Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. In simple terms, she or he is someone who sees a need and fulfills it. In business language it can be described as someone who senses a market opportunity and can mobilize the resources and required factors of production to meet it.
Almost everyone thinks that one becomes an entrepreneur when one quits one’s current job and starts one’s own business. But that is far from the truth. Entrepreneurship is not just about starting a new business, it is more like an attitude – a way of life.
It is not very easy to define a set of requirements or practices that will make you a good entrepreneur. But Paul Di Masi is his article ‘Defining Entrepreneurship’ (link to article in case the hyperlink does not work – https://www.gdrc.org/icm/micro/define-micro.html) has listed some of the major characteristics of entrepreneurs that have been listed by many commentators.
They include –
- Self confident and multi-skilled. The person who can ‘make the product, market it and count the money’, but above all they have the confidence that lets them move comfortably through unchartered waters’.
- Confident in the face of difficulties and discouraging circumstances.
- Innovative skills. Not an ‘inventor’ in the traditional sense but one who is able to carve out a new niche in the marketplace, often invisible to others.
- Results-orientated. To make be successful requires the drive that only comes from setting goals and targets and getting pleasure from achieving them.
- A risk-taker. To succeed means taking measured risks. Often the successful entrepreneur exhibits an incremental approach to risk taking, at each stage exposing him/herself to only a limited, measured amount of personal risk and moving from one stage to another as each decision is proved.
- Total commitment. Hard work, energy and single-mindedness are essential elements in the entrepreneurial profile.” [sic]
There are a few other traits that can be critical to your success as an entrepreneur.
- Integrity and accountability – If you are not honest, your investors, employees and customers will see through you immediately. They need to be able to believe in you to stick with you in the long term. They also need the assurance that you take responsibility for your vision and will back it up.
- Ability to motivate – Being an entrepreneur is not a one-person job. You need to be able to share your vision, and make it a part of the others who will join you on your journey such that they are also willing to give it their all.
- Networking – This is critical in today’s world. You might have a good idea, or a great product but unless you get the information out there, no one will know it. Also, networking need not be only about your immediate leads and gains. A lot of entrepreneurs testify that giving gets them more.
- Persistence – Most of all persistence is key to succeeding as an entrepreneur. Only a fraction of new enterprises get instant recognition and success. Most have to build it over a period of time. If you pack up and throw in the towel at first hiccup or even the 50th, you will never know where you could have reached.
The best part about being an entrepreneur is that there are no hard and fast rules that you need to follow. You can start working on this skillset at any time and internalize it over a period of time.