Characteristics Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common
Career Path : Administration
Picture if you will a young man in Buckinghamshire, England circa 1967. His academic performance is poor and he is seen by his teachers as a delinquent. Suffering from dyslexia, the man has little interest in studying. At sixteen, he is leaving school for the last time. On his way out the door, his headmaster tells him that he will either wind up in jail or a millionaire.
He opts for the latter. His name is Richard Branson. It’s become a cliché that geniuses and entrepreneurs are often eccentric and magnetic figures. There are several key characteristics at the core of many of the best known entrepreneurs. Here are some of the most significant.
Successful entrepreneurs must endure risk and the possibility of loss on two fronts: financial/investment risk and decision risk. Financial or investment risk is relatively simple. Debt burden, revenue flow, expenses and other numeric or quantifiable operational aspects factor into the creation of a business.
By contrast, decision risk has to do with psychological, social/cultural and legal consequences of a major decision. For example, consider the following:
- Personality type and skill sets in an ideal hire
- Identifying and pursuing a target market
- Cultivating an internal business culture
- Sales, promotions, discounts and other aspects of marketing
These are all important commonplace decisions an entrepreneur must face on a regular basis. Though the two are obviously related, decision risk is much harder to quantify or predict than most investment risk. Entrepreneurial decisions usually require an understanding of market trends, consumer sentiment and a wise interpretation of laws and regulations pertaining to the business, though they also must take into account the intangible nature of one single being’s personal drive and aspirations.
In regard to complicated projects such as starting and growing a business, this has to be said: the first attempt rarely works as intended. And the second attempt typically overshoots whatever quality was lacking in the first. It takes at least three tries to be approximately correct. In that time, an entrepreneur will face skepticism and rejection, even when the product or service being offered is logically useful, marketable and worth the price.
Understand Your Market
What an entrepreneur thinks is a good idea must also fit what prospective customers and investors think is a good idea. A detailed business plan and thorough market research will help to solidify the merit of an idea to others.
If it’s profitable, competition is bound to exist. That competition is run by people who, no matter their skills and background, have some weakness or blind spot. Finding those “blind spots” correlates to riding on a market trend ahead of the competition. The SWOT matrix is helpful in organizing knowledge about the market, competitors and likely trends. Studying an MBA online can help in this regard. An online business degree can go a long way towards training aspiring entrepreneurs how to allocate resources, plan strategies, take advantage and dodge some of the dangers inherent in entrepreneurship.
Regarding Passion and Profit
Passion and interest certainly helps, but these alone do not guarantee success. Yes, passion is important, but transactions, profits, debt repayments and a successful business sale aren’t measured in units of passion. Distinguish between a viable business idea and a recreational hobby. Remember that others may not share your enthusiasm. Marketing and efficient communication regarding the value of your product or service will go a long way towards generating revenues and a customer base. Successful entrepreneurs let their passion shine through with a cultivated set of technical skills and knowledge.