Starting Up

15 Characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and how to develop yours

When one thinks of Bill Gates, one is likely to feel that he lives a life full of vacations and excess free time. But that is not true. Most successful entrepreneurs are known to have a great amount of passion and energy.

Passion is what drives me forward. Passion is what makes me go to bed at 2am and wake up at 6am. – Aliko Dangote

In fact, such people tend to possess the capacity to work long hours with minimal sleep. What many don’t realize is that entrepreneurs work longer hours than their employees, trying to manage their time between family, business duties and meetings.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, you have nothing.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Warren Buffett, world’s richest investor and founder of Berkshire Hathaway.

Ability to take responsibility

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It’s best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Steve Jobs

Successful entrepreneurs are known to take responsibility of their actions and decisions even in the face of failure. They don’t blame their employees; instead they take charge, correct their business mistakes and move on.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Oprah Winfrey

Long-standing commitment

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]It’s my job for Oracle, the number two software company in the world; to become the number one software company in the world. My job is to build better than the competition, sell those products in the marketplace and eventually supplant Microsoft and move from being number two to number one.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Larry Ellison

This is a vital character possessed by any successful entrepreneurs. They are known to be committed not just for the moment, but for many years to come. Take the example of Warren Buffet, who is in his 80s. Yet, he is committed to the growth of Berkshire Hathaway, which he founded many years ago.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]I’m not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don’t have time for dying.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Ingvar Kamprad

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]If I make a commitment to something, I will stick to it no matter what.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Jenny Craig

Self Belief

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]You are nuts and you should be proud of it. Stick with what you believe in.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Trip Hawkins

Successful entrepreneurs display high levels of self confidence. They have little belief in fate, they strongly believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their goals. This is a major character venture capitalists watch out for before financing any business venture.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Some people intertwine self belief and faith. But I stand to say they are not the same. Faith is not self belief. While faith says it can be done, self belief says ‘I can do it’. While faith says there is possibility, self belief says ‘I am the possibility’. Faith without self belief is vain.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Ajaero Tony Martins


When the going gets tough, the tough get going – is an old adage. That is what persistence stands for; the ability to press on in the face of hardship. Without persistence, nothing can be achieved. When you think of persistence; think of Henry Ford, founder of Ford motor Company and Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. The world is full with educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Ray Kroc

Goal Setting

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]I intend to be, the richest man in the world.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

– Howard Hughes

All successful entrepreneurs are inevitably goal oriented. They have the ability to set clear goals. These goals are high and challenging, but realistic and attainable. To them, life without goals set and achieved is a life wasted.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]I think I am very goal oriented. I’d like to win America’s cup. I’d like Oracle to be the No 1 software company in the world. I still think it is possible to beat Microsoft.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Larry Ellison

Ability to Take Risk

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]In today’s rapidly changing world, people who are not taking risk are the risk takers.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Robert Kiyosaki

As we all know, every business is a risk and to undertake it, one must be daring. Successful entrepreneurs are risk takers; they put down their time, energy and resources to make sure their business stands the test of time.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]You must take risks, both with your own money or with borrowed money. Risk taking is essential to business growth.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-J. Paul Getty

Intelligent use of feedback

Feedback is an element that successful entrepreneurs don’t joke with. In fact, it is so important that they surround themselves with smart teams to get feedbacks about decisions they take or had taken earlier. Most importantly, they make intelligent use of the feedback they receive. Please note that feedback can be in the form of criticism, opinion or advice.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Sometimes, I think my most important job as a CEO is to listen for bad news. If you don’t act on it, your people will eventually stop bringing bad news to your attention and that is the beginning of the end.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Bill Gates

Strong Self Imposed Standards

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Warren Buffett

Successful entrepreneurs have laid down principles which they don’t compromise on. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you must be firm, strict and be a man or woman of principles.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know if you did it or not.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Oprah Winfrey

Ability to work under pressure and uncertainty

To be an entrepreneur, you must have the ability to work under pressure and uncertainty. Whenever you are facing tough times in your business, remember Donald Trump, who was in personal debt of a billion dollars and his corporation was in debt of $9 billion. Yet, he kept his cool and worked his way out of the debts.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]You must not only learn to live with tension, you must seek it out. You must learn to thrive on stress.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-J. Paul Getty

Strong Internal Control

Control is essential to the business survival of every successful entrepreneur. To build a successful business, you need firm control on your cash flow and all other business systems. Control is a watch word of entrepreneurs and investors.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]In order to be a player on the fast track, you will need to have a plan on how to gain more and more control. On the fast track, it is control more than money that counts.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Rich Dad.

Intelligent Use of Resources

At times, entrepreneurs are faced with the challenge of building a business with limited capital. When building a small startup from scratch, there is need for efficient utilization of the limited resources. It’s called building a business on a ‘Shoe string budget’.

Ability to quickly learn from failures

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they are going to make mistakes.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

– Henry Ross Perot

Successful entrepreneurs make a lot of mistakes that sometimes lead to business failures. But but they don’t get bogged down by defeat. Instead, they quickly acknowledge their business mistakes, correct them, learn from their failures and move on. They fail, but they don’t quit. Instead, they get inspired by their failure and use their failure as stepping stones to success.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Henry Ford

Money as a Means of Keeping Score

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]I don’t make deals for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Donald Trump

This characteristic might sound a little funny, but it is a common attribute found in most successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs use the money acquired from their business as a landmark, a target and a sign to move on to other business challenges. An entrepreneur who makes his/ her first million dollars will be happy with the achievement and will set a goal to make his/ her first 100 million dollars.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]Build wealth as a by product of your business success. If wealth is your only objective in business, you will probably fail.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

– J. Paul Getty

Delayed Gratification

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not get paid for it.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

– Oprah Winfrey

We should have listed this first, but it was better saving it to the last. Most individuals like the concept of getting rich quickly, invest today and gain a 1000% ROI in a week with pyramid schemes, etc. Entrepreneurs know that profit or reward may not be instant and may even take as much as five years before receiving any dividend. Sometimes, they work without pay, hoping for a greater reward in years to come.

[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”left” quotestyle=”style02″]I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on assumption they could close the market the next day and not re-open it for five years.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]

-Warren Buffett

Now that you are aware of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, it is advisable that you inculcate these as your success will be limited without these. Whether you are an entrepreneur interested in developing your business or a social entrepreneur, it will do good to you if you start working on developing them.

Entrepreneurial Learning

Have a strong passion for what you want to do in life. Be powerful and be responsible for your life. You cannot sit back and accept life the way it comes to you. Create your own path of life than blindly following in dark. Cultivate entrepreneurial skills. Test yourself and take risk to see where you stand. you are taking risk if you don’t take risk.

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