chances of success.
It is common for people who are high in openness to have low organizational skills. Fortunately, just like any other skill, it can be improved. Try the following:
- Organize your personal spaces
- Create schedules for the week, month and year
- Organize your working area
- Download checklist/calendar applications that sync across devices
- Prioritize your tasks for the day
It is impossible to run a successful business on your own. (Speak to people)[/features/useful-resources/best-ways-make-business-small-talk] in your field who have more experience or something else to offer.
Successful entrepreneurs can find opportunities that they couldn’t access on their own by talking with other business owners.
Share your ideas with other entrepreneurs who will give you a fresh perspective and new knowledge. For example, you may learn how to run your business more efficiently or gain insight into a relevant market.
Networking requires a considerable amount of social skills. You must know the appropriate time to approach someone about business.
It can be tricky to build social skills, but anyone can effectively navigate social situations with enough practice.
- Use your downtime to speak to people about your entrepreneurship
- Take time out to speak to people personally
- Make lunch dates
- Learn about an important person before you approach them
- Create a quota of networking attempts within the day or week
Resilience is one of the most important aspects of running a business, especially for entrepreneurs.
With the added risk of starting a business with your ideas and capital, inevitable challenges and hardships will directly affect you.
Successful entrepreneurs experience failure numerous times in their careers.
What separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is their ability to carry on when faced with failure.
- Practice mindfulness with yoga and meditation
- Focus on your initial goal
- Perform difficult physical exercise
- Regularly do productive things outside your comfort zone
- Face any fear that you may have
- Be more compassionate towards yourself
Another top trait of the most successful entrepreneurs is a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset allows you to approach challenges effectively.
When faced with a problem, a successful entrepreneur will look at it as an opportunity to learn something new or use an available resource.
A growth mindset is the healthiest way of thinking for an entrepreneur, as you will need to react effectively to every challenge.
- Take the time to accept and embrace your failures
- Write down your goals
- Look at everything as an opportunity to learn
- Harness an optimistic attitude
While anyone can start entrepreneurship, the qualities of a successful entrepreneur are built over time.
Entrepreneurship is full of risks, and success is in no way guaranteed. However, the quality that recurs among every successful entrepreneur is their ability to never give up.
Once you have an idea that you can implement, your chances of success as an entrepreneur will rise as long as you are willing to continue against all odds.