What Traits Do Entrepreneurs Share?

Accounting firm Ernst and Young surveyed 685 business leaders from around the world to find out what makes a good entrepreneur. What they found is entrepreneurs have many qualities in common with traditional managers.

“Creative, innovative individuals may possess copious ideas, but it takes leadership and business discipline to turn them into successful ventures,” the report said

The public’s perception of an entrepreneur might be Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg grinding away in a Harvard dorm, but according to the report, entrepreneurs tend to be well-seasoned.

“Although many entrepreneurial leaders start at a reasonably young age, the experience they gain through education and time spent in a more traditional corporate environment is vital to their future success,” the report said.

In fact, half of the respondents said they transitioned from traditional employment to starting their own venture. The majority of companies had reported revenues of between $10 million to $20 billion

And most entrepreneurs don’t create a major company like Facebook in their first try. According to the report, most of the respondents considered themselves serial entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurial leaders who embark on more than one venture gain valuable insight and lessons into how to make a new business successful,” the report said.

Entrepreneurs said the greatest challenges to starting a business was funding and getting the right team. The report recommends entrepreneurs develop a network of resources to find the right people and attain financing.

Entrepreneurs might not all be like Zuckerberg, but they do all have common qualities. According to the report, entrepreneurs tend to believe they have a strong control over their environment. They believe success or failure flows directly from their actions. They are also likely to see opportunity where others see disruption. They also accept calculated risk and tolerate failure.

Entrepreneurs also had other periphery characteristics in common.

“(There are) six guides to action that entrepreneurial leaders live every day: passion, persistence, the ability to work with a team yet follow their own instincts, the creation of a “success culture,” an eye for niches and market gaps, and a focus on building a financial ecosystem to support the venture,” the report said.


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