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Seven Characteristics of a True Entrepreneur

Via LinkedIn : Here is a wonderful quote that defines the true essence of being an entrepreneur, “It seems to be in the blood, that quality to run with a dream. Also essential: A love of risk and a high tolerance for ambiguity.” Source (Page 3) Small Business Trends and Entrepreneurship: How Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping the Economy and What You Can Learn From Them by The Editors of Business Week (1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc.)

Entrepreneurs have been described in the following ways:

  • High risk takers;
  • Innovators and inventors;
  • Individuals who want to be their own boss; and
  • Individuals who love to think and live outside of the box.

Entrepreneurs have many characteristics that enable them to start their own business and be successful at it.

Here are seven basic characteristics of a “true entrepreneur”:

Characteristic One: A true entrepreneur has no choice but to start their own business because they were unable to find employment or had been fired from a job.

“You may have had difficulty in getting a job that you really didn’t want but had to accept to support your family or yourself. And in getting this dissatisfying position, you may have been rejected many times. You were told you were too young or too old, lacked an education or had too much education, had the wrong kind of education, didn’t have the experience or had too much experience. All the time, you knew that you could not only do the job but also do it better than most others. Or maybe you have a passion for a certain kind of work, but the requirements of your current position are such that you just don’t have the opportunity to concentrate on the work that you really love.” Source (Page 1) The Entrepreneur & Small Business Problem Solver by William A. Cohen (2006 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

Characteristic Two: A true entrepreneur will “keep their eyes open” when starting and running their own business. They understand the risks and setbacks that come along with running your own business.

Many entrepreneurs will prepare themselves for the setbacks that come with starting your own business. The entrepreneur will ensure that they have the start-up funds for the new business. The entrepreneur will also ensure to have enough income to cover at least 6 months of living expenses. They will also ensure that their small business has the right “dream team” including an attorney, insurance agent, accountant, bookkeeper, banker, mentor, and business coach. A true entrepreneur understands the challenges they will face running their own business and understand that they will be alone in this venture with little support.

Characteristic Three: A true entrepreneur does not start their own business for the money, but to give something back to society and to add value to others lives.

Many entrepreneurs will see opportunities for a new business where others do not see it. They will notice issues and problems that need fixing and will try to find a solution to that issue or problem. A true entrepreneur will find a problem, figure out a way to fix that problem, and how they can offer the solution to the general public. Entrepreneurs will do the following, “combine innovation, entrepreneurship, and social purpose and seek to be financially sustainable by generating revenue from trading.” Source (Page 5) Social Entrepreneurship: A Modern Approach to Social Value Creation by Arthur C. Brooks (2009, Pearson Prentice Hall).

Characteristic Four: A true entrepreneur is very passionate about their business and very optimistic at the same time.

Many entrepreneurs find the passion and the enjoyment in running their own business. They will love what they do and have no problem with working hard to ensure that their small business is a success. A true entrepreneur defines success on their own terms and not based on how others define true success. “It is often said that entrepreneurs tend to be blind optimists, but that’s too simple a formulation. More likely, they believe in what they’re doing with a passion that overcomes doubt- a passion that allows them to” overcome their fears and apprehension of starting their own business. Source (Page 8) Small Business Trends and Entrepreneurship: How Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping the Economy and What You Can Learn From Them by The Editors of Business Week (1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc.)

Characteristic Five: A true entrepreneur has no problem with starting from stretch or trying out new ideas to generate revenue for their business.

Many entrepreneurs understand the importance of staying current with their products and services. Some entrepreneurs understand that sometimes you will have to stop selling a product because of low sales or the product may be obsolete. A true entrepreneur understands the importance of always strategizing and thinking of new ways to sell their products and services to reach their ideal customers. Entrepreneurs understand the importance of keeping their customers in mind when coming up with new products or new services to sell. Many entrepreneurs are good at strategizing on new market techniques to sell their products or services to their ideal customers. Also, the entrepreneur understands the importance of implementing those new marketing techniques into their everyday business activities.

Characteristic Six: A true entrepreneur has the ability to overhaul a current business industry or create a new business industry.

“Entrepreneurs can overhaul an existing industry or build a new one. Back in the early 1980s, a few upstarts such as Apple Computer Inc. and Osborne Computer Co. believed they could put a PC in every home and office in America. At the time, they were ridiculed by the mainframe makers who dominated the industry.” Source (Page 14) Small Business Trends and Entrepreneurship: How Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping the Economy and What You Can Learn From Them by The Editors of Business Week (1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc.) Now, Apple is number one in the making of computers, with their Mac Computers, and they are now popular in the mobile phone industry with their iPhone.

Characteristic Seven: A true entrepreneur has self-confidence, very motivated, a strong sense of reality, and action oriented.

You have to have much confidence within yourself to be able to start your own business and cannot be afraid of failure. Many entrepreneurs will state that they started their own business because they saw a need that was not being fulfilled and took action to ensure that need was being met. Many entrepreneurs are motivated by drive and ambition to be the best that they can be no matter their circumstances. A true entrepreneur understands that their business may not be a success in the beginning or may even be a failure, but they will try to go for it anyhow.

The most important characteristic of a “true entrepreneur” is that they are not afraid to start their own business and give something of value to society.

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience. Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author. She has a few books in the works that will be published and released in the latter part of 2015. The books will focus on entrepreneurship, small business, and daily devotionals. She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC: Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Donya Zimmerman has made article contributions to the Simply Inspirational Women in Business Journal for 2014 published by Dr. Cheryl Cottle.

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