Characteristics of successful entrepreneurs

Characteristics of successful entrepreneurs

Characteristics of successful entrepreneurs

Some people take great risks to enjoy great benefits. These are people willing to start a business when all risks stand in the path to success. They take a thorny pathway that leads to the finest green pastures. I would term them strong-hearted men and women who stand the fear of losing everything to gain everything.


According to Joseph Schumpeter in 1934, he defined an entrepreneur as an innovator, who develops untried technology.

According to David McClelland in 1961, an entrepreneur is an energetic, moderate risk-taker

Entrepreneurship refers to the process of creating a new enterprise and bearing any of its risks, with the view of making the profit. Entrepreneurship is not venturing into something you do not see any risks, but rather it is venturing into a business with a well-calculated move and being conscious of all risks. An entrepreneur overcomes all what if fears with the enticement of great possible profit.


The there general path of entrepreneurship


  • Develop an idea for a unique product/business.
  • Learn and gain experience in a range of business roles.
  • Make a business plan and establish a funds source.
  • Devise strategies for launching the product or service, and for attracting and retaining customers.
  • Once the company is established, seek out ways to grow in personnel and revenue by recruiting new talent and expanding into new areas.

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

While some are born with the natural entrepreneurship instinct, some have to learn how to become one but in the end, all have one goal of transforming the norms into great opportunities of making great earnings.


Fast Facts and Stats

  • According to Talk Business, there are over 582 million entrepreneurs in the world.
  • According to Guidant Financial, 9.3% of entrepreneurs started their business due to a life-changing event.
  • According to Fundera, more than 20% of small businesses fail within the first year of their conception.
  • According to Talkroute, 82% of business failures are due to poor cash management.
  • According to Unitelvoice, less than 1% of entrepreneurs came from an extremely rich or poor background.


According to research by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (2020)


  • South Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem was rated as one of the most challenging in the sample of participating economies in 2019 and has exhibited little sign of improvement over the past few years.
  • Societal values regarding entrepreneurship show an upward trend from 2003 to 2019. Specifically, there has been an increase from 2017 to 2019 in the number of people who see entrepreneurship as a good career choice (from 69.4% to 78.8%) and one with high status (from 74.9% to 82.2%).
  • Only 11.9% of respondents had entrepreneurial intentions. That means 12 in every 100 people have an intention to start a business.


Top 10 reasons start-ups fail


Source: CB Insights 2018


Top 7 Characteristics

  • Passion
  • Self-Motivation
  • Take Risks
  • Understand What You Offer
  • Know How to Network
  • Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge
  • Flexibility



Passion is a self-generated interest in what one does. Passion cannot be forced into someone, neither can it be taken out of someone. Passion to an entrepreneur means a strong drive to change an idea or a method into a profitable venture. Passion is what will help you find motivation when you are discouraged and it will drive your forward.

Successful entrepreneurs are passionate about their business and their services to customers. This improves customer turn up as they give customer service that is of a special class.

However, passion alone is not enough to create a successful entrepreneur.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” – Walt Disney

Passion alone will not bring the financial needs, the hard work needed and the right planning required but it is key to fuel you through the tiresome and stressful processes you might go through. Passion will tell you that even though today is not perfect, tomorrow can be better.



Not everyone believes in us. Not everyone sees things the way we see. Not everyone believes in our abilities. When we have a vision, it’s not everyone who shares with us the same vision. That is why at some time you have to carry yourself in life. Not everyone will applause you as you take your path. It’s not everyone who will cheer at you as you run the race. The ultimate question is how you will respond when you run with an idea and no one follows through. Remember, for most entrepreneurs, it is doing something unique and never tried. At certain points, it will be a disaster and you will have to rise again if you are to make it.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill


Take Risks

Every successful entrepreneur had to take risks. These vary in their form. Some will be in form of strong political resistance; some will be in form of losing all your investment for nothing. If you are to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to take risks. “What if” fears will be there always and the ability to take risks allows you to overcome them.

Some risks can be foreseen while some come completely out of the blue.

According to an interview with Nairobi Garage, Dr Masiyiwa, majored into the telecommunications industry, but he soon ran into major problems when the Zimbabwean Government refused to give him a license to operate Econet Wireless. Later, he appealed to the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe, then one of the most respected on the continent, which ruled in his favour after a five-year legal battle, which took him to the brink of bankruptcy. This is just one indicator of risks that every entrepreneur can face.


Understand What You Offer

Entrepreneurs know what they have to offer and to whom they can sell it. Clearly define the category of products or services you sell and how they provide value to consumers. Also, study your target clients to make sure you answer their needs. This will allow you to improve your offer continuously so you can stay on top of industry trends.

To increase the positive impact of this knowledge, you should continually learn about your market, understand what people need and know the features that differentiate you from competitors. Talk with your clients and use their feedback. With this information, you can adjust your position when necessary.

“Every problem is a gift—without problems, we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins


Know How To Network

Successful entrepreneurs understand how to network and find the market for their product. They know how to connect their business with places and people of influence. Meeting new people might facilitate access to resources or knowledge that your business needs. It allows you to learn from the success of others, promote your services or goods and meet new clients.

To improve your networking skills, you must try to build genuine relationships. You likely have a business goal in mind, but approach people with the objective of a human connection, just like making new friends. It is key to know that before people connect with your business, they first connect with you. Before anyone buys your product, they first buy you as the producer.


Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge

Entrepreneurs need to understand that financial knowledge is a key aspect of their business. Even if they hire a specialist like an accountant, they are the decision-maker and must know their situation to run the business successfully.

Basic money management skills are needed for any successful entrepreneurship and you can get this by preparing a budget and committing to it and investing available funds rather than spending them. You can also acquire more financial knowledge by taking classes or training programs.



Successful entrepreneurs are not rigid people. They do necessary changes when there is a need. As the famous quote goes, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”- John C. Maxwell.

Not every initial plan will bring you success. Even goals can be adjusted so that they get to be realistic. The same goals with your paper plan as an entrepreneur, you have to be able to sit down and make necessary adjustments to your plan.

Flexibility is effectively the same as adaptability. This means one has to be able to adapt to changes that can occur in the industry and environment effectively affecting the way of your business. To increase your adaptability, you can approach all activities with an open mind and stay ready to change your ways if necessary. Try new methods and welcome new trends to foster your ability to adapt.


Building Entrepreneurial Skills

While becoming an entrepreneur is natural for some, others might have to work on developing those skills to kick-start their business ideas.


Following are ways to building good skills:

  • Attend business events
  • Learn from the experts
  • Learn from leading
  • Enhance communication skills
  • Associate with likeminded people


To sum it up, some are born with the natural will, desire and instinct for business and innovation while some have to learn how to develop into better entrepreneurs. Some have a better vantage point by learning from their parents and a close associate and hence it becomes easy to make it as entrepreneurs.



Can everyone make it then?

I personally think anyone can be an entrepreneur as long as they apply themselves but I do not believe they should venture into any idea. The key thing is learning and planning for the necessary resources before venturing into any business idea.

Entrepreneurship for those who make it has many good things it brings with it, all one needs is to focus on the growing process and not only the present results. For those who succeed, they get to enjoy financial freedom.


I will leave it then to the reader to decide with this quote:


One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest in themselves. You dont choose your passions; your passions choose you. 

Jeff Bezos


Blessmore Ndemo is a data analyst at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.


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Blessmore Ndemo
This article was written by Blessmore a Guest at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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