What kind of person becomes an entrepreneur? What characteristics must a successful entrepreneur have? Whether people are born with some of these traits or learn them is a topic for a good debate, but what we do know from numerous studies is that successful entrepreneurs tend to have several important personality characteristics in common.
Entrepreneurs are often strong individualists, optimistic and resourceful, and they usually have a high degree of problem-solving ability. They also tend to be persistent, self-confident, self-reliant, versatile, resourceful and have a strong desire to achieve. Additional traits include being objective, realistic, open to change, and looking for and creating opportunities.
Here are some other common traits of an entrepreneur:
Strong goal orientation.
Ability to set clear goals that are challenging but attainable; ability to continually re-evaluate and adjust goals to make sure they are consistent with one’s interests, talents, and values as well as personal or business needs. Rather than being content with reaching goals, successful entrepreneurs continue setting new goals to challenge themselves.
Ability to withstand business reversals without quitting
Though perhaps disappointed, not discouraged by failure; ability to use failures as learning experiences, so that similar problems can be avoided in the future; attitude that setbacks are only temporary barriers to goals; strong capacity to build on successes.
Willingness to accept calculated risks
Ability to identify risks and weigh their relative dangers; preference for taking calculated risks to achieve goals that are high but realistic. This is contrary to the stereotype that entrepreneurs are gamblers or high-risk-takers, the risks involved are often moderate due to the amount of planning behind them.
Strong desire for independence
Genuine desire to be one’s own boss, free from external direction and control; sincere willingness and proven ability to be self-disciplined in sometimes isolated working conditions; ability to organize activities to reach personal goals. Successful entrepreneurs are not usually joiners by nature. They often join only to network: to make business contacts, further their ventures, or obtain useful information to solve problems.
Ability to handle uncertainty well
An entrepreneur must have an ability to live with the uncertainty of job security. He or she must face many crises, take risks, and allow for temporary failures without panic. Successful entrepreneurs accept uncertainty as an integral part of being in business.
Ability to apply ideas in creative ways
Strong desire to originate an idea or product, to develop something new, to be innovative, to make something happen, to imprint personality, dreams, and ideas on a concept in a unique and different way; powers of both observation and imagination to foresee possible market ideas.
Sense of purpose
A feeling of mission must motivate the person to go into business; the activity must have meaning. The mission may be to make an attractive profit, to sell some necessary and unique product or service, or to develop ideas or skills without the constraints of others’ expectations.