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  • James Young

Twenty five traits of an entrepreneur

What are the personal traits and backgrounds of people who become successful entrepreneurs?


No matter what your background is, an entrepreneurial venture may be right for you. Successful enterprise is a combination of personal qualities and quality planning. You don’t have to be a genius with a killer idea: most successful startups begin with incremental innovations. You don’t have to be totally fearless, either: entrepreneurs who prosper have a healthy aversion to risk. Nor is technical business know-how essential: you can learn as you go along, or you can enlist an experienced businessperson as a co-owner. An individual who has all the right qualities for entrepreneurial work, but a poor plan will not succeed. Nor will a person with a great plan but weak motivation and a fear of uncertainty.


What you must have is a solid plan, the ability to execute it, and a high degree of motivation -- motivation that makes business success an important personal goal. Do you have these qualities?


Ideas and drive

  1. Creativity

  2. Vision

  3. Ability to identify opportunities

  4. Passion

People skills

  1. Leadership

  2. Persuasion

  3. Influence

  4. Network building

  5. Ability to excite people by vision

  6. Goal oriented

  7. Comfortable with uncertainty

  8. Self-challenging

  9. Solitary; don’t like working for others. Prefer being own boss

  10. Rarely satisfied or complacent; can’t sit still

  11. Driven to plan and be prepared

  12. Experimental mindset; OK with starting small and recognizing and moving past failures

  13. Perseverance in the face of adversity

  14. Tendency to continuously look for a better or different way to do things

  15. Ability to close a deal

  16. Ability to listen, trust, take advice

Financial savvy

  1. Comfortable with finance

  2. Comfortable with financial governance

Entrepreneurial background

  1. Family members have started businesses

  2. Friends have started businesses

  3. You have worked at a small business or startup.

Source: Harvard Business Review. Entrepreneur’s handbook: Everything you need to launch and grow your business. 2018.

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