What makes a successful entrepreneur? For starters, most famous entrepreneurs make their own luck. While talking with Simon Cowell about how he became so successful, Oprah Winfrey, herself a successful and innovative celebrity entrepreneur, said “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity”.
Knowing that you won’t be the next Bill Gates or James Dyson on luck alone, the next question is –
what is an entrepreneur? Webster’s Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “one who organises, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”
And what are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur? There is a plethora of ideas about what skills and abilities you need to make your business work, including being creative, being able to describe situations with numbers, and even being “an OCD sufferer with an obsession towards something profitable” (Steve Fowle.) But let‘s keep things simple – setting aside making your own luck, the common traits needed for becoming an entrepreneur include:
Entrepreneurs find their need for status is met through achievement rather than how big their house is or how many holidays they take each year. They believe in trying things out, following their ideas, and their self-belief builds through their experiences. They are also able to deal with things not going to plan and can assume responsibility for their own failures and successes.
A successful entrepreneur who feels in control of the situation will be persistent in the pursuit of their goals. Confidence is bred from a positive attitude towards a challenge.
Determination and Persistence
We’ve all read the stories of successful entrepreneurs showing they never give up. But they also get going, they don’t sit around, rather they have a sense of urgency to get up and do something…
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
– Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s
Desire for Challenge
This entrepreneurial characteristic is about grabbing opportunities.
“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”
– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries
Although most people think entrepreneurs are huge risk-takers, invariably they have assessed the situation and they are taking on the challenge not just the outright risk. They are alert to the entrepreneur opportunity.
Good entrepreneurs lead. They assume responsibility, direct and organise. As they need to be creative while they are doing this, their objective is not to wield power, but to drive forward.
This is the balancing act, the juggling characteristic of the entrepreneur. The bit that helps the serious entrepreneur to identify the relationship between parts and the whole, the bit that helps them conceptualise order, be a successful leader, set goals and make the right choices.
Without this there is no successful entrepreneur……
“Vision without action is daydreaming and action without vision is a nightmare”.