Do you know what it takes to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs?

As Score Mentors we are often asked, “what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur”?

What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is traditionally defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business. It typically begins as a small business, such as a startup company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire. The people who do so are called ‘entrepreneurs‘. They are generally identified as having the…

“…capacity and willingness to develop, organize, and manage a business venture usually with considerable initiative and risk in order to make a profit.”

Twentieth-century economists such as Joseph Schumpeter define an entrepreneur as an individual willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation.

Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called “the gale of creative destruction” to replace in whole or in part, inferior offerings across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products and new business models.

Entrepreneurs, therefore, are leaders willing to take a risk and exercise initiative. They take advantage of market opportunities by planning, organizing, and deploying resources often by innovating to create new or improving existing products or services.

While entrepreneurship is often associated with new, small, for-profit start-ups, entrepreneurial behavior can be seen in new and established firms and for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. These include voluntary sector groups, charitable organizations, and government. For example, in the 2000s, the field of social entrepreneurship has been identified, in which entrepreneurs combine business activities with humanitarian, environmental or community goals. Entrepreneurship within an existing firm or large organization is referred to as intrapreneurship and may include corporate ventures where large entities “spin-off” subsidiary organizations.

The most significant characteristic that differentiates entrepreneurs is that they are risk takers and they tolerate uncertainty. If that were all that is required for success, then it appears that you need nothing more than to be a gambler. Obviously, more is required.

While there is no simple answer, research indicates several characteristics in addition to tolerance for risk and uncertainty that are commonly found in the personalities of successful entrepreneurs.

Successful Entrepreneurs Have:

  • Self Motivation – have the ability to wake up in the morning and immediately start working. Entrepreneurs do not waste away the day doing things that have no benefit to their business. Bosses told you what needed to be done. Now as an entrepreneur, you must know what needs to be done and take action to get it done.

  • Self Confidence – be confident in yourself, your product and your business. You need to know that your product can truly help people and that you are charging prices that are both fair to you, and your clients.

  • Behave Ethically and Morally – decide what you stand for and how you will conduct your business on a daily basis. Know before you get tempted to cross some line that could jeopardize your business.

  • Manage Time – this goes hand-in-hand with Self Motivation. You need to schedule your day and stick to that schedule. Your time is valuable. Take time to educate yourself on ways to improve your business or products. [Related: Staying Productive]

  • Sales – every business needs to develop a way to handle sales. An entrepreneur’s job is to develop the types of sales that work best for your business Constant effort should be on improving your sales skills.

  • Understand Finance – this a must if you are in business for yourself. Knowing how to balance a checkbook and keeping track of numbered invoices is all most small businesses need to do when they first start out. Remember to schedule time for your financial management.

  • Study Strategies – of successful businesses already doing what you wish to do and incorporate the best strategies into your own.

  • Value Quality – quality drive sales, which leads to business growth.

 Successful Entrepreneurs also meet these Requirements:

  • Clear, succinctly stated value proposition specifying benefits

  • Know target market

  • Strategic business plan

  • Unified, connected product line or service line

  • Competition based on a dimension other than price (e.g., quality or service)

  • Early, frequent, intense and well-targeted marketing

  • Tight financial controls

  • Sufficient start-up and growth capital

  • Corporation or LLC model, not sole proprietorship

  • One or more unique competitive advantages

  • Work experience in the start-up industry

  • Full-time involvement in the new venture

A SCORE mentor can help you through this process FREE! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

Greater Phoenix SCORE also has classes and workshops on how to a start a business. Click here for the schedule.

Here are some free resources SCORE and the SBA.

About the Author:

Roger_Robinson Roger Robinson, Ph.D. has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger hereClick here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

Related articles