I was asked on a panel recently about the most important attributes of an entrepreneur. When I think about the people who succeed at building their own businesses—not the anomaly, front of Time magazine entrepreneur but the everyday successful entrepreneurs—there are three attributes that come to mind.
Drive. Strategic thinking. Passion. And you need all three working in concert. So what happens when you’re missing one of these?
Without strategic thinking, you’re the crazy one going on and on about your idea but getting nowhere. You don’t look at the big picture and struggle to push through ideation to execution. You get stuck by making poor decisions. People probably duck into doorways when they see you coming.
Without passion you can’t sell your business to anyone—to end users, to talent for hire, to advertisers, to investors. We all fall in love with a story, and if you can’t tell it, then you’ve lost your audience and your business, too.
Without drive you just won’t survive. Have you heard the old adage, “Entrepreneurs are the crazy people who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else”? Entrepreneurs and the talent who support them in #startuplife work their tails off. If you aren’t intrinsically motivated, you’re probably better suited for a 9-5 job at an established company.
Drive and passion typically come along with a good idea: it’s why people quit their day jobs to pursue their own businesses. It’s the strategy part that you have to watch out for. Finding a mentor early on can help ensure you aren’t wearing blinders and that you’re creating a plan that maximizes your chance for success.
What would you add to the attribute list?