Women in Leadership

The 5 Key Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

Keith Walden asked:

One of the biggest misconceptions regarding starting your own business is that you are doomed to failure unless you have a natural aptitude or a natural talent for business. Needless to say, this is an untrue notion.

While there are a number of skills that you absolutely have to be a successful businessperson, there are ways for you to develop those skills along the way.

Instead of those skills, what you need to be thinking about are the qualities inherent to all good entrepreneurs. Here are 5 critical skills or characteristics you will need to succeed as an entrepreneur.


The first is Vision/Leadership; successful entrepreneurs usually see what other don’t and tend to think outside the box, compared most people. Vision also implies leadership, and both qualities go hand and hand. Leadership in this context means to do what others won’t; to go outside their comfort zones.


Next is Perseverance. Starting a business is like the exponential version of working on a project for school. When you are learning a new concept for that project, you are going to have to go slow, but steady.

If you just start, do it for a bit and then leave it alone, you are going to fail the project. But if you start it and then keep at it little by little, you are going to eventually succeed. This is what you need to do in business; you need to keep at it until you reach your goal.


A related quality to perseverance is Self-Discipline. The ability to take consistent and persistent action even when we don’t feel like it. This means not allowing ourselves to get distracted by the T.V., social events and any myriad of activities are “non-productive”.


Another great ability successful entrepreneurs have is Flexibility. They realize that,”there is more than one way to skin a cat”, so to speak, and are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They have the unique ability to recognize when perseverance devolves in just plain “stubbornness”, and will make adjustments as necessary.

Mental Toughness

In the business world, you are going to meet a number of cut-throat individuals that would like nothing better than to see you fail so that they can succeed. Unfortunately that is just a reality in business.

While it is good to have business relationships with others, what is not so good is taking anything negative they say as the gospel and taking it completely to heart. If you do that, then it won’t take very many negative comments before you hang up your business for good. Consider taking peoples’ advice if it is constructive, but do not listen to anyone that is completely negative. It is also a fact that often the most painful criticism comes from those that we love the most.

Finally the key to every successful entrepreneur is their ability to deal with failure. There are a number of people that do not have this ability and in fact there are people that give up on something after having one unsuccessful try at it. This is something that you need to avoid in business because you’re going to fail at things again and again.

Closely related to this handling adversity in general. It is important to remember that it is not what happens to us that is key; instead it is how we react that is the determining factor in permanent failure or simply temporary defeat.

Please understand that even the most successful businessmen and women of today failed at some point their careers; The reason they became successful is because they DID NOT GIVE UP; you shouldn’t give up either.

Remember this, if you had to have just one quality, make sure it is the ability to deal with failure and adversity. It may be the single most important quality an entrepreneur can have.


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