What an Entrepreneur Looks Like

While there’s not one single profile of what an entrepreneur looks and acts like, there are certain characteristics that are pretty consistent across the board. How many of these can you identify with?

This list is adapted from Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership, by Jeff Levy and David Nilssen.

1. Competitiveness. We’re not always competitive with others; sometimes we want to best ourselves. As Levy and Nilssen say in the book: “Entrepreneurs love winning. They see challenge as the journey and enjoy the victory as much as – or even more than—the actual reward.”

2. Decisiveness. My husband calls this characteristic in me “bossiness.” Many employees don’t like making decisions, because they know someone else will make them for them. That would be us entrepreneurs. We’re accountable for our decisions and try to learn from our mistakes. It’s been a lesson for me, but when we’re not defensive about our mistakes, we can identify the unique opportunities they present.

3. Fear of Mediocrity. I love this one. What entrepreneur have you heard of who was satisfied with being “so-so?” We want to succeed, and we’ll work our butts off to do so.

4. Flexibility. If you’ve started a business, you know that you have to wear many hats, which requires the utmost flexibility. We sell to clients, balance the books, make the coffee and answer the phones. And have to be able to change our strategy on a dime if necessary.

5. Great Communication. A successful entrepreneur can communicate her vision to others and help get them excited about being part of it. That comes in handy in the selling process, as well as when trying to motivate employees.

6. Imagination. What is a business but a creative idea? Entrepreneurs find innovative solutions for common problems. Levy and Nilssen say: “Potential solutions continually come to mind in bursts of creativity, like popcorn.”

7. Self-Confidence. You’ve got to be pretty confident to take the risk of starting a new business. We’re willing to take out a second mortgage on our home or endanger our family’s finances because we believe in our business.

The list could go on and on, but these are the ones I bet we all could agree that we share. Can’t we?