The Wise Entrepreneur

7 Essential entrepreneurship characteristics to develop – to avoid failure

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7 Essential entrepreneurship characteristics to develop to avoid failure

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Hello there! Today we want to consider essential entrepreneurship characteristics that any entrepreneur should develop. Candidly, no one starts an entrepreneurial investment with the agenda to fail. Everyone desires success. Don’t you agree? The entrepreneurship endeavor requires some vital characteristics for one to be successful. This is the reason why not many individuals can venture along this line, rather preferring to do something else. Characteristics are more inherent in nature, but skills can be learnt. Conceiving, creating, organizing and growing any business enterprise requires some good entrepreneurial characteristics.

So, what are these essential characteristics? Let’s take a look.

  1. Passion. In my opinion, I think that passion is a very important cornerstone for successful entrepreneurship. Passion keeps you awake at night, thinking about your entrepreneurial plans. Passion makes you jump out of bed at dawn, with fresh energy to face yet another day in the world of business. It makes you walk with a spring during daytime. Passion also breeds tenacity, patience, resilience, motivation, optimism etc. that you very much need as an entrepreneur. I’m talking about good passion relevant for business here, because some folks could be imagining all kinds of ideas in their minds. Passion about the business, the products or services, solving a challenge for humanity etc. are all vital components. Sir Richard Branson while talking about the importance of passion in business, stated that your believe in what you do sparks interest in other people and they will all work to support you in your entrepreneurial journey. Don’t you believe in this? Passion also gives you the positive frame of mind and optimism that all entrepreneurs need to avoid failure. Just a word of caution – passion is not always a good thing. You need to be smart enough, because passion could be fleeting. Besides you cannot replace things like strong work ethics and expertise with passion. If you wrongly dwell on the passion element as an entrepreneur, you might land in the wrong airport like you never had equipment to guide you on the right destination.
  1. Risk taking. Another essential entrepreneurship characteristic is risk taking. As an entrepreneur or potential entrepreneur, when your mind is attuned to risk, you become confident and determined. You move forward with boldness even where common folks would be very afraid to step. Entrepreneurship drives most of the movements and activities that we see happening in the world today. With risk-taking mindset, you don’t fear competition, but without that you will even run when no one is chasing you. There are people who can never step out of their comfort zone to launch their enterprises due to fear of competition, and fear of losing their savings, for example. You would fear venturing into unknown territories or new products and services you have never handled before. Come on, can’t you see the value of risk-taking here? By the way, when I talk about risk I don’t mean you should blindly do stupid things. Do you get me? According to Forbes, Successful Entrepreneurs Need To Be Calculated Risk Takers. You need to be smart with your risks, though some audacity and following your gut feelings is also good even if your risk analysis sometimes gives you a warning bell. Ok? Why do you think some investors have put huge investments in products that are yet to see the light of day? It is sometimes the sixth sense.  
  1. Creativity and adaptability. When you are creative and adaptable, this means that you are generally curios and adventurous. This edge makes you seek both originality and transformation. It also makes you innovative and willing to learn and unlearn things – all very splendid entrepreneurship characteristics. Knowledge is vital in entrepreneurship and your ability to learn as much as you can about business generally, and also the industry in which you intend to operate, is critical to success. It also means you are willing to seek more knowledge, and also discover what works and what does not. It further means that you can adapt to new things, new methods of work to improve your business, and adapt to what the market wants. Adaptability also enables you to use mentors, consultants etc., in your enterprise whenever you need them, instead of being fixed like concrete on your ideas – whether good or terrible. Northeastern University’s article about The Importance of Creativity in Business is worth reading, and also gives further advice on how entrepreneurs can foster creativity in their organizations or businesses.  
  1. Salesmanship is another essential entrepreneurship characteristic. I know that some people are already arguing in their minds here and almost swearing that an entrepreneur need not be a salesman. I don’t agree with that idea. Though you can literally hire zillions of people to sell for you, the starting point is for you the entrepreneur to convince people, and even the very people you hire to sell for you, that you have something worth selling and that you are a serious and reliable person. This is salesmanship. You need to convince people to work for you, financiers and investors to fund your business, etc. This is why I agree with people who say everyone is in the business of sales. Forget your job title, everyone is in sales (and that’s a good thing!) by Dr. Cindy Mcgovern reiterates this viewpoint. Are we still together? The customer remains the King, and if you cannot sell then your business might become extinct soon. If you cannot sell then you are sold. An entrepreneur with a salesman characteristic is persuasive, is patient and is optimistic (a salesman could bounce fifteen times and still keep his/her head up and come back for the sixteenth attempt), can convince people to believe in something, can develops tribes of followers, understand customer service, branding etc. Parth’s 5 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Start in Sales further emphasizes my point here! Avoid reading it at your peril. I once heard a story about a job seeker who was intentionally kept waiting at the reception for a full day, and at the end of the day was simply given an appointment letter without an interview – because he had exhibited enough patience. How many people can spend about eight hours waiting for an interview? Patience pays! An entrepreneur needs this kind of characteristic because there are situations like this in the journey.
  1. Discipline and focus. Now, I guess you know the value of discipline in entrepreneurship. Don’t you? Discipline is required in managing money, making the right logical decisions, time management, strong work ethic, etc. One of the reasons why some homo sapiens can never be entrepreneurs is the issue of indiscipline. I mean the type of humans who will party and drop down when they make one big sale. The kind that enters into enemy business territory without planning. Lack of focus and zigzagging from one tactic or strategy to another are good reasons for business failure. This is the reason why 10 Strategies Entrepreneurs Can Use to Boost Discipline should be mandatory for every entrepreneur, in my opinion. Additionally, discipline transforms a dreamer into a doer and improves both the inner and outer elements of an entrepreneur.  With discipline, you can stick to the right things to do, whether they are palatable or not. It makes you sometimes chose pain instead of bad comfort that will destroy your business. I guess we are making good progress in our lesson today! Not so?
  1. People person. Again, an entrepreneur must be a people person. You cannot succeed with your dreams if you don’t share it and give it out to people to move with it. This is common sense, and it’s a bit embarrassing to emphasize this. A people person listens, collaborates, communicates, networks, uses team work, motivates, utilizes social skills, has empathy, blah blah blah! There are entrepreneurs today who pay CEO’s they hire millions of dollars (I mean the green back – not some resemblances) per annum. Do you think they are crazy? No – they are not? Zach Ferres argues that The Human Element is the Most Important Business Resource. Whether you believe in this or not is your business. Not so? Quoting Mary Kay Ash; ‘People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.’ This starts with the people you work with and then later the market. You need to win over the people within first before you win over people outside.  I guess this is why Lawrence Bossidy said this about people, “Nothing we do is more important than hiring people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies.” This further emphasizes the point that the ability to connect with, manage and handle people properly is one of the 7 essential entrepreneurship characteristics.  
  1. Organization and planning. In this we also include leadership characteristics. This is another essential entrepreneurship characteristic. This is one of the reasons why some people say entrepreneurs are born, principally because children who grow up with entrepreneurial parents and relatives learn these business organization and planning skills much earlier. You can see some of these skills in children in the football field, with the organizers and leaders giving instructions while others follow. They are resourceful, tactical and strategic in thinking, working towards some form of efficiency and effectiveness, critical thinking etc. to achieve some goals and objectives. Even organizing a team to win a soccer game is not an easy thing.

Enterprises globally today employ MBA graduates due to their abilities to do business management and administration – involving organization and planning. We often hear people talk about the business plan. Most probably when you go to the bank for money to finance your business (you know those irritating list of requirements), the bankers want to see some form or organization and plan in your business – otherwise they could imagine a form of disaster dressed with a business name. David Sarokin’s article entitled Why Is Planning an Important Step in Starting a Business? emphasizes this point I’m making here. With this essential entrepreneurship characteristic of organization and planning, you set your eyes on your vision and mission, with your goals and objectives, and you are also decisive towards your progress.

Look Mr. Entrepreneur – management involves planning, organizing, leading, staffing and controlling an enterprise – as per the management experts, but you are free to come up with your version of management if you like. The leading and staffing components could be handled under the people person characteristic above, but this still leaves you with the planning, organization and controlling elements which I deal with in this last point. Are you following me?

I’ve written quite a bit today – and for this purpose I will make a swift ending here. I don’t want you to run away from this blog due to the long posts. Ok?

With every good wish, and stay safe!

The Wise Entrepreneur

Picture of Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka, a Ugandan chartered accountant and motivational speaker with 24 years of diverse experience, specializes in business administration, international consultancy, and lecturing. He advocates for personal empowerment through balanced living, qualitative leadership, and paradigm shifts, aiming to unlock individual potential globally.

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