Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
By Craig Wagener D.Optom, Ph.D., MBA, MCNE
While studying successful people, it became apparent that they do share certain identifiable
skills sets, talents and characteristics, which combined, enable them to succeed
in business and in life.
You may already possess some of these traits and wield them with little effort. These
are your strengths. If you find that you do not have a certain skill or talent you
can always seek out individuals who do have them. Endeavor to learn from those people
who have mastered the skills you desire to acquire. Skills can be learned and developed.
Let’ s look at the skills, talents, and characteristics that research reveals to
be common among successful entrepreneurs:
Successful people are driven by a clear sense of purpose and passion. They often
have a dream with a definite goal or end point in mind. They are focused on achieving
their goals and are not easily detracted by the opinions of others. This strong emotion
stokes actions that result in big results. Passion drives these individuals to act
toward accomplishing what others say is impossible.
2. Spirit of Determination.
Entrepreneurs who want to build a startup will need to be determined to succeed.
They may be faced with repeated obstacles and failures but must remain determined
to learn from their mistakes and continue working toward the attainment of the set
goal. Obstacles and failures should be viewed as challenges and lessons and should
provide renewed energy to rise and continue striving toward the future goal. Listening
to constructive criticism and altering the course are necessary actions to continuing
forward movement, such a mindset is the spirit of determination.
Ambition and creativity will drive the successful person to succeed in accomplishing
their goals. Successful people produce results by owning their mistakes and failures.
It may only take one sound idea to achieve their goals and make them successful.
This attribute contributes to the individual having enthusiasm, willpower, and long-term
commitment to seeing things through to a successful outcome.
Successful people are self-disciplined which is advantageous in that they have trained
themselves to habitually work hard and dispose of common limiting mindsets. Discipline
breeds focus and focus breeds intentional action, precision in planning and execution.
Successful people tend to be risk-takers and creative thinkers. This does not mean
they are careless or reckless but instead analyze and calculate the risks. Successful
entrepreneurs use their experience, judgment, and intuition to mitigate startup business
risks. Over time, entrepreneurs develop methods of problem-solving from which they
glean the knowledge and confidence to identify the most lucrative paths to business
success. They are patient to wait for the appropriate time to act and diligent in
identifying and assessing the appropriate information.
6. Specific knowledge
Successful people have expert knowledge in their field and are constantly adding
to and honing that knowledge. They surround themselves with people who know more
about the subject than they do and they put themselves in a position of being mentored
by the other person. They are perpetual learners.
One of the most admirable skills to hone is the courage to admit one’s mistakes.
It is essential that an entrepreneur be able to accept his or her contribution to
mistakes. Without acceptance, the mistake cannot be analyzed toward altering a course
of action nor can the same mistake be prevented in the future.
Successful people are flexible and easily adjust to constantly changing environments.
Business flexibility infers the ability to think out-of-the-box and to change tactics
and strategies toward the achievement of goals. Start-ups entrepreneurs rely heavily
on the ability to be flexible and creative to meet the changing environment of the
Whether introverted or extroverted, a successful leader will learn effective ways
to ‘sell’ the business offerings. An idea, vision, dream, or product must be given
life through the process of promotion. It’s important for customers and partners
to believe in the product or service, but just as important is the belief of the
employees who will manufacture the product or perform the service. The ability to
promote oneself in tandem with the goal in an effective way will go far in achieving
Successful entrepreneurs examine a problem with creativity, even to the point of
the redesign of a product or service. Problems are considered merely a means to an
end and a challenge of creativity and an opportunity to advance and overcome. A growth
mindset provides an unlimited, unscalable well of ways to tackle a problem and while
tackling the problem, the generation of new ideas, new products, and new services
to expound upon.
Successful people know that cooperation is key to achieving goals. Business function
relies heavily on the cooperation of others whether, to acquire materials or services
or patronage, a business must maintain a network of various connections, business
and general public, in order to succeed. Collaboration is paramount to research and
development, quality of goods and services, and timely delivery.
Maintaining a strong sense of perspective is essential to survive as an entrepreneur.
Balancing business with personal needs requires a simple clear focus. It involves
being at peace with oneself and others and learning from failures. Understanding
that not all battles are worth winning, and there may be times when you need to simply
walk away from certain situations.
Having passion and ambition is not always enough. Sometimes to shift one’s viewpoint
is more important. The ability to move from one viewpoint like that of micromanagement
to micromanagement and back again is paramount. An entrepreneur, as a visionary,
must see the big picture and all of its minute details. One viewpoint cannot exist
without the other. Diligently attending to the smallest detail can mean the difference
between success and failure.
Successful entrepreneurs are resilient and pliable and not easily affected by the
fixed mindset of others who don’t share in their vision. These individuals will stay
focused on their goals and dreams. They have learned to use the negativity of others
to gain strength and momentum.
This list presents a tall order for those wanting to become entrepreneurs, the joy
of the matter is that anyone who applies himself or herself and continues to learn
can build a successful business. Begin by identifying your strengths and work on
acquiring the tools and evolve as a person. City’s are built a brick-at-a-time.