15 Top Characteristics Of Effective Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have become highly desirable in the business world, especially in Silicon Valley where venture capitalists are trying to find the next Mark Zuckerberg or Travis Kalanick.

But, finding an entrepreneur among the millions of people who desire to venture into the world of business is often difficult.

Many people dream about starting their own business, but only a handful will actually do it. The idea of taking on the responsibility is daunting and risky for many.

So, what makes an entrepreneur successful?

The answer to that question is complex and multifaceted. There are many skills, abilities, and traits which contribute to becoming an effective entrepreneur.

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for success. Yet, most successful entrepreneurs share some common traits.

The following 15 key characteristics will help you understand what it takes to be an effective entrepreneur.

1. Action-oriented

According to Barbara Corcoran, a Shark Tank investor and the founder of the Corcoran Group, people who can conceptualize business ideas without necessarily having a detailed execution strategy are likely to be good entrepreneurs.

In fact, Corcoran recommends inventing as you go rather than wasting time and money putting together a detailed business plan and strategy.

15 Top Characteristics Of Effective Entrepreneurs

2. Insecurity

Corcoran believes that most entrepreneurs have insecurity issues that may not be visible to all.

For instance, nervousness and sensitivity to failure are good entrepreneurship markers because people who possess such traits are likely to be highly focused on success.

3. Resourcefulness

Contrary to popular belief, an entrepreneur does not necessarily need a lot of money to start and run a business.

What matters the most is the resourcefulness you exhibit when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh says that he admires the way the main character in the TV show MacGyver would use readily available resources, street smarts, and innovation to solve problems.

4. Cashflow obsession

If you love obsessing over cashflow, you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. One successful entrepreneur who espouses this trait is Joe Gustafson, the founder of Brainshark.

Gustafson says that he obsessed over cash during his early entrepreneurship days because cash is necessary for fighting business battles even when you are running the best company in the world.

5. Constantly getting into trouble

Individuals who constantly get into trouble are likely to have the entrepreneurial bug. This is according to Stephane Bourque, the founder, and CEO of Incognito Software.

Bourque reckons that true entrepreneurs are more likely to find themselves in situations where they have to ask for forgiveness than permission. This is because they are never satisfied with the status quo.

6. Risk taker

Entrepreneurs are generally fearless because they often see potential where others only see risk.

In fact, Robert Irvine, a chef and the host of Food Network's Restaurant Impossible says entrepreneurs remain optimistic at all times and believe that their investments will eventually pan out.

7. Impatience

Unlike ordinary people, effective entrepreneurs have a lot of unbridled enthusiasm and energy that enables them to keep on slogging long after everyone else quits.

This inability to sit still and the desire to make things better differentiates entrepreneurs from most people.

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8. Change agent

People who focus on a single acceptable outcome are unlikely to succeed as entrepreneurs. This is according to Rosemary Camposano, the president and CEO of Halo Blow Dry Bars.

Camposano believes that smart entrepreneurs are malleable and open to change. This is in addition to tweaking their business models to reflect market feedback.

9. Self-evaluator

Effective entrepreneurs generally evaluate themselves. Laura Novak Meyer, the founder of Little Nest Portraits, says that her company surveys all clients in order to identify areas that require improvement.

Moreover, Novak herself has used the services of a business coach to identify personal traits that she needs to improve.

10. Challenge driven

True entrepreneurs have a tendency of being motivated by challenges to succeed, according to Jeff Platt, the CEO of Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park franchise.

For instance, Candace Nelson the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes forged ahead with her business plan despite naysayers who questioned the wisdom of starting a bakery business in the early 2000s.

Presently, Nelson's business has spread to eight states.

11. Outsider

If you fancy yourself as a rebel/outsider, you have an entrepreneurial pedigree. This is according to Vincent Petryk, founder of the JP Licks ice cream shop chain.

Instead of copying the business model followed by other ice cream shops, Petryk forged his own path and has flourished while all but one competitor have closed down.

12. Quick rebounder

Entrepreneurs do not dwell excessively on failures. Instead, they regroup and move on to the next business opportunity.

13. Need solver

Although many people can identify unserved market niches, very few can actually turn those insights into business opportunities according to Jennifer Dawn, partner at Savor The Success, a business network for women.

14. Seeking advice

Effective entrepreneurs seek advice from others and rely on solid market research to make informed decisions.

Jessica Alba, co-founder and president of The Honest Company believes it is important to surround oneself with smarter people and listen to their ideas.

15 Top Characteristics Of Effective Entrepreneurs

15. Work hard play hard

According to Fiverr co-founder Micha Kaufmann, an entrepreneur will start all over again even after failing until he/she gets it right. He snowboards and sails in addition to running Fiverr.


Effective entrepreneurs often espouse unique personal traits that enable them to succeed in the highly competitive world of business.

More specifically, effective entrepreneurs are generally action-oriented, resourceful, risk-takers, obsessed with cashflow, impatient, insecure, outsiders, need solvers, and change agents.

The best entrepreneurs are able to take calculated risks quickly when necessary and have the ability to see opportunities where others don't. They also have strong visions for themselves and know what they want out of life.

They're driven by ambition and desire rather than fear or doubt – as shown by the fact that most successful entrepreneurs never stop learning or acquiring new skills throughout their lifetime.

Effective entrepreneurs possess leadership skills. They must manage themselves and also delegate tasks to empower and motivate their workforce.

Additionally, they are great at seeking advice and self-evaluation. They are also very resilient and see obstacles as challenges, not as roadblocks.

Of course, these are just some of the key characteristics of effective entrepreneurs.

You can find more great videos from Entrepreneur on their Youtube Channel.

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