Top Five Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

by Barbara Beauregard
9/10/2015 11:40:21 AM

People often think that the most successful entrepreneurs were born that way, imagining that they emerged fully-formed as the men and women who lead industry behemoths to greatness or change the world through their creativity and innovation. But the truth is that people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Richard Branson are mere mortals like the rest of us. The other factor that many potential entrepreneurs forget is that entrepreneurship, just like any other business-related skill, can be taught, learned and nurtured. It’s not always the most ambitious or aggressive individuals that emerge as entrepreneurs, who are indeed a rare breed. It may be the C-student who ends up being a multi-millionaire, and not the captain of the football team.

The other thing to realize is that entrepreneurs can emerge at any stage in life, and in any industry. There is no blueprint to create an entrepreneur but they do share some common characteristics. Here are some of the character traits shared by some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.

Self-Confidence

Believing in one’s self is a key behavioral characteristic shared by the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. These men and women are wildly sure that their product is something that the world needs, sometimes flying in the face of evidence, market research and even common sense. There is a degree to which the aura of confidence around some entrepreneurs—and the late Steve Jobs was very emblematic of this trait during his years forming Apple—actually gives them the ability to will a product into existence. Even when Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in 2007, naysayers balked but his confidence in the product and understanding of the market for it helped it change how people communicate to this day.

Tenacity

There is no better measure of a person’s character than discovering their reaction when they get repeatedly knocked down. Starting a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Successful entrepreneurs have to persist through uncertainty and face higher and higher obstacles, even if their business is only becoming more successful with time. When failure happens—and it famously does, over and over again—the entrepreneur has to start from scratch. But entrepreneurs who don’t have it within themselves to throw in the towel have a better chance of discovering their calling, unveiling the market they seek and outlasting their unavoidable mistakes.

Passion

There is a degree to which entrepreneurs can seem crazy. But there’s an underlying assumption by most non-entrepreneurs that successful entrepreneurs are purely driven by money. This is largely not true. The most successful entrepreneurs quickly reach a point where they have all the money they could ever spend. Richard Branson doesn’t need to go to the office every day, and Steve Jobs didn’t need to understand the minute details of the Bluetooth capabilities of the iPhone. But neither of them retired, really. Most entrepreneurs will relay the message that they are fueled by a passion for their product or service. What many are ultimately looking for is a way to solve the problem and make life easier, better, or cheaper for the people that consume their products. In short, they just want to change the world. If you have that kind of passion for creating positive change in the world, don’t waste it being a worker bee. To see the world and make it better is kind of the point of entrepreneurship, after all.

Vision

The simple fact of the matter is that successful entrepreneurs see what the rest of us don’t. They have the ability to spot an opportunity and imagine doing something that others haven’t or couldn’t dream up. Entrepreneurs have an inherent curiosity that identifies overlooked opportunities and that characteristic produces innovation in emerging fields. As a result, many of the most forward-thinking entrepreneurs are seen as futurists of a sort. Because they can envision a future that is different than our present, they often face harsh criticism because they have produced a picture of the future before it has even arrived. This does, however, put them several steps ahead of the market and often makes them acutely competitive against even the most aggressive rivals.

Rule-Breaking

By their very human nature, entrepreneurs live to defy conventional wisdom. This is why shiny scholarship students with 4.0 grade point averages generally don’t become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have a rare combination of street smarts and a predilection for aggressive, sometimes illicit risk-taking behavior: you can’t win if you don’t play. Simply starting a business in the first place defies conventional wisdom, as 87 percent of Americans never engage with the market on an entrepreneurial level. Doing what others won’t is the very nature of entrepreneurship.

Do you have some combination of these traits? Are you an entrepreneur at heart? The beauty of the business model is that there’s only one way to find out.

Additional Resources to Help Grow your Small Business

White Paper

How Mail Services Help Entrepreneurs Succeed

In today's mobile economy, digital entrepreneurs often work from varying locations. While this can help save money and increase agility, it comes with one big drawback:

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants Provide a Competitive Edge

Countless small business owners rely on remote assistants or offsite receptionists to help with critical organizational duties. While some are content to offload simple tasks to self-employed, stay-at-home support people, others demand more comprehensive services...NULL

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants & Remote Assistants: A Comparison

While the traditional virtual assistant is likely to work from home, an executive-level virtual assistant is part of a greater brick-and-mortar presence. This fundamental difference opens the door for extensive training opportunities that broaden the professional's support capabilities.

Read More >
White Paper

Overview of Virtual Offices, Executive Suites and Co-Working Spaces

Work has changed. In an age of instant communication, cloud-based applications, and workplace versatility, the era of the traditional office culture has come to an end. Providers of virtual offices, executive suites and co-working spaces have effectively liberated the nation’s work culture, adding dynamic and energizing new choices...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 1 of 4: Introducing the SBA

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, navigating the tricky terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a major challenge. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs and operators have access to one of the most effective resources in the worldwide market...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 2 of 4: Starting a Small Business

Navigating the complex terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs have access to one of the most effective resources in the world via the Small Business Administration (SBA).
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 3 of 4: Managing a Small Business

Congratulations! You have gotten your small business up and running. Now what? This part of our four-part series on leveraging the Small Business Administration to help you launch and manage a small business will focus on the operational aspects of running a business. Whether you need leadership strategies, day-to-day decision making skills
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 4 of 4: Marketing, Sales and Contracting

Understanding marketing and sales as well as the technical complexity of our Internet-driven society gives entrepreneurs a distinct advantage over the competition. This final segment of our four-part report will take a deeper dive into the logistics and philosophy of marketing and sales and their impact on your business success.
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

DIY Marketing Tools

If a business isn’t marketing, its potential customers are not finding it. Small to medium size businesses often struggle with spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing. New DIY marketing tools, however, have eliminated the need to spend astronomical amounts on online and traditional marketing. These tools
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office for Legal Professionals

Law firms (large and small) and solo legal practitioners alike can use virtual office services and spaces to run their entire legal operations or as a supplement to a home office or traditional brick-and-mortar offices. Virtual office services can be particularly useful during trial preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Finance & Tax Professionals

Finance and tax professionals, whether they work solo or as part of a larger firm, can use virtual office spaces and services to stay on top of their workloads, especially during the busy tax season. Professional virtual office spaces can be particularly useful when back-to-back client meetings are necessary...

Read More >
White Paper

Traveling Entrepreneur

As business people and entrepreneurs continually strive to grow their business, doing so frequently involves traveling around the country to attend networking or tradeshow events, meeting clients and prospects on their own turf, and getting some face-time with colleagues, contractors or employees who may operate in a remote location. Preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office Eguide

Have you ever wondered why some small businesses are successful and others are not and what do these successful companies do to gain an edge over their competition? Through our years of experience
... Click to read more

Read More >