The Four Characteristics
of Entrepreneurs

Guest blog by Professor Vikas Shah

President TiE UK North, Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship,
MIT Sloan MBA / Lisbon

Entrepreneurship is not a dark art, it’s a job—albeit one with some very unique aspects.

As with any career, those who really succeed invariably have some shared characteristics.  From having worked with entrepreneurs around the world, here are some common threads I have seen:


1.    Fear & Anxiety


The truth is that any business owner will have a certain degree of anxiety about their enterprise failing, but those who make the leap into entrepreneurship and continue to grow are the ones who take time to understand the ‘what’ in the what is scaring them, and think it through rationally.


2.    Risk Taking


It’s often quoted that entrepreneurs are natural-born-risk-takers. This isn’t necessarily true. Starting a business does indeed come with an element of risk (as does bungee jumping) but good entrepreneurs are the ones who manage risks (jumping with a bungee-rope rather than without!) rather than just going feet first and being damned with the consequences. You cannot confuse risk-managed-action with recklessness.


3.    People


Regardless of what industry you are in, leading a business is often critically about people. Entrepreneurs who really make it are often those who have a deep intuitive (or learned) understanding of what makes people tick. If you understand people, you can build a great team and foster powerful relationships.


4.    Attitude


It may sound clichéd, but attitude is a real critical factor. Entrepreneurs who succeed are the ones with the vision to believe that not only is anything possible, but that they will be the ones to do it. Many of the most accomplished entrepreneurs I have met have been the ones who understand leadership, motivation, speaking and also the ones who take time to read and understand how those who have succeeded before them made it!

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