5 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Have


There are many college classes discussing whether entrepreneurs are born or if they a product of their environment. I personally think that it is different personal ingredients that make an entrepreneur, but that’s beside the point and a topic for another day. However, in my experience there seem to be five things that every entrepreneur should have no matter where one stands on the nature versus nurture debate.

1. An Affinity for Failure

As author and business consultant Peter Gasca points out entrepreneurs don’t fear failure. In fact, it’s part of their DNA. No one runs up against failure so fast and at such lightening speed as an entrepreneur. Maybe that’s what keeps them resilient and able to keep going. Experts say, to break a board with your bare hand, concentrate on speed and go through the board. Failure is the same way; do it and move quickly past.

 2. An Advisor

No matter how much of an expert you are in your area of business, there is always someone else who can tell you more. This should be someone who can be considered a subject matter expert; someone that you can have professional relationship with.

As business-technology consultant, writer, and MIT grad Will Koffel points out, you need to be brutally honest with this advisor. This is the time to take the lipstick off the pig and tell them about the bad things, the scary things, and the things that could kill your business. Not only will the advisor hopefully guide you through this, but you will also find solace in voicing these fears. Advisors don’t need to be paid, but they definitely shouldn’t be considered a friend that will just nod and agree with what you say.

3. A Mentor

The difference between an advisor and a mentor is that an advisor is a subject matter expert that understands your business, where a mentor is someone who can help you be a better boss, founder, and parent/partner/friend. Even if you are a mobile game developer, your mentor can still use a flip phone. They should be good listeners, but you too should listen to what they say and be able to convert their experience to your own.

4. A Drive for Success

Just where failure is important so is being part of success. Few will argue that success feels great. Success is what we strive for, but knowing how to act and react is also important. Sometimes success can be harder to deal with than failure. We sympathize when people fail, but a truly successful person is one that can get others to be happy when you succeed too.

5. A Grasp of Reality

Grounded-ness is one strength that makes entrepreneurs successful, can also be their kryptonite. Entrepreneurs have an innate trait where they look at something done the typical way and ask if it can be done better. Conventional wisdom be damned, says the entrepreneur, and before taking the road less traveled.

In a study by Bobby Garrett Jr., an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Oregon State University and co-author Daniel Holland of Utah State University, it was discovered that successful entrepreneurs were those that kept the risk versus reward of any venture in mind, and evaluate the chances that their startup may succeed. Sometimes you just got to know when to fold them.

There are of course more than five requirements to being a successful entrepreneur, but among them, these are the most valuable. Those seeking entrepreneurial success should cultivate positive traits; forge relationships with knowledgeable and caring people; and use whatever advantages are available.

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