Entrepreneurship is the process of taking a thought, idea or concept and turning it into a reality. Often, but not always, this is tied to a business idea that the individual or team wants to exploit in order to generate a profit.
But not everyone who embarks on the journey to be an entrepreneur is successful. In fact, most people will fail in this pursuit because starting, growing and scaling any venture requires hard work and dedication.
With that in mind this article will explore the major characteristics of an entrepreneur.
This is a very important characteristic that is possessed by virtually all successful entrepreneurs. Tenacity is the ability to persevere and keep chasing the goal even in the face of adversity. Entrepreneurs who have tenacity they do not take no for an answer. And won’t stop until they get what they want.
This can come across as brash to some people, but Entrepreneurs know that no successful business is built over night. Ideas take time to become a reality.
Often you will see Entrepreneurs try something and fail ten times, but they won’t give up. To them mistakes don’t mean it is time to quit, it simply means ‘try harder you are almost there’.
Entrepreneurs don’t quit as soon as they hit an obstacle, they confront it, kick it out of the way and keep moving. They never relent!
For any entrepreneur to be successful, they to have deep seated passion that is driving them. It is not just the drive to make money, it is the passion to solve a problem and meet the needs of others through their business or idea.
This is why many successful entrepreneurs get the idea for their business from a problem that they faced personally. When the have something that personally affects them and needs to be fixed, it is easy to be passionate about doing so.
As a result you can often see that money isn’t the driving factor for an entrepreneur. Money and success is simply a by-product of their desire to solve a problem and see change occur in the world.
Without this level of passion it is hard to stay motivated and to keep going when the going gets tough. Passion is a characteristic of entrepreneurs that forces them to keep moving forward.
Another characteristic of entrepreneurs is that they are not afraid to take risks. This doesn’t mean that they are “reckless”, more so that they have an appreciation for the balance between risk and reward. They recognize that a taking a degree of risk can result in a much greater return in life if they manage to be successful.
Another example of this can be seen in athletes and adventurers. While they don’t fit the typical definition of an entrepreneur, they are essentially banking on their personal ability to succeed in their chosen field and hope that an investment in that area of expertise pays off in some way.
Finally, while a characteristic of an entrepreneur is to be a risk taker they also acknowledge that this is not a one time thing. You don’t choose to be an entrepreneur for a short period of your life and then go onto do something else. Being an entrepreneur remains something that is inside you.
As a result you can afford to take the long term view and recognize that even if this opportunity of business does not work out you are investing in your future. The risk you take now has led to lessons that will help you succeed in the future.
This should seem an obvious characteristic of entrepreneurs but it is still work stating. No one is successful in life without putting in the hard work. Yes, luck does play a part but you can’t overlook the importance of hard work.
Entrepreneurs often work hard, not because they see the business as a job, but because they love doing what they do. This is where hard work meets passion and becomes such a strong force to willing an entrepreneur forward in their chosen domain.
Vision is another essential characteristic that every successful entrepreneur has. Vision is what propels most entrepreneurs to success, because until they see what they pictured they won’t stop. Without a clear picture of the future, just anywhere will look like the destination.
An entrepreneur who is able to create and articulate a clear vision will have greater success in selling their product/service, recruiting people to their company and getting others to support them.
This is a crucial skill, especially in the early days of a new venture, when there isn’t much of a track record to go on. Being able to sell the vision and look clearly down the road in 3, 5 10 or even 20 years time ensures that the company remains centered on its goal and doesn’t chase the newest crazy and “hottest” market each and ever year.
Nobody is an island. You can’t do everything by yourself. Therefore it excellent communication skills is an important characteristic for all entrepreneurs to master.
In particular, entrepreneurs need to be strong verbal communicators as speaking with potential employees, customers and investors is usually the way an outsider is first introduced to you or your company. If you are not able to articulate what you are doing and the benefits you have in the first 30 seconds of a conversation you will often lose the attention of your audience.
Being a strong communicator also ties in with our earlier characteristics of an entrepreneur, including having a vision and being passionate. When you are passionate about a topic your belief in that idea or concept is naturally carried through in the way you speak about it. Hearing someone speak about something they are passion about can be infectious, and having people hang on every word they say. Just look to Steve Jobs as an example of someone who was able to deliver a message with passion.
Often when starting out entrepreneurs don’t have many people who believe in their idea or potential success. There are just too many things that can go wrong and most people look for what won’t work, as opposed to what will.
As a result successful entrepreneurs have to have self belief. They have to believe in their ability to execute on the idea or business opportunity they see in front of them. That doesn’t mean they have to believe they are always right, but they have to have a natural inclination towards backing themselves and believing in their ability, even when others don’t.
Entrepreneurs are therefore an optimistic bunch. They often look to the positives and what will go right and underestimate the potential for failure. This is a positive mindset to have, as it wills you forward even when times get tough, but it can make it harder on those entrepreneurs who do fail to be successful with their business or idea.
Overall it is clear that entrepreneurs have a number of characteristics that help keep them focused on the end goal while diligently working towards it. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, but often people who find themselves starting a company or chasing an idea where born that way, and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Also published on Medium.