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Dragon’s Den, the popular TV show, has been on our screens for several years now, and we’ve all admired some of the contestants and laughed at others. From the crazy inventor to the ultra-slick salesman, there are a variety of different personality types that regularly appear on the show. Whilst we might view these people as entrepreneurs, is it actually possible to come up with a definition of what an entrepreneur really is?


Do entrepreneurs share certain characteristics, and can you really tell whether or not you have the mindset to become a successful entrepreneur?

Whilst it’s probably impossible to describe exactly what makes a successful entrepreneur, it’s true that there are a few common traits that are evident in many business owners, which seem to determine whether or not the owner will be successful in their venture.

Eternal optimism

Whether you call it being optimistic or thinking positively, entrepreneurs are always able to see the bright side. They are immensely proud of their business and are determined to make it a success, and they enjoy working hard towards that success. When they talk about their business or present their ideas to others, they do it with passion and excitement.

An entrepreneur’s enthusiasm is infectious too, enabling them to build a team around them, attract customers and get those all-important sales. Because they are so passionate and committed to their business, they are experts at self-promotion, working tirelessly to connect with potential customers, suppliers and peers.

Planning and preparation

In order to get somewhere, you have to know where you’re going. Entrepreneurs know this, and they understand the value of planning and careful preparation. Preparation isn’t the same as procrastination, though, and the successful entrepreneur knows it’s more important to do something…anything…than to do nothing.

A successful business is built by looking objectively at both strengths and weaknesses, facing up to the inevitable challenges that are presented to us along our journey, and taking considered decisions promptly and with commitment.

Appreciating the value of a team

Many small business owners fall into the trap of believing that they can do everything themselves, from designing their products and services, building their own website and marketing their business to doing the accounts. This “Jack of all trades” approach is understandable, especially in the early days of a business, when funds are particularly tight. To build a strong and successful business, though, it’s important to realise early on that you simply cannot do everything yourself.

A smart entrepreneur will recognise that his or her skills and time are better used in working to build a team of people, who are as committed and enthusiastic about the business as they are. That team doesn’t have to be full-time employees – it could include freelancers, subcontractors, suppliers, hired professional service providers and mentors.

The crucial thing is that they all “get” the business and its goals, and that they are as excited about being part of the team as the business owner is.

Of course, there are many other elements that form part of the entrepreneur’s mindset, but passion, determination, decisiveness, organisational skills and the ability to enthuse and lead those around them are always present.

Most of us have these traits within us, and it may simply be a question of recognising them and nurturing them, to enable each one of us to be the successful entrepreneur that we all admire.

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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