In 2015, research found Uganda was the most entrepreneurial country. The results were unexpected. While only a few of the start-up businesses in this nation grow to their full potential - it’s still interesting to note that the United States, Great Britain and Australia didn’t even make it into the top 15 spots. What does this mean? That Ugandans are born business leaders? Not necessarily. But they might possess some of the traits born entrepreneurs are known to have.
Whether entrepreneurs are born or raised is still a serious debate in the scientific community. What we do know is that there are tell-tale signs many entrepreneurs share that suggest you’ve got what it takes. If you’ve got an itch to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Systrom or Elon Musk, you’re going to need to possess some of the following traits to ensure you’re on the path to entrepreneurial success.
1. You need to be a risk taker
Your willingness to take risks and the ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, are very important. This is the main factor that divides entrepreneurs from other business people. As an entrepreneur, you’re usually using investor’s money to make an idea come to life - and having the tenacity to not stress over it and push into uncharted territory sets you apart. Elon Musk announced Hyperloop One, his idea for future travel without the technology even remotely close to existence. He managed to attract $80 million in investor funding. Talk about taking risks!
Leaders need to be fearless and confident. Without it, your team, investors and competitors will see weakness. This will have a negative impact on your business dreams. Entrepreneurs ooze confidence and deeply believe in what they’re doing - so much so that it’s difficult to change their minds, unless solid facts and data point them in another direction.
2. You need to be self-confident
3. You make big decisions on your ownTaking a stand and not sitting on the fence is how people get things done. Waiting for your team’s approval and everyone’s opinions wastes precious time. We’re not saying don’t listen to mentors and experienced professionals, but entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to make a bold move and push through, even if it puts them at risk of losing the popular vote.
4. You take actionEntrepreneurs have it in their blood to get things done. They understand that this takes more effort than an 8.30am start with a 5pm finish. If something needs to get done they’ll work on it until the middle of the night if that’s what’s needed. They know how to get things done and remain enthusiastic, even when things aren’t going according to plan.
5. You don’t give up easily and bounce back from failureNot everything is going to workout all of the time. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t. As the saying goes: it’s not failure, it’s one step closer to success. If serial entrepreneur Joy Mangano gave up after every time she was rejected, or had a personal setback, she wouldn’t be worth $50 million. We also wouldn’t have the miracle mop, huggable hangers and many other useful household items.
6. You see potential and value in peopleEntrepreneurs often end up in leadership roles that they didn’t expect to. It’s unlikely Zuckerberg thought he’d be CEO of a company with roughly 12,690 full-time employees under him. Part of rising to this kind of level is seeing the potential and value others have to contribute to your idea. This could come in the form of seeing the potential of your team to grow their skills, or it could be seeing the value in what mentors can offer you. Realising you can’t know everything you need to succeed is part of growing.
7. You can’t sit stillEntrepreneur Tony Robbins famously says if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And he’s right. If you only stick with what you know, you’re not going to get very far. A sign you’re a born entrepreneur is that you can’t sit still, you want to put a finger in all of the pies and take your company to the next level. Successful entrepreneurs know how to do this so it doesn’t implicate their company - a classic example is Richard Branson. In a line from his autobiography he says, "My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them... from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it." Virgin controls more than 400 companies.
While many entrepreneurs have these traits, don’t get too upset if you don’t have all of them. You’re not setting yourself up for failure. Recent research found that in some cases environmental triggers can change or awaken genetic tendencies, that otherwise lie dormant. And, it might be during your entrepreneurial journey that these traits come to life!
If you want the opportunity to speak with real-life entrepreneurs about their challenges and successes, join us at CeBIT Australia 2017. And if you’re an entrepreneur, don’t miss the opportunity to pitch you next big idea to investors at CeBIT’s PitchFest.