Have you ever wondered what distinguishes great entrepreneurs from others? Are there qualities that they possess that make people more successful in entrepreneurship? Are they born with certain personality traits or can they be developed over time?
As business experts and successful entrepreneurs have noted, there are specific qualities that entrepreneurs possess — and you can develop them, too. In this blog, we have listed 10 traits that drive people towards entrepreneurship. And we have listed examples for each trait and extracts from books and quotes from experts.
Read on and find out how many of these qualities you already have and how you can cultivate them.
Top qualities entrepreneurs have in common
Here’s a list of personality traits and qualities seen in entrepreneurs. We have also provided an example of each and taken references from books written by business leaders.
Self-efficacy and innovativeness
Entrepreneurs have a keen eye for innovation to identify new problems that need solving.
They also thrive on a strong sense of self-efficacy to execute their innovative ideas. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to complete a task or achieve a certain goal. This quality is important for business tasks such as marketing, management, and financial control.
Innovativeness and self-efficacy go hand-in-hand. Having an innovative idea will not make you an entrepreneur. You also need to believe in yourself to bring the ideas to life.
Related read: Inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs
The higher the belief that a person has in their abilities, the greater the likelihood of being a nascent entrepreneur as well as the successful founding of a business.
A self-governing mindset is an important quality entrepreneur generally have. This means that they believe that they control the events and results through their own actions, abilities, and decisions.
A great example of this trait in action can be seen during an economic crisis. With a recession looming over our heads, it’s very easy to surrender and blame the economy. A true entrepreneur will find a way to wage through these tough currents and build a sustainable business.
People with a self-governing mindset do not rely on or blame external circumstances. They also tend to be more self-motivated, self-reliant, and have good problem-solving skills. This is a quality you can cultivate over time and is common in entrepreneurially inclined people.
When first starting out as an entrepreneur, the most important quality to have is self-discipline.
Unlike a traditional job, you will not have a manager to hold you accountable. This means you will have to set goals, strive for consistency, and keep track of your progress. Entrepreneurs have the quality of being able to execute plans without external factors driving them.
Many entrepreneurs have emphasized the importance of self-discipline.
Bill Gates revealed that he had a terrible habit of procrastinating when as a student. He found that this habit resulted in dreadful consequences in the business world, and learned that there is no way around self-discipline.
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 businesses shut down before crossing the 5-year mark. Yet, what is it then that draws 30,000 individuals in India every year to start a business? The main reason could be risk tolerance: entrepreneurs, no matter how small or big the business is, can handle business uncertainty.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
A study predicts that the most risk-conscious people will become employees while those with higher tolerance will choose to be entrepreneurs.
In the business world, taking risks is about accelerating towards something unknown that will bring better results.
Entrepreneurs should develop the quality of taking intelligent risks. Learn to assess your options, analyze potential outcomes, and make plans to deal with a worst-case scenario.
Entrepreneurship is a stressful endeavour making emotional intelligence or even-temperedness is a must-have quality you should develop. Emotionally intelligent entrepreneurs can recognize their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses and make sure they are not controlled by them.
This trait is key in decision-making and maintaining a positive work environment for your team members.
For instance, an emotionally intelligent entrepreneur may be able to handle criticism or negative feedback without becoming defensive or letting their emotions get in the way of productive conversations.
Additionally, an emotionally intelligent entrepreneur will be skilled at understanding the emotions of others, such as clients, investors, or partners, and adjusting their own communication style or approach accordingly. This can help them build strong relationships and manage expectations, both of which are important functions.
Entrepreneurs would find themselves with lofty goals with no clear path to achieve them. In this situation, the best quality to have as an entrepreneur is having a resourceful mindset.
Being resourceful means having a can-do attitude despite not knowing all the answers. It pushes you to work creatively, find solutions, and learn new skills. You must have the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.
“The greatest trait you can possess as an entrepreneur is the ability to learn quickly and adapt.” – Guy Kawasaki
Resourcefulness is an especially important quality if you don’t have the money or other resources to drive results. This leaves you to channel your inner potential and put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can take advantage of the opportunity when it strikes.
In the business world, having repeatable series of steps to complete necessary tasks is very helpful. Following such a process on a regular basis instead of being juts goal-oriented can help you run a business forward even in the toughest of times.
The process-oriented approach can be taken in various aspects of business including sales, production, and even onboarding new team members.
An entrepreneur who possesses the quality of a process-oriented mindset will be able t work smarter, and not harder. It can help them grow their business.
In Michael E. Gerber’s book “The E-Myth Revisited”, you can see an action-led definition of a process-oriented approach in business:
“A process-oriented approach can be applied to every aspect of a business, from product development to customer service. This approach requires a shift in mindset from working in your business to working on your business. Rather than being a technician who does everything, you need to become a manager who creates and oversees processes that enable others to do the work. This is the key to creating a business that can thrive without being dependent on you as the founder.”
Extraversion is a personality trait that refers to a person’s tendency to be outgoing and assertive. Needless to say, it’s a great quality for entrepreneurs to have because they will need to act as salespeople for their ideas to investors, partners, employees, and customers.
This trait will lead a person to develop important skills for entrepreneurship including networking, ability to handle stress, and communication.
Here’s an extract that talks about extraversion from the book “New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century:”
Successful entrepreneurs are often outgoing, assertive, and comfortable in social situations. They are energized by interaction with others and are not afraid to speak their minds.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who is not used to being outgoing, it’s better to start working on your social skills as soon as possible because you will need to get out of your comfort zone and engage with different kinds of people.
We all know the story of Thomas Edison and his 1000 unsuccessful attempts to create the first-ever light bulb. Edison made use of every method he knew and his persistence ultimately led him to create history.
In one aspect or the other, you will likely face challenges on your path to entrepreneurship. Having resilience will help you through tough times, learn from failures, and keep putting in the work with courage.
Strategic thinking is a trait you should develop as an entrepreneur. It involves setting goals, developing strategies, and making decisions that align with your vision. For this, you will need to identify and leverage key trends and anticipate market shifts. In the long run, it will help you navigate challenges and opportunities.
Harness your personal qualities to become an entrepreneur
Every entrepreneur demostrate different characteristics. They all had perseverance and passion, but it helps in different ways and for various reasons.
Having ten qualities like those listed above may not guarantee success, but it certainly seems as if they are necessary ingredients that carry a business idea along its journey to success.