Defining the Entrepreneur

Who are good entrepreneurs?  Are there different personality traits in entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs?  The topic has been researched, studied and debated. 

The importance of entrepreneurship increased since the discovery by economists that small firms contribute considerably to economic growth and vitality. Moreover, many people have chosen entrepreneurial careers because doing so seems to offer greater economic and psychological rewards.

However, despite all of the attention paid to this issue, there seems to be no absolute answer.  Do certain personality traits inherently make better entrepreneurs?  The following list includes five traits that successful entrepreneurs have had in common.

It should be noted that the following traits do not guarantee entrepreneurial success.  Also, entrepreneurs must change as their businesses change.  The same set of traits that helped the entrepreneur get started may not be enough to help the entrepreneur grow the business.

Risk-taking   

Entrepreneurship is a gamble, sometimes based on strong numbers and other times based on hunches.  Either way, entrepreneurs are betting that their new product or new way of doing business will part customers from their wallets.  In the biggest risk of all, most successful entrepreneurs leave secure jobs and paychecks to strike out on their own.  It can be one of the most courageous acts of all.

Committed

Entrepreneurs believe in what they are doing one hundred percent.  That is why they are able to work twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week.  These men and women believe so strongly in what they are accomplishing, that often the achievement is through their own sweat.  This single-mindedness is an important part of reaching their goals.

Visionary

If you ask most successful entrepreneurs, the money that was made in their business was almost secondary.  They had a vision of what could be accomplished, what their business could be, and that was the most important incentive for going forward.

Confident

A strong sense of self-confidence helps entrepreneurs sail through dangerous territory.  It also helps them continue when things are at their bleakest.  This almost egotistical belief in themselves provides a strong foundation to keep moving forward, in the face of any odds.

Leadership

Not every good leader is an entrepreneur, but every good entrepreneur is a good leader.  Entrepreneurship includes having the authority and influence over employees and customers.  Knowing how to work with all of types of people and earning their respect is a cornerstone of successful entrepreneurs.

If you believe that you have some of these traits and would like to take that first step to entrepreneurship, visit our www.uwgb.edu/sbdc to find the resources and programs available to help you get started.  WriteNow Business Plans is our online, self-paced business plan writing course and is currently accepting new participants.

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