What are the qualities of a good entrepreneur? This is one of the most asked questions by aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, especially when starting out.
Indeed, to translate your idea into a business, you must start to think like an entrepreneur. That’s because entrepreneurs are on a constant mission to look out for opportunities.
According to a study in the USA, around March 2021, businesses not more than one-year old were about 840,000. While this figure continues to increase, the reality remains that most startups fold up because owners never learned what true entrepreneurship is.
Essentially, entrepreneurship is a journey of problem-solving. But who then is an entrepreneur?
Continue reading because that’s part of what you’ll learn in this article. In addition, this post will explain the characteristics of entrepreneurs that start and run successful businesses. So a top-notch list of qualities of a successful entrepreneur has been compiled for you.
Who is an Entrepreneur?
To a layman, an entrepreneur is a business owner who provides a specific service or sells goods to meet the needs of his customers.
That’s right, but entrepreneurship goes beyond that.
It has to do with coordinating, controlling, and managing productive resources to satisfy a troubling need of people to make profits.
Remember the factor of production you learned in business studies or economics in high school? We got lectured that entrepreneurs control and manage other factors of production such as, capital, land (including other assets), and labor.
Since we’ve established who an entrepreneur is, let’s study:
15 Qualities of a good Entrepreneur You Should Know
Here are the personalities and traits that a successful entrepreneur possesses:
One of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur is curiosity. He’s keen on learning new things and, of course, finding new possibilities for a situation. Thus as an entrepreneur, you must stay open to opportunities while equipping yourself with relevant skills and knowledge.
That way, you position yourself as a problem solver because entrepreneurship is about problem-solving. The more you make yourself a problem solver, the better your chance of creating an income stream.
Albert Einstein, a famous German-born scientist, once said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
Interestingly, that’s the mindset and quality of a good entrepreneur.
We plan but can’t always predict how things will exactly unfold in our lives. Whether in our personal or business life.
That’s no new lesson for successful entrepreneurs because they’ve learned from experience that life happens. They know certain things happen beyond our control, not because we fold our arms and allow them to occur.
And as such, they swiftly adapt to the current situation when these occurrences happen while they try to work out a better plan. So, to achieve success in your entrepreneurial journey, you must be flexible and adaptable.
That’s why you want to get optimistic fellows to join your team. Individuals that are naturally upbeat are more adaptable and will not sink in complaining when things go against plan, as pessimists will do.
3. Creativity & Innovation
The relationship between creativity and innovation is like what you have between bread and butter. They are complementary; one calls for the other.
Creativity has to do with the generation of novel ideas. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It could be perceiving a different way something can get done better, faster, and efficiently.
Innovation, on the other side of the “change equation,” takes those ideas and works on them until they become a reality. It’s a very strategic process.
So as an entrepreneur, your business success largely depends on them. Unfortunately, many small business owners try to undermine them when starting and running a successful business. But they fail sooner than they expect.
You’ll agree every business starts with an idea, followed by innovation from the owner(s) to turn that idea into new products or services capable of meeting a market need.
4. Self-motivated and goal-getter
A survey was carried out in Finland in 2017 on 594 respondents–who were business owners. And this study discovered that the primary motivator of these entrepreneurs of SMEs is to be able to employ themselves.
That sounds great?
But the question is, how many aspiring entrepreneurs and startup owners are self-motivated?
While to answer that question with specific statistical data may not be readily available, it doesn’t erase the fact that successful entrepreneurs are self-motivated individuals. But not only that.
They are goal-getters who would work their asses out to ensure they consistently meet their SMART goals. Yes, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals.
And that’s what being a goal-getter means. Sadly, many burn their skin, bringing stress and anxiety upon themselves by setting unrealistic goals. You should know that doing that doesn’t make you a better entrepreneur.
Did you know that many of us growing up as children damn sucked at decision-making? We waited for options from our parents or siblings before making any decisions.
We were practically indecisive.
While that is pretty acceptable for children, you don’t want to get stuck with that as an entrepreneur. It sucks big-time!
The inability to make solid decisions is often a sign of a lack of confidence or information or the fear of failure.
However, don’t get it twisted! To make quality and informed decisions you may need the opinion of others (or from your subordinates).
But don’t confuse that for delay or sluggish decision-making when you need a firm and swift response or action-taking. This takes us to the next traits in the personality of a successful entrepreneur.
What are the qualities of a successful entrepreneur?
CEO of Facebook and other Meta platforms, Mark Zuckerberg, once quoted:
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Mark’s words are profound, and successful entrepreneurs can relate to them. Because it better defines their journey in business and as entrepreneurs.
While entrepreneurship is about problem-solving, the journey of entrepreneurs is full of risk-taking. If that were not true, everybody would own a business.
Leaving your 9-5 job to start a business is enough risk that many are not yet ready to take– perhaps, they’ll someday. However, that is to tell you that, as an entrepreneur you’re in for a game of risk-taking.
7. Discipline & Persistence
No one is born with discipline as a virtue. We all learn (and keep learning) it here– in this life.
“Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time,” says John C. Maxwell.
As an entrepreneur, you must be ready to learn from successful entrepreneurs. Because they know how significant discipline and consistency are to their success in business.
This twin doesn’t only affect their personal life. It influences their personal finance, money management, work ethics, and aspects that can impact their journey as entrepreneurs.
You, too, must follow suit until it becomes a lifestyle. Again, you can develop discipline and the willpower to be persistent. It’s a no-brainer.
8. Good Work Ethic
“What you do is what matters, not what you think, say or plan,” says Jason Fried.
Yes, a good entrepreneur knows that what he and his team do with time and other resources matters. They matter so much that misuse (of them) can adversely affect a business’s bottom line.
That’s why, as an entrepreneur, you need to have a better work ethic– than your subordinates if you choose to compare. Because you are a leader, and people learn from you.
If you want the punctuality policy to be complied with religiously, you must start by following it yourself. If you want your team members to treat work as professionally as possible, you must do that yourself first.
A good work ethic as an entrepreneur will positively influence your interpersonal relationships with your team. And consequently, it will lead to better and easy management approaches or strategies.
Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur
9. Organizational skills
We tend to call people with good organizational skills managers. But that’s not far from the truth. Because all successful entrepreneurs are good managers who have excellent organizational skills.
Nevertheless, having excellent organizational skills doesn’t mean you should handle and directly manage everything that should get managed.
No, that’s not the point.
Of course, you can have a Front Desk Executive to help you take care of some administrative and secretarial duties such as scheduling and conducting business meetings, etc. That way, you’d be able to focus your energy and most of your productive time on superior management tasks.
In any case, since you’re the chief manager of your business, you must be able to direct, coordinate and supervise the utilization of all business resources. Because your goal is to achieve efficiency and peak productivity, accompanied by profits.
10. Put customers first
Many think the expression “Customers are king” is a cliché that has long stayed in the business space.
But successful entrepreneurs think differently. They often try to put themselves in their customers’ shoes; to better serve their needs. For they know that they don’t have a business without customers.
So treating customers with respect can be considered one of the qualities of a successful entrepreneur. That owes to the fact that one dissatisfied customer can take 100 customers away through a terrible review through word of mouth.
But when satisfied, he can bring that same number of customers or even more with time. So always remind yourself, as an entrepreneur, you’re on a mission to keep providing utility to people– your customers or clients.
11. Readiness to experiment
This is related to risk-taking. Yet, it’s paramount, especially in reality, that change is constant. We live in a changing and ever-dynamic world. New technology, new policies, and products and services.
And accompanied by all these are opportunities. It could be an opportunity to scale up your existing business or start a new one.
So as an entrepreneur, you must be a researcher and an explorer willing to experiment with new ideas in your journey on the strength of a calculated risk.
Characteristics of a Good Entrepreneur
12. Team building
Aside from thinking of a great idea, business, or product, as an entrepreneur, you would need the help of others. That’s to say, while you should be a visionary, you need people who can be part of your vision.
Yes, people who can own your mission– not necessarily to the same degree as you do.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” says Andrew Carnegie.
So, successful entrepreneurs display their leadership skills by recruiting people to be part of a mission– the long-term goal of their business. But they don’t stop at that. Instead, they continuously stimulate the spirit of teamwork amongst their team members.
13. Great Networker
Heard of this famous quote about networking: “Your network is your net worth”?
While that sounds simplistic, its relevance to one’s business success as an entrepreneur is unarguable.
And that’s why it is an essential trait of good entrepreneurs. They keep expanding their networks by joining relevant communities and groups for their business. This helps them keep tabs on trends in their industry and opportunities they can seize. It could be a business deal or anything that may lead to financial compensation in the long run.
Thus, as an entrepreneur, you must learn and sharpen your networking skills. Those benefits are a handful; it doesn’t just help you build a great team within your organization. But it allows you to create and sustain long lasting business relationships with business professionals and other entrepreneurs, in and out of your industry.
Other Qualities of an Entrepreneur
14. Comfortable with figures
Successful entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have a degree in accounting. But they have sound knowledge of money management. As a result, they spend money as they should at the right time and for the right purpose. But beyond that, they are comfortable with figures because they know that business is a game of figures.
Similarly, you should too. You decide to improve how comfortable you’re with numbers. It could mean educating yourself on accounting basics such as expenses, incomes, liabilities, or assets.
Ability to delegate
Also, successful entrepreneurs know the importance of delegation in business and how to delegate tasks to their subordinates effectively. That way, the goal of achieving personal effectiveness becomes easy and practical.
Bonus Point: Empathy is one of the qualities of a good entrepreneur
In a world where many are fast becoming consumed with themselves, empathy is becoming one at least talked about personal characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. But without it, there would be a big vacuum in many relationships. Both personal and professional ones.
To start with, it takes empathy to communicate effectively with others as it does to become a great leader. Little wonder Zig Ziglar once quoted: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
The bottom line is that your employees (team members) and customers want to know that you care about them to earn that care in return. Because if you care about your employees, you’ll be interested in their growth and development. The same thing applies to your customers: the only way they know you care about them is to help them satisfy the need that your product or service promises them.
You can also show this through incentives and gifts.
How would you feel when you walk in a grocery store, but as you’re about to leave, you receive a gift for your purchase? Say, that’s something the store you’ve been buying from hasn’t done in the past four months.
Wouldn’t you like to return there when you need to shop for some groceries? Yes, of course, you’ll, except for uncontrollable constraints that pop up.
A final thought on Qualities of an Entrepreneur
Now, you might want to get intimidated by the seeming longlist of the characteristics of a good entrepreneur. Don’t be!
You can develop them all– from crash to the point that they become noticeable traits in your personality. But you have to be pragmatic about it.
Cultivating and developing these qualities of a successful entrepreneur is like doing exercise for your biceps. The more you exercise on them, the more they become firmer.
So, don’t be hard on yourself. You can succeed in your business and entrepreneur journey by committing yourself to the goal of possessing these most important characteristics of an entrepreneur.
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