Have you ever met someone and immediately known, on an instinctual level, that this person is a successful entrepreneur? Something in their poise, their tone, or their confidence just delivered the message that this person knows how to run a business. No matter how humble they may be, or how informal the situation, there seem to be a variety of qualities and characteristics that a successful entrepreneur embodies.
In this blog, we’ve reviewed plenty of books from successful businessmen and women, explaining their method for creating a business, establishing a business plan, and remaining positive and motivated no matter what. The principles shared in these texts can be incredibly helpful for planning and creating. But they can’t tell you how to be an entrepreneur.
While it’s true that anyone can run a business with the right training, there are a few essential personality traits and qualities that successful entrepreneurs share.
What do we mean by “Personality Traits” and “Qualities?”
Personality traits are hard to define, but typically include how a person acts and reacts in a variety of situations. What makes and drives someone’s personality is a deep philosophical, psychological, and sociological dilemma that the scientific community has pondered upon since the dawn of time (or so it seems). But in this case, personality traits are those characteristics of someone that just come naturally to them.
When we talk about “qualities” of an entrepreneur, we mean the characteristics that help drive someone to want to run a business. You’ve probably heard someone say, “she’s fantastic at her profession, but terrible as a businesswoman”, or “he’s got the mind of an entrepreneur, but lacks skill”. Being talented, having an impressive skill set, and having the qualities of an entrepreneur aren’t the same thing.
Talent, most experts will agree, is a natural aptitude for a task. Talent is the reason some people are professional athletes, actors, and musicians, while the rest of us buy tickets for games, movies, and concerts.
A skill, on the other hand, is something you can learn. Talent, combined with skills, is a powerful combination for finding a career. Someone with a naturally steady hand and the ability to memorize large quantities of information may go to school to learn the skills to become a surgeon.
Qualities, on the other hand, can be learned, but are largely adaptations of the personality traits and characteristics you were born with. Some people are born leaders, while others have the capability to lead when necessary. Some people are extremely creative, while others can learn to think beyond the obvious.
On the other hand, those lacking a quality may not be able to pick up on it. Some people simply cannot be leaders. Some people are not creative. This seems to show that there’s interaction between talent and personality traits, as far as what is innate, and what is learned.
What Are the Essential Personality Traits and Qualities of an Entrepreneur?
While there’s no definitive checklist of requirements, studying some of the most successful people throughout history can tell us a lot about what it takes to make it to the top. Running a business requires being able to navigate through a variety of situations and surprises well, and while you can continue your business education your entire life, there are a few personality traits and qualities that come effortlessly to many entrepreneurs.
We’ve often talked about how a business thrives on creating a solution for a problem. Anyone can see a problem, but it takes a truly creative person to come up with an idea that solves that problem. And it takes next level creativity to make that solution a reality. An entrepreneur is endlessly creative, looking not just for the obvious next step, but for the right next step.
To be successful in business, you have to not only have the skills needed to weigh your options in terms of investment, income, and capability, but you need to be able to figure out how to make them work with the tools you have. That requires a high degree of creativity.
A true entrepreneur doesn’t just want his or her business to succeed: they will make sure it succeeds. Not only does a business owner need to know what to do, they need to be able to enact plans with confidence and full attention. A true entrepreneur has a certain dedication to their business that goes beyond making lots of sales, and transforms their creative idea into a long-term, viable solution.
Motivation and Discipline
Some people are naturally motivated, and others are inherently disciplined. An entrepreneur who is really successful, is both. They channel that creativity and passion into long hours of intense work, doing the research that’s needed, making the changes that are required, and finding new ways to appeal to customers.
At the same time, they don’t go all-in on unproven ideas. They’ll test the waters. They’ll run demos and limited offers. That passion is tempered with discipline, which allows them to channel income intelligently and focus on the greater overall success of the business, rather than reaping the benefit of every extra dollar that comes in.
Persuasiveness and Confidence
Some may argue that these are simply communication skills, but being able to communicate with anyone in a way that they can buy into your idea and be willing to listen further is a very difficult lesson to learn. Whether born or learned, a successful entrepreneur must be able to communicate in a way that even the most skeptical person is willing to hear them out. Additionally, their words and actions need to demonstrate that they believe in themselves.
Flexibility and Resourcefulness
When starting a business, all of the tools and pieces you need exist, but you are the force that puts them all together. Therefore, an entrepreneur needs to be able to navigate through a seemingly endless minefield of potential failure, and find what he or she needs to have in hand at that moment to gain success.
While you might need a very specific tool, having the right amount of flexibility means you can work around that need temporarily. Resourcefulness can help you turn what you do have into a possible short term solution while you strive to create or source the tools needed for long term victory.
What about You?
Many of us already have the essential personality traits and qualities of an entrepreneur. In fact, these characteristics might be lying dormant. As you read through this list, you might find yourself feeling inspired.
With the right set of personality traits and qualities, paired with your natural talent for understanding business opportunities, topped with all the skills you’ve picked up through your quest for small business success, you’ve got the ultimate recipe for becoming a top-notch entrepreneur.