Business start up – 7 entrepreneurial traits to start & 3 to succeed

The Empress, Victoria B.C.

Entrepreneurs are often described as impulsive, energetic, genius risk takers and charismatic leaders.  No doubt there have been quite a few of these personalities in business start ups throughout history.  But does that really help define the underlying traits of entrepreneurship?  I don’t think so!

When we think of entrepreneurs, we automatically think of successful entrepreneurs.  We tend not to associate the word ‘entrepreneur’ with failure or unsuccessful business people.

It is easy to laud successful entrepreneurs as heroes and visionaries.  It is just as easy to label unsuccessful entrepreneurs as egotistical losers.  To do so however, is to misconstrue the concept of entrepreneurship.

It is in a similar way that we misconstrue the concept of ‘risk’.  We focus only on the downside of risk – the risk of loss.  No one except trained finance boffins ever talks about upside risk or the risk of winning.  Yet risk is a positive and negative concept.

It is the same with entrepreneurship.  Some entrepreneurs are successful and some are unsuccessful.  And some try and fail many times before finally succeeding.

So merely exhibiting entrepreneurial traits is no guarantee of business success.  It merely defines the type of person most likely to get off their ass and give it a go.

So with that in mind, I have listed what I believe to be the 7 entrepreneurial traits required merely to give a business start up a go – with no guarantee of success:

  1. Uncomfortable working for others
  2. Enthusiasm and motivation to make it work
  3. An ethic of hard work
  4. Sees opportunity, not problems
  5. Can enlist others in their cause
  6. Has intuitive good judgment
  7. Can attract necessary knowledge and skill

Now here are the final three entrepreneurial traits that, in my experience, distinguish the successful from the unsuccessful:

  1. Has sharp awareness of own strengths and special skills; an honest recognition of own weaknesses plus an appreciation of what is lacking; doesn’t presume to know everything or do everything
  1. Takes much of the risk out of risky ventures by carefully matching products and services to consumer demand, by thorough business planning, by excellent team building and by adherence to sound business practices, particularly financial management
  1. Is doggedly persistent and not deterred by setbacks and failure; recognises that success is a journey, not an overnight outcome; always finds a way; has the ability to maintain a calm positive mind in the face of adversity; recognises that mind is everything; becomes creative to survive

Until next time!


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