The 5 Backbone Traits of an Entrepreneur

Many people want to be their own boss and start their own business, but only a few really have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Up to 75 percent of new businesses in certain fields ultimately fail, and many more struggle for years before hitting their stride. No matter what the business model or scale, a great entrepreneur needs five traits to launch a business that has staying power.

Trait #1: Tireless Working

It should seem obvious, but many would-be entrepreneurs lack the out-sized work ethic it takes to succeed in competitive markets. Getting a new product through research and development, building customer service models and keeping the books for a young business up to date are no small tasks. Entrepreneurs who work from dawn till dusk every single day are the ones who reach their goals. The successful one never stop working, even once they’ve hit their targets.

Trait #2: Systemic Thinking

Entrepreneurs have the ability to see the big picture and almost instantly understand how to improve it. Philippino businessman Joseph Calata joined his family’s agricultural business fresh out of university, and immediately began creating paperwork and inventory systems that eventually allowed the family business to boom. Entrepreneurs understand how each part of a business comes together to create a working whole.

Trait #3: Frugal Living

Everyone from Joseph Calata to Warren Buffet knows that to be successful, income needs to outstrip spending. Period. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who forgo creature comforts in the short term to invest their time, energy and even their extra personal cash into their businesses. Many so-called start-up front men are more interested in the appearance of success than in actually laying the foundation for it. A low-key, frugal lifestyle often accompanies the most successful businesspeople, and that’s no coincidence.

Trait #4: Risk Taking

While entrepreneurs know it’s not smart to fritter away their earnings while their businesses are still young, they also know that it’s important to take risks when the time is right. After all, if they played it safe, they never would have opted for a journey with so much uncertainty in the first place. A high tolerance for risk and utter fearlessness in the face of the unknown are crucial for entrepreneurs to see their business through the hard times without giving up. A great sense of timing about when to take those leaps of faith doesn’t hurt, either.

Trait #5: Clear Communicating

For a business to thrive, its upper-level managers need to be outstanding communicators. Explaining their products and service to the public, their vision to their teams, and their strategic plans to stakeholders are all crucial to the success of a new business. Entrepreneurs need to be passionate, vibrant speakers who inspire trust. They need to be able to break down complex ideas into easy-to-understand bites that the average person can not only understand, but instinctively agree with and take to heart. Entrepreneurs are motivational speakers who have left the stage to actually go get something done.

These five backbone traits are the ones that give entrepreneurs their, well…backbone. Without hard work, systemic thinking, fugal living, risk taking and clear communication, success in the business world is nearly impossible. But with these traits fully developed and in force? There’s nothing that an inspired entrepreneur can’t accomplish.


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