The research is yet to throw up the set of entrepreneur characteristics that can guarantee entrepreneurial success every time. However, much has been learnt about many common traits of entrepreneurs who have succeeded in business. Some myths have also been destroyed in the process.
Who is an Entrepreneur?
The French word entrepreneur means “One who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods.” This does give a surprising insight into what makes for entrepreneurship. It highlights the fact that entrepreneurs are typically not “me too” followers, but people who thinks up something new.
They are then able to organize the necessary finance and bring the required degree of “business acumen” to translate the idea into a successful business. Business acumen can be seen as the ability to see business realities as they are and work accordingly to produce results on the ground. One needn’t be a Harvard Business Graduate; what is needed is an acquired habit of observing realities and drawing relevant conclusions, as they relate to business.
Characteristics of Successful Business Entrepreneurs
-Hard Work: Entrepreneurs have no office hours. Typically, they are small businesspersons who have no or little staff support. This means that they have to work long hours to attend not only to all the operational requirements but also the incidentals. An ability to work hard is thus a common characteristic of successful entrepreneurs.
-Health and Energy: Working hard is easier when the businessperson is not distracted by sickness or a lack of energy. Many entrepreneurs start their business as a part time work from home while keeping their employment, a course that will need more than the average quota of health and energy.
-Self Starters: Entrepreneurs prefer to do things their own way, and dislike being told what to do. They have strong ideas on how to do things and are able to make things work. They learn from mistakes and acquire the skill to achieve results.
-Persistence and Confidence: Running a business is not easy; not only is there a learning period when businesspersons make mistakes but there are also events and factors that are beyond their control and that affect the business. To succeed, the businessperson needs confidence in the ultimate success, and the persistence to continue in the face of setbacks.
-Active Persons: Entrepreneurs are typically active persons with an urge to get things done. They hate inactivity and tend to find things to do to further their business.
-Going to the Essence: When necessary, they can go into details required to complete tasks successfully. At the same time, they maintain an overview of the whole operation including an idea of future developments and action programs. They can also understand cause and effect relationships and see a total picture.
-Focus on Business Requirements: While successful entrepreneurs might have their egos, they do not let the egos stop them from seeking help where needed. They measure their success by business results rather than status symbols (which of course they might acquire once they are certain their business will not be affected).
-Emotional Issues: Entrepreneurs are not typically moved much by emotional issues. They might not have much empathy with people’s feelings, instead preferring to focus on what results they produce. While this can be a strength in getting things done, it can cause people problems. As the organization grows and success begins to depend on motivating employees, it is the entrepreneur who can make necessary adjustments who continues to succeed.
What Business Entrepreneurship Does not involve
-Undue Risks: Despite the talk about risk-taking capability of entrepreneurs, the fact is that successful entrepreneurs avoid taking unnecessarily high risks. However, they do exhibit the capacity to assess complex situations and proceed in a way that they can influence the results.
-Concern with Immediate Monetary Rewards: Successful entrepreneurs know that business results often take time to appear and are willing to wait, in the meantime doing things that keep the business on course.
Many universities are now offering courses in entrepreneurship. The better ones also ensure that the trainees gain exposure to the actual realities of starting and running a business. For example, they might have a compulsory project that requires the student to come up with a business idea and convert it into a running business. The conceptual knowledge gained through classroom sessions combined with the insights gained through such projects can prove an invaluable combo.