These Three Traits Make For Great Entrepreneurs

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We understand that striking out into the entrepreneurial world on your own can be daunting and intimidating. We talk to a lot of entrepreneurs in this business.

There are a number of quality attributes shared by successful entrepreneurs, among them commitment, intelligence and drive, but I particularly enjoyed the Harvard Business Review rundown of three traits that really bring success.

If you’re thinking that means a list, then you’ve pretty much figured me out. Let’s get right to it!

  1. Practicality. Your business can be truly outrageous. Maybe you want to knit sweaters for goats who live in the chilly environs of the Andes mountains. Heck, there’s a market for everything, if you know where to look.But you should always sprinkle a handful of practicality on those plans. Explore the market for goat sweaters. Develop a plan to get into that market, and a plan to advertise your business in a way that underscores both the quality of your product and the affable absurdity of what you’re trying to do. You can have an outlandish idea and implement it in a coldly rational way. In fact, the HBR and I would both recommend it.
  2. Have a purpose. What is the value of your products and services? How can you add new ones that aren’t just cool, but give your customers what they want and indeed demand? If you don’t know the answer to that, you’re not going to be successful.Again, you have an idea that’s off the grid a bit, but it has to be practical to implement and people have to actually want it.
  3. Be impatient. Some businesses can be built up to the point where you can sit back and watch your  sales roll in. For entrepreneurs who are coming up by their bootstraps and probably making delicious bootstrap soup until they find success, that’s simply not an option.Craft a plan and implement it quickly, secure franchise financing, adjust it on the fly and get out there. Nothing less than committed action—or as the HBR puts it, inspiration with perspiration—will get the job done.

Do you think these three traits define success? Let us know!

Photo credit to tanyah at

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  1. Love your lists of traits – especially about value. There is an old saying, “if you build it, they will come.”. But, in today’s business world, it is more if you provide value, they will come.
    I personally think that all traits can be boiled down to one thing – desire. If you have the desire, you will find all the other stuff inside you – even how to make money from mountain goat sweaters.

  2. I like the article but I am not sure these are traits. Trait is 1. a characteristic feature or quality distinguishing a particular person or thing

    i do not think practicality is a trait for the entrepreneur as it is stated above. It seems more as business advice. I do not think of impatience as a trait unless you are truly impatient. This article seems to suggest that you should be impatient when you are starting out – Seems to me it should be labled PERSISTANCE – I beleive that PERSISTANCE is a qualifying trait for entrepreneurs. Having a purpose does not seem to be a trait but rather FOCUS would be the trait for the purpose you wish to persue.

    As a builder of nationwide Marketing company, seven figure property development company and equally successful law firm – I may just be lucky and have it all wrong LOL

    My two cents!

  3. Thanks for the comment! I think it’s reasonable to assume that you need more than three traits to be a successful entrepreneur, and persistence would definitely be at the top of my list. I just thought the article I linked to had some interesting things to say about how those three traits fit in.

    Glad to hear your business is doing so well, by the way. I doubt you got lucky!

  4. I especially like how you highlighted practicality. I’m consistently impressed with how entreprenuers can find clever, practical and seemingly obvious answers to difficult problems that make you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

  5. I just wrote a book – about to be published – that is devoted to entrepreneurs. My take is a bit different.
    As an entrepreneur that comes from a family of entrepreneurs, I firmly believe that three key characteristics of entrepreneurs are: a lot of courage; a bit of naivete and a touch of insanity.

    1. To be able to face down every challenge that constantly comes at us entrepreneurs often requires a lot of courage – the ability to face fear.

    2. If the founder of a new company knew every negative that was about to surface – it could be totally demoralizing and downright frightening. A touch of naivete is a great way to keep your dream, focus and vision alive and stay positive.

    3. When Marconi said he could send a radio wave across the Atlantic he was called crazy. Just as so many other pioneering entrepreneurs that changed the world. A touch of insanity that keeps us oblivious to many of the naysayers is a great characteristic to have.

    Michael Boxenbaum


  6. Michael, terrific comment. I think you do have to be a little bit crazy to survive in the world of business.

    Would you be interested in talking to us about your book in the near future? Love to have you expand on these ideas in an interview.

  7. For becoming a known entrepreneur you have to be very optimize in decision making and you cannot seat back.You need to think of new ideas and implement it as soon as you can because it is a competitive world and lot more person applying their brains to become a successful entrepreneur .Any way nice post and thanks for sharing.

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