Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Exploring the Key Qualities of an Entrepreneur

I have recently been giving some thought to the qualities shared by entrepreneurs and how they apply to my own personal journey, partly inspired by my recent attendance at the for Accelerate conference for high growth businesses.

After listening to the experiences and views of such inspirational business leaders as Martha Lane Fox, Doug Richards, Lord Bilimoria and Jimmy Wales I've come up with the following common traits of the entrepreneur...

  • Entrepreneurs are often usually ideas-driven with a passion for making things simpler or better.
  • Entrepreneurs share passion and self belief to inspire others to believe (and invest) in them. This can sometimes verge on arrogance in the eyes of others!
  • Entrepreneurs are often creative, not strictly in an artistic sense but in their approach to problem solving.
  • Entrepreneurs can handle people saying No. In some cases it drives them even harder to prove others wrong.
  • Entrepreneurs are more tolerant of risk. That's not to say they enjoy risk or are risk takers, but they maybe understand that risk is necessary in order to achieve their goals.
  • Real entrepreneurs fail and the most successful entrepreneurs learn to fail fast. In fact some successful entrepreneurs wear their previous failures as a badge of honour.
  • Some entrepreneurs are driven by tragedy in their personal lives or challenges they have had to overcome such as dyslexia (5 times more common amongst entrepreneurs apparently).
  • Whereas some entrepreneurs are driven by fear of boredom and the need to tinker.

So how do these qualities apply to my own personal journey in business? Well I guess I have always been more tolerant of risk, at school I was frequently described as cavalier. I was also stronger in creative subjects and didn't even learn Business Studies. I've always been quite passionate about what I do and comfortable driving ahead in the face of opposition (ok a bit arrogant as well) which probably made me a bit of a nightmare employee in my younger days. I don't feel I've overcome any particular adversity but as a demanding youngest sibling in a fairly dysfunctional family I guess I have always been something of an attention seeker!

So which of the traits of the entrepreneur I have identified do you recognise or think your share?

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