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15 Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

By Craig Wagener D.Optom, Ph.D., MBA, MCNE

When studying successful people it becomes apparent that they do share certain
identifiable skills sets, talents and characteristics. These together enable them to
succeed in business and in life.
Some of these traits you may already possess. These are the things you do well and
without effort. These are your strengths. If you find that you do not have a certain
skill or talent you can always seek out individuals who do have them. Endeavor to
learn from them to complement your existing skills and talents. Some skills can be
learned and developed.
Let s take a look at what research reveals to be the common skills, talents and
characteristics found in successful entrepreneurs:
1. Passionate about what they do.
They are driven by a clear sense of purpose and passion. They often have a dream
with a definite goal or end point in mind. They are focused on achieving their goals
and are not easily detracted by opinions of others. This strong emotion brings big
results. Passion is what drives these individuals to do things that others say cant be
2. Possess a Spirit of Determination.
Entrepreneurs who want to build a startup will need to be determined to succeed.
They may get knocked down repeatedly but need to be determined to learn from
their mistakes and get up, dust themselves off, and move forward with renewed
motivation. Listening to constructive criticism and making the changes that are
necessary, in order to move forward, is also part of this spirit of determination.
3. Have Ambition.
Having ambition will drive the successful person to accomplish their goals.
Successful people produce results and dont make excuses for their mistakes and
failures. It may only take one sound idea to achieve their goals and make them
successful. This attribute contributes to the individual having enthusiasm, willpower,
and long term commitment in seeing things through to a successful outcome.
4. Have self-discipline.
Successful people have self-discipline which they use to their advantage in working
hard and being willing to go the extra mile. They have a burning desire to succeed
which drives them to be self-disciplined and do whatever it takes to get the job done

well. They are focused on their primary goals and objectives and dont easily stray
from them.

5. Fearless.
Successful people tend to be somewhat of a risk-taker. This does not mean that they
are careless or reckless but take calculated risks, keeping their goals in mind.
Successful entrepreneurs use their intuition to mitigate startup business risk. When
they see opportunities they move forward after carefully assessing the risks
involved. They have developed a comfort level with uncertainty and base decisions
on the current data available, even if they dont have all the information. Their
theory is, if they wait for all the information and do all the assessment and
analyzing, they will never get to moving forward, or the opportunity will have
passed them by.
6. Have Specific Knowledge.
Successful people have a specific know-how of what they are trying to do. If they
dont have all the knowledge skills and talents required to reach their goals, they
will find someone else who does. They recognize that certain skills and talents are
required to make them successful. They dont just fly by the seat of their pants, but
diligently seek to add this knowledge to their portfolio of skills.
7. Possess the Courage to Admit They Have Made a Mistake.
This may be one of the most essential skill sets to have. Dwelling on your mistakes
may paralyze you in moving forward or making appropriate directional changes. So
the best course of action is to admit that you have made a mistake, fix the mistake,
and move beyond it as quickly as you can. This is what successful entrepreneurs do.
8. Are Flexible.
Successful people possess this skill-set which serves them well in adjusting to
changing circumstances.
Nothing in life pans out just the way we envision it to. Often times initial goals and
dreams may need to be modified and adjusted to meet a changing need or
circumstance. Being flexible helps the successful person achieve this.
9. Have the Ability to Promote.
Whatever your temperament or level of extrovertism, as a successful leader you will
need to find effective ways to sell yourself. You will need to sell your idea, vision,
dream, and or product to prospective partners, employees, customers, and bankers.
Having this ability to promote yourself and your dreams to others in an effective
way,will go far in achieving ultimate success.


Find Solutions.

Successful entrepreneurs will always seek to find solutions to their problems. They
dont take no for an answer and will always look beyond the problem. They see
challenges as opportunities and move forward to take advantage of those
opportunities. There is always a silver lining to each dark cloud is how they think.
They are optimistic about finding solutions and dont let immediate challenges get
them off track.

Take Responsibility for Their Actions.

Successful people realize that the buck stops with them. They take personal
responsibility for all their actions. They dont make excuses or blame others for a
poor outcome. They look forward and not backwards, and you wont find them
complaining or whining about their situation. They are positive and confident,
knowing that they will achieve future success.

Co-Operate with Others.

Successful people have learned that achieving success, is not just up to them
personally. It involves other people as well. In order to maximize their efforts,
successful entrepreneurs know that they need to work well with others. Cooperation and collaboration is what will move them forward to success.

Are Balanced

Maintaining a strong sense of perspective is essential to survive as an entrepreneur.

Balancing business with personal needs requires a simple clear focus. It involves
being at peace with yourself and others and learning from failures. Understanding
that not all battles are worth winning, and there may be times when you need to
simply walk away from certain situations.

Can Shift Their Focus.

Having passion and ambition is not always enough. Successful people have learned
how to shift focus.
They have mastered the skill-set of macro and micro management. It is compelling
to be a visionary and see, from a macro point of view, the big picture. Yet it is also
extremely important to be able to see the details or micro point of view as well. The
one cannot exist without the other. Attending to the minutia carefully and with
diligence will bring success and the macro or dream will be realized. Successful
entrepreneurs have learned to shift focus between these two opposing viewpoints to
achieve their ultimate success.

Resilient and focused.

Entrepreneurs who are successful are resilient and bounce back after being
stretched, diminished, or compressed by others who dont share their vision. These

individuals will stay focused on their goals and dreams. They have learned to feed
off others negativity and actually gain strength and determination from it. They are
self-reliant and dont get off course by allowing others to detract from their goals.
So, what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur and how can one identify the
successful from the unsuccessful? The successful individuals share the common 15