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Q&A - What is an entrepreneur and what characteristics do entrepreneurs need to succeed?

Sunday, February 01, 2009
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A student asks:

What is an entrepreneur and what characteristics do entrepreneurs need to succeed?

There has been much research into what makes a successful entrepreneur.  Amongst the charactertistics commonly identified are:

Passionate about their product or service and about getting things right for the customer
Visionary – they have faith in what they are trying to do
Energetic and driven – prepared to work consistently long hours, especially in the early stages
Self-starting and decisive – they don’t wait for others to take decisions
Calculated risk-taking – not reckless; they are prepared to take a risk in order to maximise the rewards
Multitasker – able to take on more than one role (product development, selling, recruitment)
Resilient – able to handle problems and overcome hurdles
Focused – sets clear goals and self-imposed high standards
Results-orientated – take pleasure from achieving targets and setting the bar higher

The important thing to remember about the list above is that an entrepreneur is unlikely to possess all these characteristics!  Anyone who starts a business has strengths and weaknesses.  However, the savvy entrepreneur recognises where his/her weaknesses lie and takes steps to address them (e.g. recruit someone with the right skills).


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