We hear a lot today about entrepreneurship. But what exactly makes one person over another an entrepreneur?

There are many hotly debated definitions, so this month I am going to highlight some of the personal qualities of entrepreneurship in the context of personal attributes. One such definition is entrepreneurs take initiative, accept the risk of failure and have an internal locus of control. By the sceptics sometimes they’re disparagingly seen as mavericks.

Firstly, there is no such thing as a typical entrepreneur. Some are quiet and hardworking, while others are more outgoing and flamboyant. Research indicates a number of characteristics that are present in high-achieving entrepreneurs:

  • The ability to learn from others: entrepreneurs are good at networking utilising their extended networks where they can learn and apply best practice ideas from others.
  • Self confidence: a belief in their own abilities and ideas. This is not the same as arrogance.
  • The capability to engage and communicate ideas with others.
  • Innovation and creativity: being able to generate ideas and new approaches to problems.
  • Self motivation and determination: driven by the purpose of their goal. Driven to see things through, never accepting ‘no’.
  • Showing initiative: being proactive not waiting for someone else to go first.
  • The ability to make decisions and face risks.
  • A genuine natural rapport with people regardless of positions or status.
  • A focus on results, which ensures the end goal contributes profitably to the organisation.
  • Capable of accepting setbacks, never losing sight of the original goal. Not giving into excuses.
  • Knowing when it’s time to say no without fearing failure.

From coaching a range of successful people, my view is that to be successful you need to be a ‘self-managing entrepreneur’. Sadly, I see too many people hold back, justifying to themselves that the timing’s wrong, or ‘we don’t have the right resources’, or ‘it’s been tried before’ and other equally lame excuses.

You can start self-managing today. Just choose one thing you’ve been putting off, do it today and repeat every day. You can do it.