This topic describes the most common characteristics associated with successful entrepreneurs, entrepreneur self-assessment and the differences between the entrepreneur, the small businessman and the managers.
Topic 2 Identifying Entrepreneurial Characteristics
By the end of this topic, you should be able to: 1. Identify sixteen characteristics of successful entrepreneurs; 2. Evaluate your entrepreneurial inclination potential using the entrepreneur self- assessment test; and 3. Describe at least three differences between businessmen, managers and entrepreneurs.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS
The following discussion provides a brief summary of characteristics most commonly associated with successful entrepreneurs. Even though new characteristics are continually being added to the list, it does provide important insights into the entrepreneurial perspective.
Figure 2.1: Characteristics of successful entrepreneurs
(a) Initiative and Responsibility Most researchers agree that effective entrepreneurs actively seek and take the initiative. They willingly put themselves in situations where they are personally responsible for the success or failure of the operation. Entrepreneurs feel a personal responsibility for the outcome of ventures in which they are associated. They like to take the initiative in solving problems where no leadership exists. (b) High Degree of Commitment Launching a venture successfully requires total commitment from entrepreneurs. This commitment helps entrepreneurs to overcome business-threatening mistakes and obstacles. EntrepreneursÊ commitment to their ideas and ventures determine how successful those ventures ultimately become. (c) Opportunity Orientation Entrepreneurs focus and start on opportunities rather than on resources, structure, or strategy. They begin with opportunities and let their understanding of them guide other important issues. Entrepreneurs have a well-defined sense of searching for opportunities. In searching for new business opportunities, entrepreneurs observe the same events other people do, but they see something different. Entrepreneurs are not only capable of searching for opportunities but are also capable of seizing the extraordinary
ones. (d) Moderate Risk-Taker Entrepreneurs are not wild risk-takers; they are calculated risk takers. When entrepreneurs participate in any venture, they do so in a very calculated, carefully thought out manner. They often avoid taking unnecessary risks. (e) Confident and Optimistic Entrepreneurs typically have an abundance of confidence in their ability to succeed. They tend to be optimistic about their chances for success, and usually their optimism is based on reality. The high level of confidence and optimism explains why some of the most successful entrepreneurs have failed in business, often more than once, before finally succeeding. (f) Creative and Innovative Creativity and innovativeness are important for entrepreneurs to gain a competitive advantage in their ventures. Through their creative and innovative minds and imagination, entrepreneurs can produce unique goods and services for customers. Creativity is not inherited, it can be learned. (g) Seeking Feedback Entrepreneurs like to know how they are doing and are constantly looking for reinforcement. They actively seek and use feedback to improve themselves and their venture performance. From feedback, entrepreneurs can learn from their mistakes. (h) Drive to Achieve Achievement seems to be the primary motivating force behind entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are self-starters who internally have a strong desire to compete, excel, pursue and attain challenging goals. One of the common misconceptions about entrepreneurs is that they are driven wholly by the desire to make money. To entrepreneurs, money is simply a symbol of achievement, not the driving motive. (i) Ability to Set Vision Entrepreneurs know what they want to...