• Floyd Saunders

What it takes to be an Entrepreneur

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Meaning can you start and grow your business, form a team, be creative and innovate? Here are some traits that we frequently find in entrepreneurs.

Critical Traits for Entrepreneurship Success

Much has been written on what it takes to be a success at starting a business. You can consult any number of books or listen to motivational speakers. College courses across the United States teach courses in entrepreneurship and what it takes to be a success as business leaders.

Listed below are what I think are the critical trait required to be a success starting and running any business. These traits come from studies of management theory and the field of positive psychology.


First, if you want to be a success as a business leader you must be creative. Often times, someone with a liberal arts background is more likely to think outside the box to see a different solution, or the potential for a new business product or idea.

Total Commitment to Goals

Be prepared to work long hours and apply multiple skills to starting a small business. You may need to be the CEO, the operations manager, and product specialist and meeting scheduler all at the same time. Large corporations can hire specialist. An entrepreneur may need to wear many hats, including marketing, sales, accounting and administrative duties. But if you are committed to your goals, working long hours and performing multiple roles will pay off.

Working Smart, Not Hard

Working hard may be necessary, but if you continue to put in 60-hour weeks, at some point you burn out. Find creative ways (see the first trait) to accomplish your goals. This may include doing things like trading services with others. Sometimes the smart thing to do is leverage the talents of others.

Being Decisive

Actions speak more than words. Remember that not all of your decisions will be right. Theodore Roosevelt was once quoted as saying: “ In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Being decisive moves your team forward. Just be prepared to accept some mistakes.


If you believe in what you are doing, have strong a team to support you then you will never feel the need to back down from what you are doing. Tenacity will get you through tough times, when others quit, just before crossing the finishing line, you will

keep going.

Hire the Best People

Talking about having a strong team to support you brings me to the next point, Hire the best people. Then remind then that you only hire the best people. When people know you believe in them, they believe in themselves and your business model. This does not assure success, but it goes a long way toward building a culture of success.

Tracking Progress to Goals

Do everything you can to track progress to goals. And communicate that progress to your team. Being open about how the business is doing helps everyone on the team realize how much more work is needed to reach the goal. All have like to win, but we need to know how that is being measured. Frequent feedback on progress is best. I have seen low performing teams, suddenly improve their performance, simply because they know they are being tracked and measured.


Resiliency is often underrated. Having the ability to bounce back from adversity is a key trait of leaders and successful businesses. Almost all business have periods where sales are not on target, where the business cycle slows. Business leaders with resiliency rise above it, make adjustments and move forward.

Motivate Others Mark Twain was once quoted as saying “ Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great. ” I think that is the essence of motivating others; you have to help them feel great about themselves. Of course when you hire the best people available you they may be motivated to do great work, but you also need to continue to make sure they stay motivated, with positive feedback. I have found after being a manager for 35 years, that the more you provide positive feedback, then less you need to offer constructive feedback.

Adapt to Change Be able and ready to make changes as the need arises. Change the product mix, refocus marketing approaches, learn from others, and keep you business flexible so you can adapt to changes.

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