7 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

7 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? When you hear the term, who comes to mind? Most likely, you are thinking of names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, and Donald Trump. They are an elite class of businesspeople who can only be described as forces of nature. These titans seem almost genetically predisposed for success. What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur that makes winning seem second nature?

Many of us do not have the innovative vision of Henry Ford or the creativeness of Steve Jobs. However, we can examine the characteristics of the most successful entrepreneurs. While most of us have different definitions of what success means personally, there are the common and fundamental qualities shared by successful people.

What Is An Entrepreneur?

First, before digging into qualities, what is the exact meaning of the word entrepreneur?

Traditionally, an entrepreneur has been defined as ‘a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk’. … ‘Entrepreneurial spirit is characterized by innovation and risk-taking.’ While entrepreneurship is often associated with new, small, for-profit start-ups, entrepreneurial behavior can be seen in small-, medium- and large-sized firms, new and established firms and in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including voluntary sector groups, charitable organizations and government.Wikipedia

Moreover, when does a person become an entrepreneur? Does it rely on a certain education? When Forbes published their 2011 400 Richest Americans list, they also published a special report on the number of billionaires who said no to college, either by not attending or dropping out.

  • David Geffen, worth $5.5 billion, dropped out of the University of Texas at Austin. His estimated worth today is $6.7 billion.
  • Micky Arison has $4.2 billion but dropped out of the University of Miami. His empire has grown to an estimated $7.3 billion.
  • Les Wexner created $3.8 billion from a $5,000 loan after dropping out of the Ohio State University Law School. Today, he has a value of $7.2 billion.
  • Steve Jobs, at the time worth $7 billion, dropped out of Reed College.
  • Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook while at Harvard University and then dropped out. Zuckerberg is now worth $53.4 billion.
  • Haim Saban was worth $2.9 billion and never attended college at all. Today, Saban is valued at $3.6 billion.
  • John Paul DeJoria also did not attend college, but made the Forbes list with $4 billion. His net worth now is a mere $3.2 billion.

So, what does this tell us? An entrepreneur can break out at any time, with any education level, and from any background. Nonetheless, many entrepreneurs share specific personality traits. What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur?

Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

1. Passion – Are you driven by a clear sense of purpose? The source of the passion can come from either the subject matter or just playing the game. It is your passion that will have you work harder, longer, and for little pay with no guarantee of success. If you are money-centered, you will not make the sacrifices needed.

2. Determination – Every new business venture is a marathon, not a sprint. You must have the resolve and willpower to continue on even after repeated failures. Remember the words of the great Vince Lombardi, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” When everything falls apart, you must regroup and start over.

3. Self-Assuredness – Successful entrepreneurs are not intimidated by the talent and knowledge of others. In fact, they have a knack for surrounding themselves with people who know more and have skills they don’t possess. You must have confidence in your own abilities and character. Seek out those people who have knowledge, abilities, and backgrounds different from yours.

4. Foresight – Having the ability to almost supernaturally predict what will happen or be needed is one of the most defining characteristics of an entrepreneur. They can identify neglected niches and place themselves at the leading edge of change and emerging fields. Because of this, they most withstand those denying this change is coming because they can’t see it.

5. Adaptability – In the presence of new information, the entrepreneur is flexible to change. When the market moves, they move with it. If their plan is not working, they can honestly accept their own shortcomings and pivot in a new direction. In is important to understand that you may end in a very different place than your initial goal.

6. Fearlessness – Generally speaking, humans are risk-averse. When people’s needs are met, most are unwilling to take chances, gambling with certainty and security. You must be willing and confident enough to accept risks like embarrassment, becoming cash-poor, bankruptcy, and more. Nonetheless, there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Therefore, ensure that you hedge your bets.

7. Bucking the Status Quo – The problem with conventional wisdom is that it has often been an obstacle to change. Entrepreneurs regularly balk at political correctness, social norms, and widely accepted beliefs and theories. Moreover, very often they have issues with those in authority, which is one of the prime reasons for engaging in entrepreneurship. They simply think differently than the majority.

Which qualities and attributes do you possess? If you would like to talk about the characteristics of an entrepreneur, or have any questions, please leave your comments below.

Leave a Reply