What Are the Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs?

Successful entrepreneurs are passionate about their product or service and have a burning desire to succeed. We will now examine some of the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs and we will also look at ways of using these examples to develop the traits needed for success.

Approach to Risk-taking

Risk-taking is a key aspect of any entrepreneurial enterprise. A successful entrepreneur realises that they must invest their own time and money in their venture if it is to succeed. They believe that failing to attempt something is a greater failure than trying and not succeeding. However, before they commit themselves and their resources, they recognise the importance of assessing the risks. They examine the specific risks attached to their business venture and weigh up their ability to manage these risks and the challenges they will face against the benefits that they will realise and the profits they will gain.

Vocation and Speciality

Entrepreneurs discover their vocation and their speciality — and they develop these interests into a competency. They understand they need to work hard to realise their goals and there is no long-term success without developing their speciality into a real competence. They have a good overall knowledge of the main functional areas of a business such as sales, marketing, finance, and operations. However, they recognise where they excel and focus on this specific area so that they become an expert in their field.

Work Ethic

All successful entrepreneurs have a firm belief in the benefits of hard work. They are not clock-watchers or ‘nine to fivers’. They don’t sleep in late or go home early. Most entrepreneurs regularly work over 50 hours per week and they view weekends as an extra two days to get work done. In other words, they work extremely hard in order to ensure the success of their business venture. And it doesn’t stop when they retire. Most business owners do not stop working voluntarily. To them, their business is their life, no matter what their age.


Entrepreneurs are not ‘born lucky’. Many entrepreneurs come from poor backgrounds and a large number have experienced at least one business failure. However, they have the ability to motivate themselves and are not easily stopped when they feel they are on the right track. They are able to channel their desires into a focused and informed effort to realise major goals. They are inquisitive and recognise the importance of trends and social forces. They are not easily deterred by set-backs and they are on the look-out for opportunities to exploit at every stage.


Successful entrepreneurs possess the ability to view things with a long-term prospective to create a compelling vision of the future. They can see situations from a variety of perspectives and this creativity allows for original ideas and innovation. This ability enables them to tune out distractions so that they can see a goal and work towards it, even though they may not be able to verbalize the actual objective. It is this exceptional vision that sets them apart from others.