3 Characteristics that make great Entrepreneurs

I recently attended a panel discussion in Birmingham where the discussion topic was ‘What makes a good Entrepreneur’.

This is a subject area that really interests me as I firmly believe that Entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the future of our world. With many of the traditional jobs we do today under threat of automation or artificial intelligence, Entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly popular career choice. As more people turn to Self Employment as a career, I wanted to share back 3 things that can make you a good Entrepreneur. Ignoring the specific skills needed to a specific job, there are general characteristics that you can train yourself in.

We should not limit the label of Entrepreneurs to the Elon Musks or Alan Sugars of this world. This happens at all levels, in terms of age and monetary value. I believe that it is not the size of the Enterprise, but the action of Enterprise, which makes the person Entrepreneurial.

Characteristic 1: It is not the size of the action, but the action of that makes it Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship comes from the decision to search something different, new or bigger than you currently have. It is the pursuit of a goal or reward, which would not otherwise some to you. You will invest your resource (time, money etc.) in order to get something. The reward being sought is often Profit, which is an excess of money after investment.

If we consider many of the migrants who have moved to the UK over the last 40 years, for them having a job may not have been an option due to a lack of skills or experience. They invested their own time and money, took risks and showed their Entrepreneurial spirit. The gamble or risk taken is an important aspect here, just working harder, is not being Entrepreneurial.

Characteristic 2: You must be willing to take a risk, to achieve a goal.

My own journey started off when I was 12 and the school tuck shop closed down, I started bringing bags of sweets and Panda Pop bottles to sell at a small profit. I may have only been making 10p on each item, but I was showing Entrepreneurship. When I started off, I lost money buying things that didn’t sell, but when I got it right I started making a profit.

I see many start-up Entrepreneurs who work a day job and then work evenings and weekends to get their start-up off the ground. You do not have to the Business Owner to be Entrepreneurial, you often see Senior Manager and employees who see opportunities and take the risk. They are risking and investing their time or allocated budget – all things that we would expect an Entrepreneur to do.

My third point is being self aware. Good Entrepreneurs understand themselves and their business. They are focussed on their goals and keep going, but also sensible enough to realise when the product they are selling is not a lame horse, but a dead horse.

Characteristic 3: Being Self-Aware

I have seen people fail, because they were not able to understand where they were going wrong, or too proud to accept they needed to rethink.

Motivational speakers will often tell you success will come if you work more hours. I don’t agree – just doing more of the same is likely to get you more of the same results. Changing your mind is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of intelligence and you should be prepared to accept your mistakes and learn from them.

I will always say, Entrepreneurs can be made, don’t worry if you were not born with it. If you want to go into business for yourself but feel you don’t have the skills, then you can partner up, employ people or even go on a course to get the skills you feel you are missing.

Naeem is a Co-Author of the Amazon Best Seller ‘Fit For Purpose Leadership #3: 15 high performing leaders share their highest-value thinking and advice on business leadership’ – click HERE for a link to the book.

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