The 11 qualities of all entrepreneurs

Having analysed the entrepreneurial characteristics of hundreds of successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, I reckon I have a good idea about the magic behind their success.

From bullish salespeople to technical wizards, they are a diverse breed. However, beneath the surface, a few vital characteristics emerge, which they share in common.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and himself no mean entrepreneur, calls this “by far the best and most accurate list of characteristics I have ever seen. A great deal resonated with me personally!”

So if you’re exploring your own entrepreneurial potential, be honest and evaluate how many of the following you possess:

  • Implacable self-belief
  • A single core technical skill or ability (it could be marketing, selling, or a specialist scientific capability)
  • High resources of personal energy that enable you to work often brutal hours
  • You will be unafraid, indeed relish, talking about money. You are definitely not diffident and English about this
  • You won’t sit on problems or difficult situations, you’d rather deal with them and get them out of the way
  • At the right moment, you love to party. Sol Kerzner, the iconic hotelier and founder of Sun City, is one of the world’s great hosts.
  • You will have something about you – call it charisma – that inspires loyalty in others
  • You are fired by powerful competitive instincts, even anger, that drives you to win over your competitors.
  • Personal resilience. Entrepreneurs will have setbacks. The true winners will absorb them, learn from them and rebound.
  • They love what they do, at times at the expense of your family and friends
  • And you really will believe that your business, product, service, is better than what’s come before or is offered in their market now (even when it patently isn’t!).

This article is taken from my inaugural “Big Picture” lecture delivered at Greenwich University in February 2012. You can read the full lecture text at Real Business.

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