Discuss and Critically Evaluate the Most Commonly Cited Characteristics Found in Successful Entrepreneur?

Topics: Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneur, Joseph Schumpeter Pages: 7 (2185 words) Published: May 15, 2013
Discuss and critically evaluate the most commonly cited characteristics found in successful entrepreneur?

There has been extensive research conducted on the characteristics that successful entrepreneurs possess. These attributes vary widely across literature, however there are common key traits that are required to achieve any form of success. Frederick et al (2013) suggest entrepreneurs are risk takers, optimistic, have sound judgement and an ability to manage. While a review of literature relating to the psychology of an entrepreneur reveals a large variety of characteristics in a successful entrepreneur, these can be consolidated to a a few into only a few traits that are essential for a successful entrepreneur. Whilst taking into consideration Frederick et al (2013) point of view of key characteristic, other research suggests that there are further primary attributes that a successful entrepreneur necessitates.

The most important traits that all entrepreneurs must retain to have any form of success will be discussed with backing arguments from related literature. While there are many other characteristic, within the scope of this piece three essential traits are discussed. Of interest is the characteristics of confidence, while it will be the negative implications off excessive confidence will be outlined. Additionally, the ability to think creatively and innovative to help differentiate an entrepreneur from a manager or executive is to be analysed based on a example of Steve Jobs. Finally, leadership and it's importance to an entrepreneurs organisation to allow people to share the vision of the entrepreneur.

It will be argued that without confidence an entrepreneur cannot succeed, however, overconfidence can be a drawback to the point where it is destructive in a entrepreneurs venture. While, any successful entrepreneur must contain the traits of creativeness and have the ability to innovate where society requires a product or service and what factors dictate the extent of the trait. Finally, leadership and it's ability to motivate and how it is able to share the vision of the company will be discussed with an example as evidence.


Confidence is a trait commonly described in literature as an essential trait for any entrepreneur. It is essential for their confidence to not waver in times of difficult down periods and consequently assists maintaining their confidence as well as the one of the people around them. Their own optimism and creates a level of self confidence that is required in decision making such that Nandan (2011) suggests that it is the self-confidence that allows an entrepreneur to make decisions to overcome any obstacle. Frederick et al (2013) describe self-confidence as a belief within their own ability which lacks hesitation.

Although confidence is an essential trait for an entrepreneur, recent research has suggested that there is a cognitive bias of overconfidence in entrepreneurs (Fitzsimmons et al 2011) leading to failure. While Fitzsimmonms and Douglas suggest that the overconfidence is what separates them from being a manager, studies have found that overconfidence can also be harmful when making decisions in response to setbacks (Trevelyan 2008). This has also been backed up by Koellinger el al. (2007) who proposed that a negative relationship between entrepreneurial confidence and the ability for their survival. The evidence collected by literature suggests a general negative correlation between excessive confidence and success of an entrepreneur but it tends to be the case that without confidence an entrepreneur cannot succeed. While literature seems to indicate a fine line between confidence and an excess of it, it is clear any form of overconfidence is seen to be destructive.

For example, a highly successful entrepreneur in Australia's coal mining, Nathan Tinkler, has made his fortune by backing his judgement and investing in a bold play in Middlemount...
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