5 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

5-characteristics-of-an-entrepreneurEntrepreneurs provide much of the driving force that propels both the U.S. and global economies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. start-up businesses in their first year of operation were responsible for the creation of nearly 2.5 million jobs in 2010.

Understanding the primary characteristics of entrepreneurial professionals can help students achieve a greater degree of success in the business world.

Here are five distinguishing characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.


A 2014 article published in Bloomberg Business indicates that entrepreneurs who continue to pursue business opportunities even after failure can increase their odds of success with each successive effort. A study conducted by Kathryn Shaw and Francine Lafontaine examined the success rates for Texas retail entrepreneurs over 21 years. While 71 percent of all aspiring entrepreneurs gave up after one failed attempt, those who continued to pursue their business objectives were more likely to succeed in their future efforts than first-time retail business owners.

The lessons learned from a failed initiative can often be applied to future projects to enhance the overall chance of success.

Creativity and Risk-Taking

The ability to think outside the box is a definite asset for aspiring entrepreneurs. The right idea can often make or break a start-up.

Along with a propensity for innovation, most successful entrepreneurs are also willing to take risks and to put themselves in the line of fire on behalf of their products and their companies. The combination of these traits can allow entrepreneurs to promote their ideas in the consumer marketplace and to present their case to prospective investors more effectively.

By taking an original approach and pursuing it despite potential risks, entrepreneurs can achieve a higher degree of success in their chosen fields.

An Open Mind

The experts at Entrepreneur Magazine list open-mindedness as one of the most essential qualities for those seeking to make their mark in the business environment. The ability to learn from others and to apply their ideas to the challenges of the working environment is critical for entrepreneurs and CEOs alike. A rigid adherence to established dogma can stifle innovation and reduce the investment of employees in the success of a product, service or company. By remaining flexible open to change, entrepreneurs can often inspire their team members to achieve remarkable results and innovative solutions for a wide range of new and ongoing projects.

A Thirst for Knowledge

While some famous entrepreneurs have made their fortunes without benefit of higher education, the majority of these business pioneers achieved greatness in part because of their love of learning and their desire to continue their educations throughout their lives. Creating the right foundation of knowledge can give students a head start on their entrepreneurial careers and can prevent novice mistakes that could jeopardize their rise to the top. Staying current with industry trends and literature can also provide added support for innovators in the business field. By prioritizing educational opportunities and the acquisition of knowledge, prospective entrepreneurs can enhance their chances of success in the competitive marketplace.


Faith in one’s ideas is a critical element to success as an entrepreneur. Developing and presenting innovative products and concepts to investors is a key part of the fundraising process. To perform effectively in these environments, entrepreneurs must have solid self-confidence and a talent for expressing their ideas effectively. Most successful individuals in this field describe themselves as outgoing and passionate about their work. These traits can enhance the ability to project confidence about the prospects of a particular endeavor or start-up project. Confidence and enthusiasm are infectious and can inspire employees and investors alike to support the efforts of the entrepreneur.

For students who possess these five characteristics, a career as an entrepreneur can offer significant benefits. By taking on the challenges of self-employment in the business marketplace, these remarkable individuals can make a real impact on the options available to consumers and on the direction of innovation in society as a whole.