The word “entrepreneur” conjures images of visionaries and rare greatness. Yet successful entrepreneurs often start out just like many business owners. They have big dreams and expectations and opt to create their own businesses so they can work for themselves. But what exactly makes up the DNA of a great entrepreneur?
Individuals with the entrepreneurial spirit are not born with all the characteristics most entrepreneurs share. They work hard to develop their skills and grow into leaders capable of successfully running their own business.
Here are 10 characteristics that individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit share.
One of the key traits you’ll find in all business owners and startup founders is determination. Building a business requires extensive planning and self-motivation. Whether you’re creating a new product, toying with a digital concept, or trying to build out a team of like-minded individuals, you’ll need willpower to continue pushing yourself forward.
Getting started can be difficult, but a true entrepreneur will have the grit and determination to continue even when progress is slow. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’ll see your business ventures through and won’t give up when hard work is required.
2. Willingness to take risks
Entrepreneurs don’t play it safe. If you want to shake up the field you’re breaking into, you’ll need to take some risks. Of course, entrepreneurs aren’t interested in taking unnecessary risks. Instead, they take calculated risks based on business metrics and carefully prepare for their next move.
The point is that entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to make risky moves and decisions if they think it will put their brand on the playing field or increase sales. When an entrepreneur believes in a vision, they won’t roll out their company the same way the competition has -- they’ll look for new ways to catch customers’ attention.
When you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you aren’t interested in getting things done a particular way simply because that’s how it’s always been done. Entrepreneurs are resourceful and will use all tools at their disposal to cut costs, break into the marketplace, and improve efficiency. They know how to do more with less, boost productivity, and think outside the box to get the job done.
This also means that when business decisions aren’t successful, entrepreneurs can recover quickly. Being resourceful allows you to think quickly and find creative solutions to problems that others might overlook.
There’s no room for cynicism when you’re bringing your business vision to life. Optimism won’t replace hard work and dedication, but it is important to remain positive and upbeat about your dream. There are bound to be a few roadblocks along the way to success, and maintaining a positive attitude helps entrepreneurs retain their commitment to their business goals.
Optimism is also infectious and trickles down not only to an entrepreneur’s employees but also to their customers and partners.
Entrepreneurs are dreamers at heart and see all problems as opportunities rather than obstacles. They don’t feel stuck or limited about what they can’t do -- they consider everything they can do.
One brilliant idea is not enough to make it as a business leader. Instead, entrepreneurs must be continually innovating and thinking of new ways to grow, expand, and improve. They’re always thinking, always coming up with new ideas and options, and aren’t afraid of tossing out a few unrealistic concepts while brainstorming.
Truly effective entrepreneurs also create a culture of innovation within their companies. They’ll inspire employees to pitch ideas that are exciting and new and challenge the company as a whole to constantly think about, “What if?”
6. Constant evolution
In order to make it as an entrepreneur and stay in the game as the world changes, you have to be willing to evolve. Entrepreneurs won’t get stuck in one way of doing things. They’ll continuously be considering new ways to run their business and seeking ideas and advice from their professional counterparts and employees.
Anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset knows how important it is to create a solid business plan while remaining flexible and adaptable. The most successful companies are those that don’t try to fight the way the workplace and industry evolve over time, but they instead embrace and even anticipate this evolution.
Successful entrepreneurs have strong leadership skills. This doesn’t mean entrepreneurs are always outgoing or comfortable in social situations, but they’ll make sure they polish their selling techniques and presenting skills so they can market themselves confidently.
This attention to leadership can also be found in how entrepreneurs sell their brands to customers. Not every entrepreneur is born a good salesman, but they’ll work hard to develop this skillset and set an example for both their sales teams and other employees.
Strong leadership also requires mentoring employees and helping them grow. Entrepreneurs love sharing their knowledge and fostering growth in others.
When you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’ll find yourself constantly curious about your industry, changes being made, what your competitors are doing, and how advances in other industries might apply to your own.
Entrepreneurs love to learn and take in information from books, workshops, digital publications, and even word of mouth. Not only do they relish indulging their curiosity, but they love sharing this information with anyone willing to listen.
9. The need to disrupt
I’ve already mentioned that entrepreneurs aren’t ones to play it safe. In fact, individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset like to be disruptive. They consider what might be most impactful for their industry and aren’t afraid to stir up controversy. They focus on innovation that can change the way our lives function.
Consider Netflix as an example. In the early 2000s, it would have been unimaginable for most households to consider cutting ties with cable companies. Yet, because of a disruptive vision starting with the founder of Netflix, nearly one-third of households are expected to drop cable subscriptions by 2024.
Entrepreneurs want to revolutionize, and revolutions require innovative thinking.
10. Fear of failure
While entrepreneurs have a positive outlook, belief in their dreams, and the confidence to see them through, they’re still realists. They have a healthy fear of failure and understand that not all business ventures will be successful. In fact, many top entrepreneurs have failed at a previous project. What sets good entrepreneurs apart from their competitors is their ability to learn from these failures and continue on despite setbacks.
Entrepreneurs with thriving companies also have a fear of financial failure, which is why they typically remain active in their business long after succeeding. They hold themselves accountable and strive to make sure their employees don’t have to worry about losing their jobs or salaries.
Entrepreneurs will work harder than most to make sure their company succeeds. They aren’t interested in coming up with one big idea and then exiting gracefully.
Above all, entrepreneurs are doers
Developing the most commonly spotted characteristics of an entrepreneur requires hard work and constant commitment to growth. However, to really make it as an entrepreneur, you have to execute your plans. True entrepreneurs know that ideas and dreams are only meaningful once you’ve acted on them. Entrepreneurs are doers -- they’re always active and ready to go and build teams that get things done.
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