Monthly Archives: December 2010

What it Takes to be a Successful Entrepreneur

Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Are we all born with the innate ability to be a successful entrepreneur or does entrepreneurial success only belong to those with certain inherent gifts?

While there is no need to re-hash the classic debate on nature vs. nurture I would submit that while certain people may be more predisposed to having entrepreneurial success due to personality, character, life experiences, etc. there are some things that anyone and everyone can do to increase the likelihood of finding success as an entrepreneur.

Here are some of the things that I came up with and please do chime in via the comments below on anything that you would like to add to (or remove from) the list:

#1 A Willingness to Learn

A willingness to learn might even better be termed as a “hunger for learning” because let’s face it – if you start your own business then even if you have a board of advisors (which most small businesses do not have anyway) there will be a lot of things that you will just have to learn on your own. There is no calling your boss for instructions on how to complete a certain task or accomplish a certain goal because YOU are the boss! If you don’t have a healthy appetite for just figuring certain things out as you go along and a willingness to constantly be learning new things then you will likely struggle as an entrepreneur.

#2 A Proper View of Risk

Note that I specifically did not title this “A Love of Risk” or something that maybe is stereotypical when non entrepreneurs describe entrepreneurs. I am of the opinion that, when done a certain way, entrepreneurship is actually less risky then employment. There are many risks inherent to starting a business but there are also many risks inherent in NOT starting a business and relying on an employer for your livelihood.

Regardless, an entrepreneur does deal with different kinds of risk on a daily basis and a cool head, smart decision making skills, and long term planning chops are all positive characteristics of an entrepreneur.

A successful entrepreneur usually has a firm grasp of both personal and business financial principles. Many entrepreneurs, with otherwise great talent and business acumen, have cut short their chance at making their company a success by rushing out to get a business credit card or bank line of credit, not developing a budget, and spending a ton of money on non-essentials; rather than focusing on keeping costs low and growing their business.

#3 A Vision for the Future

While it is perfectly acceptable (and quite common) for most employees to simply plod along and complete their daily tasks without so much as a thought for the day following, this kind of attitude in an entrepreneur often has disastrous consequences. A successful entrepreneur is usually quite adroit at seeing the big picture and focusing on the organization as a whole rather than simply the day to day operations of what the business does. “The E-Myth Revisited” is the classic book that delves deeply into the closely related concept that a successful entrepreneur spends the majority of their time working on their business rather than in their business.

What Other Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur Would YOU Add?

Are successful entrepreneurs born or made?

What are some additional qualities that you would say are key to being a successful entrepreneur?

How are the qualities important for entrepreneurial success different than say, becoming a successful attorney, accountant, etc?

Author Bio: Joel Ohman is a Certified Financial Planner™ and serial entrepreneur. He is the founder of a number of different financial websites for helping consumers learn about health insurance, car insurance, and other financial topics. He is a first time writer at Saying What You Mean.

Joel Ohman, Guest Blogger

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