What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur

What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur

by Nicholas Tart on July 9, 2009 · 10 comments

Can anyone be an entrepreneur? Absolutely. Can anyone be a successful entrepreneur? Probably not. Successful entrepreneurs are a rare breed. Not everyone meets the requirements. In general, there are four characteristics an entrepreneur must possess in order to be successful.

Take Dorsey, Brin and Page, for example.

Passion for the Business

First and foremost is passion. Do you think Jack Dorsey is passionate about 140 character messages? I do. Do you think Sergey Brin and Larry Page are passionate about indexing and organizing? Probably.

Maybe those three aren’t passionate about those things, specifically, but I know they are all passionate about helping people. Twitter makes it efficient for people to communicate. Google makes it easy for people to find information.

A lot of hard work goes into making a business successful. If you don’t enjoy that work, if you aren’t passionately in love with that work, you’re not going to finish it.

“As we go forward, I hope we’re going to continue to use technology to make really big differences in how people live and work.” – Sergey Brin

Product and Customer Focus

“If you build it, he will come.” This timeless quote from the Field of Dreams no longer holds true in today’s marketplace. You can’t just make something cool and expect people to buy it.

Google was created to solve a problem. It’s hard for consumers to find good information, and Google designs its services to help alleviate this problem.

As an entrepreneur, you have to figure out what people need and want. Then proceed to create a product that satisfies those needs and desires. People pay for solutions.

“We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.” – Larry Page

Tenacity Despite Failure

twitter_failFour out of five new businesses will fail. In other words, the average entrepreneur isn’t successful until their fifth try. Entrepreneurs must be stubborn and stupid to not give up, right? Wrong, sometimes.

As evident by the all-to-present “fail whale,” Twitter can attest to this characteristic. I’m not going to stop using Twitter just because it won’t load every time I want it to. But it would be nice to see the big blue/white whale less often.

Jack Dorsey and crew are working on this, but it’s easier said than done. If they haven’t given up yet, I’m confident they’ll find a way to make Twitter successful and profitable.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll undoubtedly run into setbacks. These setbacks will only become failures if you lack the tenacity to push through.

“Ideally, we’d like to sustain it (Twitter) through revenue. But we might need to take more money.” – Jack Dorsey

Execution Intelligence

How many business ideas have you had? How many businesses have resulted from those ideas? Execution intelligence is the ability to fashion a solid idea into a viable business. This is where most entrepreneurs get stuck.

Sergey and Larry had a brilliant idea, but the execution behind bringing their idea to market was even better. They had an idea, created a beta, rose over $1 million in funding, monetized their business, and bought the Googleplex for $319 million. All within 10 years.

Of course there were other pivotal/fortunate steps along the way, but Sergey and Larry did a world-class job of executing a business.

Passion, focus and tenacity are all vital characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. But if you don’t have the business intelligence to back it up, you can forget about being successful. This is where JuniorBiz comes in!

“If you can run the company a bit more collaboratively, you get a better result, because you have more bandwidth and checking and balancing going on.” – Larry Page

Other Common Entrepreneurial Traits

Here are a few more characteristics of successful entrepreneurs:

  • Achievement motivated
  • Alert to opportunities
  • Creative
  • Decisive
  • Energetic
  • Innovative
  • Lengthy attention span
  • Moderate risk taker
  • Networker
  • Optimistic
  • Persuasive
  • Promoter
  • Resource assembler/leverager
  • Self-confident
  • Self-starter
  • Strong work ethic
  • Tolerant of ambiguity
  • Visionary

Source: Barringer, B. R., & Ireland, R. D. (2008). Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.

In case you don’t know, Jack Dorsey is the creator of Twitter, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page are the founders of Google.

Are you one of the six types of dumb entrepreneurs? And how many of the 23 hats of entrepreneurship do you wear? Whatever your reason, make sure you want to be an entrepreneur for the right reasons.

Photo 1 by: rich115

Image 2 by: [visual media]

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