Wednesday, January 4, 2012

8 Key Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? 
Why do some people succeed in business while others fail? 

1. Discipline
Being disciplined is perhaps the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur. Discipline in character is essential, yet financial discipline is equally important. Business is about money; and cash-flow is like blood to any business. Without cash, a business will fail. History has shown many times that lack of financial discipline or bad financial decisions are the triggering factors for the failure of most businesses. 

2. Risk Taker
Many entrepreneurs are risk takers as well. They take calculated risks in their business dealings. They are not afraid to try new products, new markets, new business relationships and new strategies. However, if one can receive the rewards and at the same time avoid certain risks by learning from others mistakes or their errors in assessing risks, then there’s no reason why the entrepreneur should take every risk even though he’s a risk taker by default. 

3. Spirit To Excel
All entrepreneurs have the spirit to excel. This is because a successful business isn’t built in one day. It is a long road and one needs to persevere until one achieves success. Entrepreneurs will keep working until the business is successful. 

4. Burning Desire
Entrepreneurs have a burning desire within them. This desire usually needs to be met, an itch that demands scratching attention, this is the desire the propels them forward and drives them to pursue their dreams. Setbacks are always unexpected and entrepreneurs need the desire and passion to pull them through these times. Failure in the absence of this burning desire will become a permanent humongous roadblock. Yet, to an entrepreneur, whose desire burns strong, failure is merely  a stepping stone towards success, a learning experience, and a test of entrepreneurial discipline. 

5. Communication Skills
Successful entrepreneurs do not work alone; and being an entrepreneur in a way is also about managing people. Employees need to be managed; costumers confidence must be gained; negotiations with suppliers and lenders are inevitable;  and vision needs to be communicated to investors. Hence, effective communication skills and interpersonal skills are very important to the entrepreneur

6. Smart Hard-work
Entrepreneurs are hardworking people. They are usually hands-on and have detailed knowledge of the industry they are in. An entrepreneur should expect to work hard, especially at the initial start-up phases, beyond that the challenge for the entrepreneur is to figure out how this hard work can translate into smart work down along the road.    

7. Creative Problem Solver
Contrary to popular belief, an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily need to be creative or have an original idea, but creativity and imagination in solving problems are part of what defines an entrepreneur. Yet, There are many entrepreneurs who succeeded by copying other successful entrepreneurs. All they do is do it better and/or smarter than the rest of the entrepreneurs. They provide better customer service, source for better quality product, better pricing and so on. In either case, creative problem solving is an essential entrepreneurial skill.

8. Imagination
Entrepreneurship starts and is sustained through imagination. Imagination helps form the idea, imagination develops idea into a possible concept, imagination explores methods of implementation, imagination improves process when it answers how we can make the product or service better, and imagination fuels entrepreneurial creativity in lowering costs and stretching budgets when funds are next to or non-existent.

In summary the characteristics listed above are the common characteristics found in entrepreneurs. Even when a person lacks one or more of the characteristics listed above, he could still succeed if there are other factors working in his/her favor.

What other characteristics you find to be a core entrepreneurial trait? Please do share your thoughts and post your comments below.

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