Being an entrepreneur

Common traits of entrepreneurs

Christopher Golis, author of Enterprise and Venture Capital (2009), identified the following common traits of entrepreneurs:

  • a high energy level
  • commercial focus (e.g. they understand and are interested in money and how to make it)
  • enjoyment of challenges and a creative attitude towards overcoming obstacles.

In starting up a business to commercialise an idea, you are entering the world of entrepreneurship and small business. In this pre start-up phase, you need to decide if this is the business and lifestyle for you.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is a person who converts an opportunity into a workable and marketable concept. They apply their time, money, skills and effort to the process of getting their product or service into the marketplace.

Entrepreneurs come in all ages and from various backgrounds – all types of people can learn to start up a business.

Entrepreneurs are doers and thinkers – they like action, but they are also very methodical.

Being motivated

Motivation determines the level of effort that you and others will put into achieving the goal of commercialising an idea. It is concerned with how hard a person is willing to try. Importantly, motivation is about the quality as well as quantity of the effort.

Starting a new business or venture

Many successful entrepreneurs say they started a new business or venture because they:

  • felt that they were blocked from achieving great things in the company they worked for
  • had a personal experience in wanting a product or service to help themselves or their family, but it was not available – so they developed it
  • have always had a burning desire to start a business.

Think about the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers.

First, consider your personal, family, financial, professional lifestyle and social needs. These issues affect every businessperson. Then, prioritise this list. What sort of business best fits your top priorities?

Second, think about your health, energy levels and personal wellbeing. Are you in shape to start a business? Do you have access to support from family and friends?

Third, review your current job situation. Are you excited about going to work each day? Is there something else you would rather do?

Finally, pull all of this together to explore various businesses you would like to be in. Consider your needs, your health, time, energy and what type of work really motivates you.

Being a successful entrepreneur

Successful entrepreneurs are shown to be moderate risk takers who don't leave things to chance. They have a great desire to succeed, to solve problems put in front of them, and to have total control of the work they do.