Discovering the Entrepreneur Within

Now and then, everyone dreams of running their own business. But with the failure rate for new business start-ups averaging between 75% and 95% the first year (depending on whose statistics you believe) how do you know what it takes to effectively start and run a profitable business.

Simply look at successful, well-known companies that interest you and read up on their founders. Try looking at Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, Harland Sanders, founder of KFC, Steve Jobs of Apple, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, David Neeleman of Jet Blue or even Oprah Winfrey. Read a few online biographies and select a few whose careers really interest you. Then research a little more.


You’ll soon see that most of the world’s successful entrepreneurs have a number of traits in common. Here are some of the traits you’re going to see.


Successful entrepreneurs are visionaries with unique perspectives that set them apart from ordinary business people.


Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others see nothing. Where most business people focus on the risk factor, entrepreneurs focus on the potential for high rewards. What most of us consider obstacles that need to be overcome, they consider just another challenge that they know they can meet.


An entrepreneur’s vision is a perfect balance of foresight and hindsight. It’s always focused on the future and new profit-making potentials. At the same time, it is guided – not restricted or held back – by their prior experience. Successful entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes and never make the same mistake twice.


Their fierce sense of independence also makes entrepreneurs a completely different breed of business people. They don’t want to be shackled by corporate bureaucracy and red tape that interfere with the pursuit of profits. By being in complete control, they know they can capitalize on opportunities with high profit potentials they otherwise couldn’t. Entrepreneurs are willing to trade the security of a 9 to 5 job with a steady income for the freedom to pursue far more lucrative, but less secure, business opportunities.


This independence forces entrepreneurs to fast and effective decision makers. A successful entrepreneur is an expert at gathering the facts, weighing the risks against the potential rewards and then making a decision.


Successful entrepreneurs are also executors who do what it takes to get the job done – even if it means doing it all themselves. Failure to execute is the major fundamental cause of business failures – whether you’re a big corporation or a small start-up venture. Entrepreneurs are well aware of this fact and succeed or fail based on their ability to execute their business plan.


According to Donald Trump, knowing how to make the best deal is a key to success in any business. Entrepreneurs know this too and the successful ones are experts at the art of making a deal. Whether they’re negotiating commercial space with a building owner, trying to lure a top sales person from a competitor or finding a new, lower cost supplier or manufacturer for their product, they always drive the hardest and make the best deal for themselves and their business.


Being able to raise capital and find revenue sources other than their own – or through high interest bank loans – is another trait of an accomplished entrepreneur. Any successful independent businessperson knows it’s always better to use someone else’s money rather than utilize your personal financial reserves.


Entrepreneurs are passionate about their businesses but not blindly in love with them. If their businesses are making money, they continue to invest in them to build profitability. When their businesses are not doing well, they know when to stop investing in them and just cut their losses and walk away.


Entrepreneurs are the consummate executives. They know how to do everything from strategic planning, to financing to marketing and sales and they can flawlessly execute all the details and make money. After all, they work for the toughest boss in the world – themselves.


If you possess these traits, and are tough enough to be the toughest boss you’ve ever worked for, you just might succeed as an entrepreneur.