What are the Qualities of an Entrepreneur?

January 21, 2011 | By More

Much has been written about the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Google “qualities of entrepreneurs” and you will be provided with a long list, no two the same. If what is written is the necessary requirement to be an entrepreneur, then very few will ever have started. Those who compile the lists do so after studying successful entrepreneurs and what they do.

So what drives one to become an entrepreneur in the first place? Who can be an entrepreneur?

Here’s my view: An entrepreneur is someone who has an idea to solve a problem and the passion to develop it into a product or service that someone can use. People do not become entrepreneurs because they want to be rich or powerful.

Entrepreneurs are passionate about their ideas. Other outcomes are secondary.

The unlikely entrepreneur (center) and the franchise she started.

The passion can be as simple as finding a way to make a new dessert, as Murniati Widjaja did in 1982 when she was merely a roadside stall owner. She now claims to have over 200 “ES Teler 77” restaurants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Apokat, as the drink is called, together with related desserts incorporating avocados, has created such a demand for the fruit in the country that Indonesia has become the second largest producer of avocado worldwide, after Mexico!

Similarly, when Messrs Page and Brin started working on BackRub in 1996 they did not imagine that the company they eventually built will become the most influential software company on this planet this decade. (If you didn’t know it already, BackRub was what they called it before the name was later changed to Google.)

The first key driver for any entrepreneur is to have an idea to solve a problem.

The second key driver is to be passionate about it:

– Be passionate about designing the right product – this refines the idea: understand the problem you want to solve and then incorporate the right features and functions. Spurious bells and whistles only add to the cost and prolong your schedule unnecessarily. Meet the need exactly. Solve the problem.

– Be passionate about getting the product right – focus on making it work well, doing the best quality product. Don’t cut corners. It does not mean use the most costly components or take forever to develop it. Make sure you make the right tradeoffs. Make it work just right. Make it work well.

– Be passionate about the people who work with you – build your team, get the right people. They are helping you build your vision and company. You need their help. They need to be passionate about what they are doing too. Create the right environment to engender teamwork, creativity, responsibility and a sense of urgency. Make work fun.  [read more about Building your team]

And finally, don’t forget as the founder of the company, you are responsible for all of them. You run the company and have to make sure people get paid every month. You have to make sure that you have the funds to keep the company running.

Now, review the list you just Googled at the start of this article about the qualities of successful entrepreneurs.

Good Luck!

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Category: Managing your business, Self Improvement, What's Next?

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About the Author ()

EngTong, pioneer and innovator. Graduated from Imperial College London with an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. Lived in Scotland, England, California, Beijing and led teams in Italy, France, Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia to do the impossible. Now based in Singapore and believes the future is to blend the sophistication of western management practices with the strength of Asian Values. Trained as a Chartered Engineer. Member of IET, Associate of City and Guilds and a certified SixSigma Champion.

Comments (2)

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  1. A Arthur Lau says:

    Hi EngTong, Insightful article, Singapore has been nurturing entrepreneurs since they broke away from Malaysia and the PAP government has been encouraging entrepreneurs with funds, incentives, tax relief and a whole lot of packages to finance them, and that is one of the chief reasons why their foreign exchange reserve has swelled for the last twenty years. Thanks

    • Error: Unable to create directory uploads/2018/12. Is its parent directory writable by the server? ET says:

      Arthur, passion is the most important ingredient for an entrepreneur. After that come funds, without which nothing can proceed. Yes, Singapore has a lot of methods for helping aspiring as well as ongoing businesses. Watch out for later postings about funding your start-up. Thanks for reading.