In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, this week’s content will be focused entirely on entrepreneurship.
There's something about people who make new things happen in business. That is, there are some things about the people who turn new business ideas into reality — particular personality traits and behaviors that successful entrepreneurs seem to share.
Wondering what those might be? Wonder no more.
The checklist below highlights five characteristics common to the can-do innovator, and how those traits help to turn good ideas into workable new endeavors.
1. Unusual Perception
Great entrepreneurs see things that others do not. David Kay, of idea-incubator Yuenfen Flow, equates this with the mindset of an artist. A painter looks at a landscape and sees the lines and color that will fill a canvas with art. An entrepreneur looks at a system — like a marketplace — and sees the service or product that will satisfy an under-served customer base. That's the spark of the idea. The fire from it is fueled by the next item on this list ...
2. Overriding Passion
Once the seed is planted, the farmer doesn't hang up his hat. It's back into the field to cultivate what's in the ground. Similarly, entrepreneurs apply themselves to getting a good idea to grow with a relentless energy, and a kind of invulnerability to long hours and nerve-wracking risk. People around them recognize it. Brian Schwartz, author of 50 Interviews: A Biographical Journal into the Minds of Masters, puts it this way about the entrepreneurial mindset: 'If I offered you $1 million today to give this up, you'd tell me to take a hike. It's like an addiction, you can't let it go.'
3. Teachable Leadership
A unique idea and a drive to make the idea materialize is a good start, of course. But successful entrepreneurs know that they need others, and so the third factor that defines the best of them comes into play: leadership. As the experts at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center outline, this entrepreneurial leadership comes in the following forms: they communicate integrity, honesty, and fearlessness. Most importantly, the successful entrepreneur is able to teach their ideas and best practices to the people who want to help make them happen.
4. Team Building
Leading isn't enough, however. One has to lead the right people. Andy Mok, who started Red Pagoda Resources to staff startups with crack team members, recently told conference attendees that great entrepreneurs are marked by the great teams they assemble.
Finally, it's not enough to measure the great entrepreneurs by their constructive traits. There's one key element to all of the best ones that counts for just about everything when a project loses ground: bounce-back. Stellar business starters can do it. They get back up, they find new support, and they generate the next idea. They move on.
Maybe you've been out there in the entrepreneurial world. Maybe you are one yourself. What are the characteristics of the best kinds of entrepreneurs you've seen?