Top tips to entrepreneurship

What qualities make an entrepreneur? What character traits are typically seen in entrepreneurs? Are these qualities and character traits something that they are born with or do they change over time? Can they be learned? Is it nature or nurture? Whatever the answers, it is certainly true that some people take to being an entrepreneur naturally whilst others would be so far out of their comfort zone that they would never even consider the idea.

In my roles as running BOOM & Partners and as being a mentor for Cass Business School and the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator I am extremely lucky as I am constantly meeting many impressive business founders with fantastic new business ideas. From meeting hundreds, or maybe thousands, of entrepreneurs over many years I feel that I am quite well placed to answer some of the questions posed at the beginning of this article.

So, what are some top tips to being an entrepreneur? And being a successful one.

  • Self-belief – In everyday life those people with self-belief or self-confidence often find life a little easier to deal with; especially any setbacks. But self-belief or self-confidence are crucial qualities in an entrepreneur as there will be many moments of doubt and many setbacks, and it can be all too easy to give up somewhere along the way. Self-belief in yourself and what you can achieve will enable you to power through any doubts or setbacks.
  • Work ethic – Nobody has ever said that being an entrepreneur is easy or that it does not take dedication. As such, you must be prepared to work hard and put in long hours and expect to have to ‘fire fight’ at the most inconvenient times.
  • Risk – Each of us have a different tolerance for risk, from sports to investment and everything else. To be an entrepreneur means that, by definition, you must have a higher risk tolerance level than many others. At the very least you will leave a job with a regular salary and pension contributions and that feeling of safety and certainty. Many will go much further than that by investing all their savings or even mortgaging their house and so risking all that they have. This does of course tie in with a high level of self-belief.
  • Questioning – Just because something has always been done in a certain way does not mean that it should be done in that way or, indeed, that that is the best way. Entrepreneurs need to constantly question things around them and think if they can be improved in some way. A constant desire to learn new things is often part of the questioning process.
  • Open minded – Entrepreneurs spot the gap in the market for their product or service and then do extensive market research and progress the concept to the MVP. The best ones, however, remain open minded and listen to feedback from those that they trust as to how the idea might be improved in some way. It can be too easy to fall into ‘it’s my baby’ syndrome and not accept any constructive criticism.

Entrepreneurs then are many things and have many qualities and character traits that help to set them apart from others. They have self-belief, expect to work hard, have a high tolerance for risk, and are questioning and open minded. They also know how to build teams and work with the best partners. In my experience, entrepreneurs are either born with these traits or they are developed as they are growing up. But again, the best ones learn from others and from their own experiences and improve as they go along.