What it Takes to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Wheelchair-using business executive turning key in car door

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Not everyone is cut out to strike out on their own as an entrepreneur and take on the task of being a business owner. If you don’t have the characteristics necessary to be a small business owner, chances are your small business will not succeed. In addition to personality, you also need an environment that supports entrepreneurship if you want to start your own business. Some countries are better places for entrepreneurial success than others.

Best Places in the World for Entrepreneurship

According to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Index, the United States is the world's top entrepreneurial country, with the home of the American dream recording a historic high of 86.2% on the index. The U.S. is followed by Canada with 79.5%, Australia with 78%, and Denmark by 76%. Rounding out the list is Sweden with 75.90%, Taiwan with 69.70%, Iceland with 68.90% and Switzerland with 67.80%. The United States has always been the land of opportunity and encourages initiatives on the part of its citizens. From small business tax incentives to the availability of small business loans to the wealth of entrepreneurial support groups, it's not surprising the U.S. leads the pack in this area. 

Why People Start Small Businesses

By far, small businesses employ more people than large businesses and export the vast majority of products. Many people are motivated by the flexibility provided to them if they own a small business. They may have children or elderly parents to care for. They may even want to put adult children or elderly parents on the payroll and have a true family business. There are many reasons that individuals consider starting and running a small business other than the profit motive.

Entrepreneurship Is Personality Driven

Large organizations where you have to answer to someone else are often stifling to an entrepreneurial personality. Entrepreneurs desire independence and have a sense of initiative that makes them want to use their innate abilities to the greatest extent possible. They are willing to work long hours to make their business succeed and they don't mind working evenings and weekends. Large organizations often frustrate true entrepreneurs because they can't be independent.

When a change occurs, both inside and outside of the company, it has a bigger effect on a small business that needs to respond quicker than one would if working in a large business that can absorb the change. Entrepreneurs have to react quickly and effectively to change to take advantage of outside opportunities and, conversely, to deal with threats. If an entrepreneur isn’t capable of quick action, then change can have a negative effect on operations and profitability.

Key Attributes of Entrepreneurs

  • A successful entrepreneur is motivated by personal and family considerations.
  • A desire for independence and a strong sense of initiative are characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.
  • Successful entrepreneurs react quickly to change.
  • Entrepreneurs are dedicated to their business.

Successful entrepreneurs are very dedicated to their businesses and laser-focused on its success. Entrepreneurs differ from managers in large companies because they are working for themselves and have full ownership of their work whereas employees in large companies are working for shareholders they don't even know.