Successful entrepreneurs possess a surprisingly similar set of personal and professional characteristics no matter what kind of company they lead: high-tech, logistics, retail, or customer service. Whether you are considering starting your own small business or simply want to hone your ability to work with up-and-coming entrepreneurs, you can learn a lot from studying how the best ones think.
Daniel Isenberg, who taught entrepreneurship for more than a decade at Harvard University and recently wrote a book on the subject, is among the many scholars who have offered a list of common entrepreneurial traits. He found that many independent businesspeople who become successful are contrarians. They see the positive in situations that other people deem largely negative, and they maintain a sense of self-direction. Isenberg believes that it would be difficult to be successful without such a contrarian attitude: the ability to see the worth of undervalued investments and turn them into products of significant value.
Researchers have also identified passion as a key entrepreneurial trait. Enjoying what you do is not only a satisfying way to make a living. It can mean the difference between mediocrity and success.
Successful entrepreneurs share a restlessness and sense of discomfort with the status quo, a perception that there is always more to accomplish. They become impatient with inefficiency. They also often demonstrate independence from an early age, frequently taking on youthful business ventures such as paper routes.
Entrepreneurs have a strong appetite for risk-taking, understanding that the more you put into a project, the more you are likely to gain from it. If you are considering a transition from your corporate job to starting your own business, begin by suggesting innovations that can assist your current company while getting into the habit of thinking like an entrepreneur.
Learn to play, use your imagination, and brainstorm if you want to develop the kind of powerful creative talent that can transform any business. And if you really want to think like an entrepreneur, learn to dream big. Most people in today’s world learn to focus on practicality, yet few entrepreneurs become truly successful without learning to cultivate confidence in their their abilities in order to make an impact on the world.