Do You Possess the Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur?

Have you ever thought about jumping off the corporate hamster wheel to strike out on your own? Admittedly, the thought of being your own boss can be quite tempting. But the fact is, owning a business isn’t the right choice for everyone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to possess—or cultivate—certain attributes.

Here’s a list of character traits that many thriving entrepreneurs have in common:

A Steadfast Motivation – Do you have a desire to take charge of your financial future and start your own business? According to Monster, “Entrepreneurs are enthusiastic, optimistic and future-oriented. They believe they’ll be successful and are willing to risk their resources in pursuit of profit.”  People with an entrepreneurial spirit are energetic, and their thoughts are usually laser-focused on their business and increasing market share. Does that sound like you? Are you consistently motivated to succeed? Do you have the drive to bounce back when challenges arise?

A Knack for Creativity – “Successful entrepreneurs have the creative capacity to recognize and pursue opportunities,” says Monster. Being the founder of your own company will require vision to steer your business in the right direction. Can you look ahead and see the big picture? Do you have the creativity necessary to find innovative ways to promote your products or services?

An Ability to be Versatile and Adapt – When you first start out, you won’t have staff members or colleagues to provide support, so you’ll be wearing a lot of hats for a while. Are you versatile enough to act as the sole customer support representative, as well as the CEO, marketing specialist, and bookkeeper? If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be able to adapt as needs arise and/or changes occur.

A Personal Toolkit of Business Skills

While there are many business skills a successful entrepreneur should possess, Inc. lists five abilities they feel are essential:

Sales – Marketing drives customers to your business, but sales keep the money pouring into your pockets. How are your selling skills? Are you persuasive and persistent, with a willingness to tirelessly promote your business and look for clever ways to spread the word about your product or service?

Planning – To be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to make a plan and stick to it, thinking out every risk, benefit, and cost of your business venture. You’ll also need to set realistic goals, factoring in necessary aspects such as time and budget.

Communication – This essential skill is what helps you cultivate loyal customer relationships, court investors, and build other lucrative partnerships that will increase revenue for your business. Communication will also help you deal with vendors or other business services that contribute to the success of your venture.

Customer Focus – You need to recognize that customers pay your bills and make your venture possible, so that’s where your focus should be. Everything you do should be for the customer, whether you’re assisting them with orders, listening to complaints or doling out praise. Customer focus means that you view every customer experience as an opportunity to improve.

Curiosity – A healthy curiosity will inspire you to examine what your competitors are doing, as well as try out new technologies to streamline your business and reach out to new customers. “When the only limit you have is what you can imagine and apply, just about anything is possible,” says Inc.

A Tolerance For Risk Taking – Starting any entrepreneurial venture involves risk. What chances are you willing to take to make your dream come true? Fortune may favor the bold, but there’s also something to be said for preparation. Conducting thorough research on your new business concept, as well as the corresponding industry and market, will help lower your risk ratio. You also might want to test your concept on a small scale before taking the big leap.

A Capacity for Flexibility / Open-Mindedness – While you’ll need an unwavering vision and direction for your venture, you also need to realize that you’ll be faced a lot of unknowns. This means you’ll need to be flexible enough to adjust initial plans and strategies so you can adopt new and better ways of doing things. Are you willing to keep an open mind and be flexible in the face of change?

An Ability to Be Decisive – As an entrepreneur, you’re in the driver seat, so there’s “no room for procrastination or indecision,” Monster points out. From registering a trade name and setting up a business website to selling your first products, dragging your feet will stall progress and may cause you to miss pivotal opportunities that could lead to your success. Do you have what it takes to make quick decisions and “just do it”?


You don’t have to be a Mark Zuckerberg or a Tory Burch to become a successful entrepreneur. But you will need to adopt some of the common characteristics that most entrepreneurs share, like the ones listed above. Don’t worry if you don’t possess all of the characteristics discussed in this article. With a winning attitude and some raw desire, most of them can be learned.

Just remember…even after you develop these traits and acquire new skills, there will be mistakes made along the way. But that, too, is part of the learning process…as well as the entrepreneurial experience.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.