Startup Essentials By Sourobh Das / October 30, 2017 Entrepreneurs are believed to be a courageous lot. It is not easy to give up the comfort of a steady income and take the plunge. But their passion and vision take them forward. Still, so many startups fail in spite of doing most of the things right. So many startups struggle for years on end before shutting shop. A lot of a startup’s success is dependent on the strategy thought out and executed by those at the helm of affairs. While the entire team performs the actual work, it is the entrepreneur himself who is responsible for the overall direction his company takes. You might know what an entrepreneur is but do you know what separates a great entrepreneur from an average entrepreneur?10 Characteristics of a Great EntrepreneurThere are some defining characteristics of a great entrepreneur that ensure a startup survives all the ups and downs and comes up trumps. I am sure you would love to know if you have the inherent traits or characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Self-Belief/Motivation/Determination/PassionOne may call it motivation or drive or self-belief or the often used or misused “Passion” but there is an inherent burning desire inside every great entrepreneur that does not let him quit even on the worst of days. They have tremendous faith in themselves and their idea. This faith keeps an entrepreneur going in spite of all obstacles. It is the same drive that keeps an entrepreneur improving his idea and working on it again and again. This motivation and determination stem from the fact that every entrepreneur truly loves what he is doing and wants to do it for the rest of his life.DecisivenessEntrepreneurs have to take very hard decisions and that too very quickly. There are tons of areas where there will be many alternatives and choosing the right alternative at the right time will be of paramount importance because one decision can make or break a company. This is why entrepreneurs need to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff. This is why decisiveness is one trait entrepreneurs cannot lack in. Not only does an entrepreneur need to make tough choices but also stick with them when things seem to go awry.Risk ToleranceNo one succeeds by playing safe always. There shall be risks throughout one’s entrepreneurial journey and taking the road less traveled sometimes can do wonders for a business. That does not mean one has to be reckless and tread on dangerous ground. A successful entrepreneur knows when to take calculated risks. A successful entrepreneur shall also have Plan B and Plan C ready when Plan A does not work due to unexpected situations. FlexibilityThe biggest companies need to change with times. Work timings might change, teams might change and even the business model might change too. The customers should always be the first priority for a business and whatever has to be done to meet their demands, has to be done. This requires entrepreneurs to be flexible. Only those who are flexible and are willing to change with the need of the hour shall survive and thrive.Constant LearningThe world is constantly changing and new trends keep emerging. Those who do not keep pace with these changes will not be able to succeed. If today, a marketing firm does not want to incorporate digital or AI in its marketing initiatives, it will be left far behind and may even fade into oblivion soon. Every entrepreneur has to be on his toes and keep learning how to make his business better to ensure his business is ahead of the competition. The learning can be about improving one’s leadership skills or the latest technology and incorporating it into the business for its growth or the customer’s pain points. As they say, once you stop learning, you start dying. This holds true for a business as well.ResourcefulnessAn entrepreneur has to be resourceful and street-smart. He will face hurdles every day that cannot be overcome with normal, routine methods. Entrepreneurs have to think out-of-the-box on a daily basis. A great entrepreneur will make the best use of the available resources to achieve his objectives. A great entrepreneur is not bogged down by lofty targets or lack of funding. He is a true problem-solver and always finds a way.Vision and FocusEntrepreneurs have a vision of what they want to do and how they want to do it and they are single-mindedly focussed on it. If an entrepreneur does not have focus, he will squander away his potential as he will never be able to decide what needs to be done. Every setback will be demoralizing and his vision of the company will continuously change, never really reaching its true potential. An entrepreneur needs to ask himself if he can see the bigger picture and do whatever it takes to make sure it is realized.Creativity and InnovationEntrepreneurs see business opportunity everywhere and constantly innovate to make the most out of that opportunity. It’s innovation that keeps a company going year after year. One has to be innovative with not only the product that is being offered but also with how the business is being run, especially if one does not have the first mover advantage in the market. Even late entrants can take on established players with innovative business models and creative marketing. Expert Networking SkillsA successful entrepreneur banks on his network to help him out in tricky situations. One’s mentors and peers will always be there to give precious advice but the art of leveraging it to the fullest depends on the entrepreneur’s sharp-mindedness. Networking is also needed to effectively sell to customers because not everyone will be excited to be bombarded by new products and services. A great entrepreneur loves being with people.OptimismAn entrepreneur’s life is tough and not every day is rosy. Uncertainty and lack of motivation creeps in on some days and a negative attitude towards life can spell doom in that scenario. A great entrepreneur is a dreamer and brims with optimism because he believes in his dreams wholeheartedly. He knows minor setbacks cannot derail him or his ambitions and if one hurdle stands in his way, he will either overcome it or find another way to reach the end-goal. If you do compare the best startups around you, you shall find these similarities in the people who run them. A lot goes into every business and if you do not possess these characteristics, chances are your startup will fail sooner or later in spite of all that. Someone with an entrepreneurial mindset will inspire the same in the people around him. Therefore, although the size and nature of your business might differ, this mindset remains the backbone of every successful business.Go On, Tell Us What You Think!Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on characteristics of a great entrepreneur in the comments section.