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Important Qualities of Entrepreneurs

Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

What do you believe are important qualities of entrepreneurs?


Answer from our Guest Expert Allison Gaea Jucha of Yes!Coaching

Dear Lisa:

What a great question! And the answer is: all of the entrepreneurial qualities are important qualities, but some lead to success and some don't. So it's important to know what makes an entrepreneur and what serves an entrepreneur.

Typically, an entrepreneur is described as anyone who runs her own business. But the business world has come to think of entrepreneurs as a type of person. This type has certain qualities which may or may not serve her success.

Entrepreneurial Qualities

Entrepreneurs are usually considered to be creative people; people who are willing to take risks and think outside the box. They tend to be loners who feel they can do just about everything necessary to start and run a business. They think this because they know themselves to be resourceful, and because their passion originates from a desire to do something better than it's being done now, they work from the depth of a vision.

What's Right With This Picture?

Entrepreneurs have brought us all of humanity's inventions! Thomas Edison worked through thousands of "failures" before he got the light bulb just right. And his major achievement was not the light bulb itself, but a total system for generating, controlling, measuring, distributing, and utilizing power. The electric light was no more amazing than current gas lighting systems already installed in many houses and businesses. Yet by fixing the price at the price of gaslight, he leveraged its clean, toxin-free advantages and captured a tremendous portion of the market in a very short time, and eventually, it overtook the market entirely.

Entrepreneurs have always been future thinkers! Without Apple computers, everyone today would be looking at DOS, believing that a mouse is an unwanted household pest, and there would be no Internet. The graphical user interface changed the computer into a human tool. With the vision of a computer in every home and on every work desk, Apple went against the grain and created a technological tool that worked for people, instead of the other way around.

Entrepreneurs open doors! As more and more people are questioning the meaning of their lives, they are choosing to set criterion that open new frontiers in the workplace. The number of workers who telecommute, job-share, use flextime options, or open their doors on a business operated from home, they spread the message: You too can have the work/ life situation you want! No longer is work-at-home seen as lazy, counterculture, cottage industry. There are million-dollar companies run out of a home office these days. Entrepreneurs are creating choices for us all.

So What's Wrong With That?

Absolutely nothing, except for every successful entrepreneurial venture, there are too many unsuccessful ones. Why? Mostly because entrepreneurs bring both helpful and unhelpful qualities to the work.

Entrepreneurs have a tendency to have too many projects going at once or continually focus on whatever moneymaking scheme is at hand instead of focusing on two or three projects and making the most of what's in front of them.

Although they are resourceful, they may be using quite a lot of energy reacting to crisis. They may need help developing high standards and being able to anticipate forks in the road - even roadblocks!

Interestingly, entrepreneurs share a "problem" with corporate CEOs. Both often work too many hours, thereby compromising their health, relationships and home life. Entrepreneurs need support to run their businesses professionally and have lives they love to live outside of work.

The Unifying Quality

The bottom line of the entrepreneurial experience is that it's about you, the entrepreneur. What comes up for you -- fears, strengths, passions -- is the most important aspect of the business's growth, for if you can grow and evolve, so can the business. Willingness and trust are the keynote qualities you can expect to grapple with in starting and running a business. The work is hard, but the wins will be yours!

I really believe, Lisa, that everyone has entrepreneurial qualities. Anyone who has ever had a lemonade stand, sewn their own Halloween costume, or interviewed potential employers at the same time they were being interviewed for a job has expressed the best of them: the courage to live life on his or her own terms and try something new.

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