You don’t have to be brilliant to be a successful entrepreneur. Similarly, a great idea isn’t always enough to make a business successful. The best entrepreneurs aren’t always the brightest or the wealthiest. The entrepreneurial spirit is exactly that: a spirit, a personality, a mindset. Here are a few traits that make for great entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail. Taking risks is just what they do. This may be the defining characteristic that separates them from the rest of us working stiffs. If you need the security of a steady paycheck and full benefits, including health insurance for the whole family, you may not realistically be in the position to embrace entrepreneurship.
The decision to become an entrepreneur requires some serious thought and careful self-assessment. Are you the type of person who can put all your eggs in one basket, a basket that is not likely to turn a profit for several years, if ever? When your heart is set on being or doing the next big thing, you can’t be scared of anyone or anything, especially not losing money, and that includes yours or your investors’.
Hunger for Knowledge
If you are one of those people who need to know absolutely everything there is to know about your industry, you may be well positioned for an entrepreneurial undertaking. Entrepreneurs love to learn from anyone and anything that will teach them. They voraciously consume trade publications, surf the web for any and all new developments and chat up experts in the field. You can’t be on the cutting edge if you don’t know where it is or who was there before you.
Great entrepreneurs eat rejection for breakfast and then come back for more. After having 100 doors slammed in your face, you have to truly believe the next one will swing wide open – and a big, fat check will be standing there to greet you. Entrepreneurs are eternal optimists.
It isn’t enough to simply be able to ignore rejection. You have to learn from it. Find the constructive criticism in even the harshest responses and firmest denials. Every setback is an opportunity to learn and improve. If you believe in your core concept, rejection only helps you tweak around the edges until you have a universally acknowledged winner.
Up-and-comers aren’t just used to not having all the perks of a Fortune 500 company, they are comfortable with it. They don’t need a million resources at their disposal. They take what they have on hand, cobble something together and make it work. In fact, the ability to be flexible and adapt to quickly changing market forces is a huge asset over staid corporate behemoths. Improvising keeps the mind nimble and solutions fresh.
Appetite for Action
In the corporate world, government and especially academia, ideas get studied from all angles. Every available option is analyzed ad nauseam. There are business plans, market research reports, and strategic plans. Entrepreneurs tend to be more men and women of action. The research is there, but entrepreneurs don’t often over-scrutinize every single decision. There is of course a goal in mind, but that goal may morph as the project proceeds and develops. It’s important to be okay with that.
Ability to Delegate
Many people tend to view delegation as a failure, a loss of control or abdication of ownership. That’s the wrong way to look at it. Delegation shouldn’t be seen as arbitrarily assigning tasks to others. It is a skill rooted in the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your team.
When you are creating something out of nothing and then entering it into the marketplace, entrepreneurs realize one individual isn’t going to be the perfect person to accomplish all the many and varied tasks involved. They realize their own shortcomings and recruit people whose skill sets complement their own. Delegation saves time and ensures a better product.
If you are drawn to entrepreneurship, chances are these six traits are present to some extent in your genetic makeup. The trick is to unleash them and let them run wild. They are attributes to be cultivated before you go forth and prosper.
Image by Parker Michael Knight