Entrepreneurship is the process of taking a thought, idea or concept and transforming it into a tangible reality. It’s often tied to a business idea in order to generate profit. Being an entrepreneur, however, requires far more than just big ideas.
Not everyone makes the cut and most fail because starting, growing and scaling a venture takes hard work and a particularly exclusive set of characteristics – which when combined, allows successful entrepreneurs to beat the odds.
These are the characteristics of which entrepreneurs need to possess in abundance to be successful.
1. Personable and persuasive
One of the most important aspects of building a business is to gain buy-in from those around you on your big idea. For many entrepreneurs, the first people they need to persuade are investors. Seed investment is often used to transform an idea into a functioning prototype to be brought into the market. This costs money and access to money takes more than a good idea alone.
Seed funding can come from multiple sources of equity, from angel investors, venture capitalists and banks, to crowdfunding, friends and family- all of which demand a certain level of persuasion. Seed funding and beyond takes a continuous effort of demonstrating your value and meeting expectations.
Once the investor is on-bored with the business idea, they soon turn their attention to the entrepreneur themselves. They expect to find certain characteristics within the people they invest in- and it’s the entrepreneur’s job to persuade them that they fit the cut.
If investors wish to give their money to hard-working, realistic and motivated founders; entrepreneurs should use their personable, communication and presentation skills to demonstrate strength in themselves and their idea.
The very premise of entrepreneurship is the movement away from fulfilling a role within an organisation to contribute towards the business goals of someone else. The entrepreneurial world is all about self-starting, self-motivation and self-leadership.
Arguably the most important traits of a successful entrepreneur is self-motivation. In the absence of there being anyone else to answer to; you must answer to yourself, push yourself and keep moving forward- even when the paychecks aren’t immediately rolling in.
3. Understanding of risk
Entrepreneurs know that sometimes it’s important to take risks. Successful entrepreneurs inherently want to take risks. Not in the reckless sense, but they have an acute appreciation for the balance between risk and reward.
Risk is still a risk nonetheless and it’s less about jumping into any business venture without consideration for your losses. Understanding calculated risks that are most likely to pay off, and to have a plan for the unknown, is an important part of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
It’s difficult to imagine an entrepreneur becoming successful without some serious degree of passion in their business. Regardless of what drives the passion- be it money, the product itself, or the social impact of their business, an entrepreneur must be driven by their passion.
Entrepreneurs who convey passion are more persuasive and have more social capital. As a result, they’re better equipped to drive growth and stimulate sales than their not-so-passionate entrepreneurial counterparts.
Ultimately, without passion, there’s no reason for your work and no drive to do it. It’s the chief driver of successful entrepreneurship around the world and helps to drive actions forward. As all entrepreneurs come to face a series of challenges, it’s passionate energy that helps surpass them and injects strength to continue pursuing goals when difficulties arise.
You’ll never be short of opportunities and reasons to quit as an entrepreneur. Starting, growing and owning a business will expose you to countless challenges and obstacles with the strength to destroy all you’ve worked for- if you let it.
Tenacious entrepreneurs will exhaust every conceivable method to overcome each challenge as they arise. A good entrepreneur will understand that overcoming challenges will make them stronger, and remaining tenacious in the face of overwhelming odds puts them in a stronger position going forward.
Being resourceful as an entrepreneur is a fundamental characteristic that allows a founder to create solutions with limited resources. Many people think of resourcefulness in terms of money, time and energy. Rather, it’s obtained through strength in mental, physical and emotional health.
The ability to create, innovate and solve problems with limited resources is possible through open-mindedness, self-assurance and persistence. Resourceful entrepreneurs will never be found in a state of procrastination. Rather, they wholeheartedly use what they have, play their hand and take their shot to make the most of all opportunities.
Knowing how to network is part and parcel of becoming a successful entrepreneur. We’ve all heard it- it’s who you know. Being able to connect with others on a professional level and recognise partnership opportunities is key to long term success.
Figure out where to go for networking events by staying up to date in your market and putting yourself out there. Once you’re there, consider brushing up on your industry knowledge and make a point to be the most approachable person in the room with something to offer- whether that’s your new product or service, a business opportunity, or merely just a coffee and a chat. Build rapport with the people around you.
Withholding the secret ingredient of your product’s recipe – both in food and metaphorical terms- can sometimes be necessary. But communication across most industries is imperative, especially for entrepreneurs breaking into the market.
Constant, strong and effective communication with investors, clients, suppliers, manufacturers, prospects and the news media, can be challenging for any single person. That’s what sets a good entrepreneur apart from the rest.
Certainly an important one- having the ability to make decisions fast is a must-have for all entrepreneurs. Uncertainty is a killer of confidence and motivation and spurs anxiety and mistrust amongst stakeholders.
Leadership, as embedded in entrepreneurship, requires swift decision making. To be accepted and respected as a leader, an entrepreneur will have to make tough decisions with conviction- and lots of them. In fact, most days an entrepreneur can expect to make business-changing decisions which cannot be postponed. An inability to make decisions quickly can cause delays in business growth and may contribute to the demise of the venture.
Starting out, many entrepreneurs quickly come to realise that having a good idea, being business-minded, having money in their pocket and being people-person, simply isn’t enough.
Chances are, many entrepreneurs start out alone, or in a very small team. With so much to be done, a good entrepreneur will be able to dip their toes into everything and exercise versatility across the board.
In other words, successful entrepreneurs will be able to double up as a marketing manager, financial adviser, accountant, overseer of production, sales manager, recruitment specialist and PR professional.
As we know, being an entrepreneur requires more than mere ideas. Even with infinite money in your back pocket, you’ll still need to possess a combination of these characteristics to beat the odds and build a successful venture.