If you’re thinking of becoming a business owner—perhaps starting something from the ground up, you’ve likely been warned of pitfalls that lie ahead. You’ll need to think about start-up capital, a marketing strategy, reliable suppliers, distribution channels, adequate insurance and much more. After your initial research, you may wonder, do I have what it takes to make it work?
Rest assured, there are classic entrepreneur personality traits that can help you determine whether you are likely to thrive as an independent business owner. Here are some important entrepreneur personality traits to help you self-assess:
Trait #1: Passion
Let’s face it, no entrepreneur is willing to put in long hours for something they don’t care about. If you have a business idea that you think will work, but you aren’t truly invested—you don’t have a burning desire to see it succeed—the idea won’t likely carry you through the tough weeks and months ahead. If, on the other hand, you feel strongly about the benefits of your product or service, your passion will likely carry you through the difficult work to come.
Trait #2: Creativity
Being creative is one of the most important entrepreneur personality traits. Do people consider you a ‘big-picture’ thinker, someone who can see things beyond your immediate situation or constraints? Do you consider yourself creative? Are you someone who likes to come up with abstract concepts or ideas?
Creative thinking is a key component of successful entrepreneurship. You are creating something from nothing, after all, and if your product or service can be creatively positioned against your competition, you are far more likely to succeed. While it is difficult to be creative 24/7, you can develop this skill in a business context by taking courses or enrolling in an MBA.
Trait #3: Ability to Self-Start
Of course, part of being an entrepreneur means being a self-starter. Nobody is going to tell you that it’s time to build a supply chain or reach out to potential distributors. You need to be the kind of person who doesn’t need instructions to get things moving. If you know you prefer guidance, whether task or role-specific, you may not enjoy the open-ended aspect of being an entrepreneur.
Trait #4: Problem-Solving
Sometimes, the life of an entrepreneur is much like solving a series of puzzles. If you try one method of marketing and it doesn’t work, for example, you’ll need to find out who your customers are, where to find them and how to solve pain points in their lives. Similarly, if a production method fails, you will need to get to the source of the problem and find another solution. Problem-solving skills are a huge asset to entrepreneurs.
Trait #5: Risk-Tolerant
One of the classic stories told about entrepreneurs is the risk they are willing to take on. If you gravitate towards security or find yourself at a stage in life where you are not willing to lose your savings, you may not be the best candidate for an entrepreneurial life. If, however, you are the kind of person willing to put it all on the line, to take chances that would scare others, you likely have an important mindset for success.
Trait #6: Communicative
While your business idea may have been living in your mind for months or even years, by the time you launch it into the world as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to share it effectively with others. In other words, you will need strong communication skills, both in your written and verbal work, to succeed as a business owner. Clear communication will help you identify the benefits of your products or services and why your customers should buy them.
Trait #7: Humility and Gratitude
Every entrepreneur needs help at some point. Whether you need advice on your retail strategy, an influx of temporary manpower or an injection of cash, at some point you will need to ask for help. Having a sense of humility, a willingness to ask for assistance, will help you through your first years of being an entrepreneur. Remember those who have helped you, show your gratitude openly and be willing to help those who follow your lead.
Trait #8: Resiliency
Naturally, the ability to bounce back from disappointment, frustration and failure are critical to success as an entrepreneur. Experienced business owners hold their failures in high regard, knowing they are the source of significant growth and learning.
If you are easily discouraged by setbacks, you may want to think twice about starting a career as an entrepreneur. If, on the other hand, you tend to take disappointments in stride, if you see failure as an opportunity to learn, you are likely well-positioned for growth in business.
Despite the risks, challenges and long hours, entrepreneurs are driven by internal rewards and their inherent passion. If you have an idea that you are passionate about, and wonder if you have what it takes to succeed, we hope this list of entrepreneur personality traits has been useful.
Remember, nobody comes to a business idea fully armed with everything they need to make it work. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek out mentors or even an entrepreneurial training program.