The world of entrepreneurship is a world filled with uncertainty, excitement, highs and lows, many challenges, and a remarkable sense of achievement. It can also be incredibly scary when a lot of money is at stake or other people’s futures and/or livelihoods are on the line. It can also be incredibly rewarding to overcome obstacles and prevail so that your organization delivers on its promise. No matter what, being an entrepreneur requires having certain traits in order to navigate these waters. Let’s take a look at some of those traits of a successful entrepreneur and contrast it with someone who merely thinks they want to be an entrepreneur.
The person who “thinks” they want to be an entrepreneur will:
1. Lack an abiding belief in themselves. Once they encounter any significant obstacles or setbacks, their confidence in themselves is shattered.
2. Lack perseverance. When challenges present themselves, this person will give up.
3. Lack the ability to listen. This person will not consider the constructive input of others and has a tendency to think they know it all. This person will also ignore the demands of his or her customers and the marketplace which, in and of itself, is a fatal mistake.
4. Be afraid to make mistakes and/or fail. Everything will have to be “perfect” before this person makes a move. This person views any failure as catastrophic.
5. Not have a vision. They have not considered what will be the direction of the company and how they will adapt to emerging trends to meet the needs of the marketplace.
6. Not be adaptable. They have a firm idea of how things should be, not what they really are. They resist adapting to the marketplace and instead insist that the marketplace adapt to them.
7. Not possess creativity. This person does not think of novel advertising approaches or ways of getting their products or services in front of prospective customers. They also lack the innovative skills necessary to navigate obstacles.
The person who is committed to being an entrepreneur will:
1. Have an abiding belief in themselves. They just “know” and “feel it” deep down inside of themselves that they have what it takes to succeed. This person knows that if they fully commit to being an entrepreneur, that they can make this happen.
2. Utilize their perseverance. They have a strong commitment to seeing things through. They know that every successful person out there encountered problems and challenges along the way. The critical difference is that the true entrepreneur adapts and finds a way around the obstacles.
3. Have an ability to listen. The true entrepreneur highly values the input of others and realizes that others may have skills, insights, and information available to them that they do not. The entrepreneur is acutely aware of and in tune with the needs of the marketplace and realizes that, by paying attention, they are better able to deliver on their promises.
4. Not be afraid to fail. Failure is a golden opportunity for the entrepreneur to learn what works and what doesn’t. Failure means that the entrepreneur is one step closer to realizing his objectives. Failure means that the entrepreneur is putting forth the effort to make things happen. Failure means that the entrepreneur is not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.
5. Have vision. The entrepreneur has forward thinking skills and an ability to recognize emerging trends. The entrepreneur has the vision to recognize growth opportunities and how best to utilize the company’s resources for maximum opportunity in the future. The entrepreneur knows that, without vision, the company will perish.
6. Have the ability to adapt. The entrepreneur will successfully make course corrections and adapt to changing conditions. The entrepreneur will not be stuck in old ways of thinking and will be open to new and different approaches.
7. Have creativity. The entrepreneur will recognize that for the company to differentiate itself from the competition, it will have to be creative and fresh in its approach to marketing and branding itself. The entrepreneur will not be doing what everyone else is doing.
Before you embark on being an entrepreneur, you owe it to yourself to consider the traits of a successful entrepreneur and ask yourself the honest question, “Am I committed to being an entrepreneur or do I just “think” I am?”