Everything you need to know about the qualities of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur may be called successful only if he is able to accomplish the targeted objectives.

In layman’s terms, a successful entrepreneur is the one to implement his perceived idea of setting up a business unit and carry out its business operations successfully.

Successful entrepreneurs may be characterized by an unusual alertness; a propensity of risk taking and a strong desire for achievement.

Some of the qualities of a successful entrepreneur are:-


1. Commitment, Determination and Perseverance 2. Disciplined and Determined to Achieve 3. Self-Confidence and Optimism 4. Tolerance for Failure 5. Opportunity Orientation 6. Initiative and Responsibility 7. Persistent Problem Solving

8. High Energy Levels and Intensity of Purpose 9. Strong Interpersonal Skills and Team-Building Abilities 10. Creativity and Innovation 11. Capacity to Assume Risk 12. Ability to Learn from Experience 13. Ability to Marshal Resources 14. Ability to Organize and Administer

15. Control 16. Technical Knowledge and Adaptive Nature 17. Assertiveness 18. Take Fear Out of Failure 19. Have a Worthy Goal 20. Never Give Up 21. Be Ready for Work-Life Imbalance and a Few Others.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur: Self-Confidence, Persistent Problem Solving, Capacity to Assume Risk and a Few Others

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur – 10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs with Examples

‘Think different’ is an appropriate slogan that applies to all successful entrepreneurs. They step into the economic jungle with dogged determination to win the race. It is said that most often, great ideas find the right people. They just happen to people who are fired by a passionate desire to do something different and novel. Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg did not pursue a methodical process to develop their ideas. Their insights came to them in the course of following their passions.


Steve Jobs had a homebrew computer club. Larry Page, who was working on a PhD in computer science at Stanford, used his understanding of ranking in academic publishing to develop the crawler that led to Google. Facebook grew out of Mark Zuckerberg’s previous applications, like Facemash. In other words, the ideas found them because they were highly receptive to their opportunities. It is true that none of the three entrepreneurs referred to above set out to establish billion-dollar businesses, but they quickly seized the opportunities that came their way to become renowned businessmen.

Most great entrepreneurs have a burning desire to build a great company. They recognize the need to have a talented pool of people to help them achieve their goal, and the only way to attract such people is by setting up a company with a work culture that makes it fun to come to work. To establish such a company requires a lot of time and investment, and profits may not come by in the short term. A good example is Amazon, which did not make money for over 10 years initially.

Making money is a fine goal, but it cannot be the sole objective if the intent is to build and grow a great business. It has been said that you can become a great entrepreneur by turning yourself into a missionary rather than a mercenary. Mercenaries, whose primary goal is to make money, seldom have the desire to change the world or the patience to see their idea through. Successful business people have many traits in common—they are confident, optimistic and disciplined self-starters. They are open to new ideas.

In the following section, we discuss ten traits of successful entrepreneurs with examples:

Quality # 1. Commitment, Determination and Perseverance:


Entrepreneurs are married to their ideas. They are passionate about these ideas and are ready to do anything to make things happen. When they face rough weather, entrepreneurs are willing to go to extreme lengths such as – mortgaging their house, taking a cut in pay, ignoring their families and walking a stressful, lonely and deserted path. They are usually at their best when challenged by circumstances.

They are fired by situations that truly burn their candle of energies. In the face of heavy odds, they show tremendous amount of grit, determination, and perseverance. They are not prepared to come back empty handed and so they hang on to what they believe is right. They exhibit unwavering commitment to a cause that they believe to be beneficial to the company, as well as the society.

Donald Trump:

Donald Trump is an American business tycoon, author and TV personality. With his long list of accomplishments, the billionaire has earned great success and fame in the world of business as a real estate mogul. During his long business career, Trump has seen it all—astonishing highs and depressing lows. Many analysts were busy writing his obituary columns even, but he never gave up. Born on 14 June 1946 in Queens, New York, Donald Trump was a very active and confident child.

At the age of 13, he was sent to the New York Military Academy, where he was a shining star from the very beginning, showing extreme talent in both academics and extra-circular activities. Initially, he went to Fordham University but later moved to Wharton School of Finance in the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an economics degree in 1968. Trump was inspired by his father’s real estate dealings but this young man’s goals were far greater.

After graduation, he joined his father’s company ‘Elizabeth Trump and Son’ but soon realized that he wanted a more flexible environment with grander opportunities. Thus, he moved to Manhattan, where he got connected with some of the New York’s most influential people. He started working on large building projects, in which he saw huge profit margins, modern architectural designs and public appeal. Trump had the ability to foresee things and this clairvoyance and clever instincts led him to promote a tract of land despite the poor economic climate.

In 1978, his plans for a land near the railroad yards were selected by the city government over two other city sites. Aided by the 40-year-tax abatement by the New York City government, which was extremely willing to offer tax concessions in the time of recession, Trump managed to turn the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt. He also renewed the Trump Tower along with various other residential projects. In 1990, Trump suffered a setback in his career when he threatened to sue a stock brokerage firm Janney Montgomery Scott, which had made negative remarks about Trump’s casino Taj Mahal’s financial prospects.

However, when Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy in November 1990, the analyst was rewarded and Trump had to pay a large sum in compensation. This led to mounting debts (several billions and a personally guaranteed debt of $975 million) and, eventually, a stressful personal life (divorce from first wife). Trump was unable to even meet his loan commitments. The construction of Taj Mahal led to a huge debt of over $1 billion. Trump tried to shore up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments.

Banks and bondholders—having lost hundreds of millions of dollars already—were after his blood for a while. By late 1991, the Taj Mahal re-emerged from bankruptcy and Trump had to cede 50 per cent ownership in the casino to original bondholders—giving him breathing time to repay his debt in carefully spaced intervals at a reduced interest rate. The Trump World Tower—a 72-storey gigantic structure—and the Trump Place on the Hudson River, along with the Trump International Hotel, plus several other prime commercial and real estate projects were completed under extremely trying and adverse conditions.


Trump had to fight court battles almost on a daily basis. The commercial as well as home markets had collapsed, thanks to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But Trump never gave up and eventually this dogged determination to make it happen paid off. Today, Trump’s net worth is estimated to be well over $5 billion.

Richard Schulze and the Story of Best Buy:

At the age of 11, Dick Schulze started delivering newspapers in St. Paul, Minnesota. Using tips from his newspaper route, he was the first sophomore in his high school to buy a first car. He paid for his own insurance, while paying his dad a small amount as his share of the expenses. His dad was teaching him accountability (and, perhaps trying to get his teenage son to postpone the start of his driving). After graduating from high school, Schulze joined the Air National Guard. After his full-time training, Schulze worked as a sales representative for consumer-electronics companies, including Sony, Sherwood, and others.

As a representative for these companies, Schulze helped retailers to market their products and learned first-hand how to sell consumer electronics—on someone else’s dime. After five years, he realized that a manufacturer could replace these representatives at any time. To control his own destiny, he decided to start his own consumer-electronics store. He borrowed against his house and opened his first store next to a college campus in St. Paul. By 1981, Schulze was able to increase the count to nine stores.


Devastated by a tornado in 1981, Dick had to put the stock (largely unaffected by the storm) for sale in the store’s parking lot. Mile-long queues of customers prompted Dick, thereafter, to reposition the company as Best Buy. Business started picking up slowly and by 1996, enthused by the positive response, Dick decided to borrow $300 million and put the computer inventory for sale during the Christmas season. Intel’s surprise launch of the Pentium chip proved to be the last nail in the coffin.

Sales fell drastically and the stock crashed from $22 to $5 almost immediately. Debts mounted up to well over $270 million. After a second disaster, most people run for cover. For over 14 months, Dick had to restructure operations once again. Low bargain items were replaced with profitable ones. Marketing management and inventory controls had to be changed.

A ‘no money down, no monthly payment, no interest’ policy had to be put in place. The restructured entity was, finally, able to show signs of revival slowly but steadily. Best Buy was back on track simply because Dick did not give up till he got back on the horse. Best Buy was named ‘Company of the Year’ by Forbes magazine in 2004, ‘Specialty Retailer of the Decade’ by Discount Store News in 2001, ranked in the top 10 of ‘America’s Most Generous Corporations’ by Forbes in 2005 (based on 2004 performance), and made Fortune magazine’s List of Most Admired Companies in 2006.

Quality # 2. Disciplined and Determined to Achieve:

These individuals are focused on making their businesses work, and are willing to do anything to eliminate any hindrances or distractions to their goals. They have overarching strategies and outline the tactics to accomplish them. Successful entrepreneurs are disciplined enough to take steps every day toward the achievement of their objectives. They are self-starters and are primarily driven by a strong desire to compete and win the race.


They are motivated by challenging goals and derive immense satisfaction when they deliver results. They are intensely passionate about what they do, almost to the point of fanaticism. Their goals are set high and, when attained, are reset even higher. Money is not usually sought for its own sake, but as a way of keeping score.

Mark Zuckerberg:

By the time Mark Zuckerberg celebrated his 28th birthday in May 2012; Facebook had gone public and become the biggest IPO of all time. The long-anticipated event is expected to create hundreds of millionaires; result in a valuation of an Internet company that will approach $100 billion, and make the geek who dropped out of Harvard University his generation’s Bill Gates. Yet, it has been only eight years since the social-networking site was launched from Zuckerberg’s dorm room at Harvard. It would be easy to chalk a good bit of his success to luck and timing.

But that would be a serious mistake. What has helped make Facebook the world’s dominant social network is an obsessive entrepreneurial genius who has taken a page from another of Silicon Valley’s legendary denizens, Intel’s Andy Grove, who lived by the dictum that only the paranoid survive. Zuckerberg is the Valley’s most paranoid entrepreneur these days, taking nothing for granted.

That is why he has pushed out a constant flow of innovative changes to Facebook’s platform, making it easier for developers to create applications for the community and ensuring that each new iteration keeps it ahead of the competition. It is the single most important explanation why Facebook has yet to face any formidable rival in its space, including last year’s challenge from heavyweight Google.

Quality # 3. Self-Confidence and Optimism:

Entrepreneurs possess a strong self-image and are optimistic about the outcomes of their actions. They are not bothered about what society thinks and says about their actions. They are ever-ready to challenge traditional practices and take both success and failure in their stride. Basically, they believe in themselves.


They do not depend on fate, luck or any other esoteric forces. They also believe that their accomplishments and setbacks are within their own control and that they can affect the outcome of their actions. They do not seem to get rattled by even major setbacks. Their belief in their ability to get past competition and achieve success seldom wavers.

John Mackey and the Whole Foods Story:

In 1978, John Mackey and his then-girlfriend Renee Lawson opened their first vegetarian food store in an old Victorian home in Austin, Texas. They had modest ambitions – to make a living, have fun, and help a few people live healthier by eating better. A bearded, shaggy-haired college dropout, Mackey had just turned 25 and thought profit was little more than a ‘necessary evil.’ To press the fast forward button, Whole Foods Market now has more than 300 supermarkets and over 56,000 employees (or ‘team members’).

The success of the upscale food retailer has changed the way many of the industry’s mainstream competitors operate. ‘If you told me 20 years ago that Wal-Mart would be one of the leading sellers of organic foods in the world, I would have thought that was ridiculous,’ says 58-year-old Mackey. How does he do it? Among the six fundamental precepts that are at the core of Whole Foods lies the commitment to sell the highest-quality natural and organic products available, satisfy and delight the customers, and promote environmental stewardship. Many companies have mission statements with lofty principles that are little more than wall hangings.

Quality # 4. Tolerance for Failure:

Entrepreneurs seem to possess high frustration tolerance. They are not crushed by defeats nor over-elated by victories. They do not really think that they are going to press the right button every time they experiment in the market-place. They are realistic enough to understand that major difficulties and obstacles might put them in a spot—such as insufficient capital, poor location, bad inventory management, over investment in fixed assets, putting business money to personal use, tough competition, change in customers’ tastes and preferences, sudden policy changes brought in by the Government, etc.

In fact, their minds are prepared to accept negative surprises of various kinds. They prepare themselves for such depressing outcomes and look for opportunities to find a solution. They are of the firm view that they learn more from failures than from their successes.


Let us look at some entrepreneurs who failed and then made it big:

i. Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC):

Best known as the man donning a beard and big glasses in the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) logo, Colonel Sanders was fired from a dozen jobs before he started KFC. It was in 1967, at the age of 65, that the Colonel found himself broke, partly due to the construction of a road that put him out of business. He wound up living in his car and driving to over 1,000 restaurants trying to sell his chicken recipe, asking a nickel commission on each chicken. It was at the age of 75 that Colonel Sanders finally sold his chicken restaurant business for a full $15m. Although the Colonel did not find fame before he died at the age of 90, his legacy continued through the KFC logo.

ii. Donald Trump (Trump Organization):

Well-known entrepreneur Donald Trump established the Trump Organization in 1980 to oversee his real estates. However, in 1990, partly due to the recession hitting many of his projects and excessive leveraging, Trump found himself in a corporate debt of $9bn. Had it not been for the bailout pact of some 70 banks, the company would not have survived.

This is not the end of the story, as Trump’s business didn’t almost fail once, but twice. Following closely behind the first debacle, Trump managed to obtain a personal debt of $1bn. Both times, Trump managed to make the most of what he had at his disposal and made it back to the top.


iii. Henry Ford (Ford Motor Co.):

Henry Ford’s first venture, the Detroit Automobile Company, went bankrupt in 1901 due to its high prices and low quality products. Rather than give up, Ford he reorganized his first company to set up a new one, named Henry Ford Company. It, too, collapsed due to a dispute with a partner. Upon his third attempt, he almost faced failure yet again because the low sales he achieved made it impossible to pay back his investors. Moments before his yet-to-become empire collapsed, the company was saved by angel investors. Hence, Ford Motor Co. was born.

iv. Lawrence Ellison (Oracle):

Ellison dropped out of the University of Illinois and worked as a programmer in California for eight years. He later pursued a business with his former boss and set up the Oracle Systems Corp. It was off to a rough start, and the partners struggled to keep their heads up. Ellison had to mortgage his house to obtain a credit line, and in 1980, Oracle still only had eight employees. It was around this time that Ellison stumbled across IBM’s research paper on the programming language SQL. He chose to rewrite it to be run on any computer.

When IBM released its SQL-supported products in 1981, Ellis was ready and Oracle boomed. Oracle started making promises it could not keep though, and by 1990, the business was once again at stake. After the launch of its 6.0 version, it lost over $28.7m as the clients could not run it—it was infested with bugs. Deciding to start over again, Ellison fired everyone on site and put together a new management team. The new team liquidated accounts, tightened financial control and created a system which awarded sales reps when a product was shipped.

v. Richard Branson (Virgin):


Branson’s first venture was a student magazine, for which he was arrested as he broke laws prohibiting the publication of advice on remedies for venereal disease. By the age of 20, Branson had already established the Virgin Records shop, which experienced continuous cash-flow problems even when sales were high. To pay off an overdraft, Branson pretended to buy records for export to escape the excise tax on sales. Virgin Atlantic was founded in 1984, starting off with one jumbo jet for a year.

During the Government certification flight, birds flew into an uninsured engine, resulting in an explosion. Branson had to pull out cash from his overseas financial subsidiaries and reconstructed the company. After a court battle with British Airways—Branson claimed that they played dirty tricks to steal passengers—rising fuel prices and the economic environment of the 1990s, Branson had to sell Virgin Music in 1992 to Thorn EMI.

vi. Walt Disney (Disney):

Since his youth, Walt Disney wanted to be a newspaper cartoonist, but he found himself constantly rejected. A reporter once told him that he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. After Disney founded his first cartoon studio at the age of 22, a bad business deal left the company bankrupt. This led to a trip to Los Angeles. All he had with him was a suitcase that contained a shirt, two undershorts, two pairs of socks and some drawing material.

His attempt to become an actor never came true, but he founded Disney Studios with his brother Roy. During World War II, the United States army took over Disney Studios as a repair shop for tanks and artillery. His animators were all sent to war, including Disney. The company ended up with a debt of more than $4m as business after the war was slow. Although they had started distributing in Europe, Walt and Roy were having problems getting finance to the USA. So, they started producing feature films overseas.

What are the lessons we could all learn from the six entrepreneurs above? (i) Never give up, and (ii) Nothing of value ever comes easy. As Henry Ford once said, ‘failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently’.

Quality # 5. Opportunity Orientation:

Entrepreneurs realize that every event and each situation is a business opportunity. Ideas are constantly being generated about workflows and efficiency, people skills and potential new businesses. They have the ability to look at everything around them and focus it toward their goals. Successful entrepreneurs spot an opportunity, build a strategy around that and proceed with an action plan to make things happen.

While making things happen they rely on their ‘gut feeling’. Most entrepreneurs rely more on gut feelings to make decisions than they do on a conscious analysis of a situation. Even though they may be highly analytical and like to accumulate lots of data, their actual decisions are usually based on what feels right. A recent survey of top level executives and company owners reported that most high-income decision makers gather as much information as possible and consult with their mastermind team, but in the end, they make decisions based on gut feelings or intuition.

Herb Kelleher and Southwest Airlines:

When Herb Kelleher took an aptitude test at Wesleyan University, where he majored in English, he was told that there were three things he was best suited for – working as a journalist, an editor, or a lawyer. Kelleher chose law, and it was a good thing. It would take five long years of often tortuous litigation by competitors to get Southwest Airlines out of court and into the air in June 1971. In an industry plagued by vast amounts of red ink, Southwest marked its 39th consecutive year of profitability in 2011, a seat unmatched in the US aviation history.

What’s more, Kelleher, 81, proved that one could still charge low fares and make a tidy profit. Southwest is not only the largest US domestic airline but it is also responsible—as one economist noted—for 90 per cent of the low-fare airline business that exists in America. How did Kelleher do it? He kept costs extraordinarily low and customer service high, and he did both by creating a culture that respected the people he carefully hired.

Like Sam Walton, he understood that frontline personnel can either make or break you. And Kelleher got his people to sign on to the program through profit-sharing plans and stock options that made the employees feel and act like owners. This strategy separated Southwest from the pack. Kelleher knew from day one that Southwest—which wanted to fly uncontested routes at discounted prices—would not survive the brutal competition without the wholehearted support from its employees.

He needed their support to convert his logic into a winning proposition. He wanted employees to save every penny. Even pilots were asked to carry the baggage of customers so that the planes could be quickly serviced and kept ready for the next flight. Instead of serving refreshments to customers, Southwest relied upon a funny and family-like atmosphere—marked by fun, frolic and humour—created by its own crew members in making the short journey enjoyable to passengers.

A low-cost carrier had to run the show frugally and that was what employees were made to understand and act. It is no wonder that Southwest has been able to achieve profits consistently for over 40 years now—all because of its ability to strike a rapport between its goals, resources and strategy.

Quality # 6. Initiative and Responsibility:

Entrepreneurs know that if something needs to be done, they should start it themselves. They set the parameters and make sure that projects follow that path. They are proactive, not waiting for someone to give them permission. They actively seek and take the initiative. They jump into the arena where they have to face challenging situations and remain accountable for results. Successful entrepreneurs also like to look at situations where their own impact on problems can be measured. Action orientation remains their key focus area at all times. They like to be called independent and highly self-reliant innovators.

Karsanbhai Patel – The Self-Starter:

This is the story of how an Indian entrepreneur took on big MNCs and rewrote the rules of business. It was in 1969 that Dr Karsanbhai Patel started Nirma and went on to create a whole new segment in the Indian domestic detergent market. During that time, the domestic detergent market had few players, and was dominated by the MNCs. Karsanbhai Patel used to make detergent powder in the backyard of his house in Ahmedabad, from where he used to sell it door-to-door.

He gave a money- back guarantee with every pack that was sold. Karsanbhai Patel managed to offer his detergent powder for per kg when the cheapest detergent at that time was per kg and so he was able to successfully target the middle and lower middle income segment. (‘Sabki Pasand Nirma’ was the famous tagline of Nirma.) Nirma became a huge success as a result of Karsanbhai Patel’s entrepreneurial skills. This shrewed businessman had good knowledge of chemicals and came up with Nirma detergent, which was a result of an innovative combination of the important ingredients.

With the use of indigenous methods in manufacturing, the detergent was more environment friendly than others. Consumers now had a quality detergent powder that was also affordable. The process of detergent production was labour intensive, which gave employment to a large number of people. Nirma focused on cost-reduction strategies to make a place for itself in the market. This brand has always been known for offering quality products at affordable prices and, thus, creating good value for the consumer’s money.

In the 1980s, Nirma moved ahead of Surf, a detergent by HLL, to capture a large market share. Later, Nirma successfully entered in the premium segment of soaps and detergents and went on to become the largest detergent and the second largest soap company in India. Nirma had more than 35 per cent market share in the detergent segment and around 20 per cent market share in the toilet soap segment.

The company was listed on the stock exchanges in the year 1994. Launched in 1969 with just one man delivering his product from door to door—on a bicycle—the company today employs around 14,000 people and has a turnover of more than $500 million. Nirma’s annual revenues have crossed Rs. 5000 crore and the company now has over 15,000 employees.

Quality # 7. Persistent Problem Solving:

Entrepreneurs are self-confident and possess high levels of optimism. When problems confront them, they seem to spend a lot of time in defining the problem correctly and then search for as many alternatives as possible. In their dictionary, there is a solution for every problem. They are very realistic about what they can do and what they cannot do. By the same yardstick, they also know to what extent they can go and are aware of where and when to quit the game.

They do not jump into situations blindly. They seem to assess everything by weighting the options, the pros and cons of everything carefully and critically. When required, they do not hesitate to seek help and feedback from others. In this regard, they can be termed as quick learners. In fact, they seem to learn from every situation and grow from strength to strength—based on valuable feedback and insights from the market place.

Phil Knight and the Story of Nike:

Born in Portland Oregon on 24 February 1938, Philip H Knight would become ‘the most powerful person in sports’. He is the co-founder and current Chairman of the Board for Nike, Inc. Phil Knight attended Cleveland High School in Portland Oregon from where he went on to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene, having earned a journalism degree in 1959. It was at the University of Oregon that Knight discovered his love for athletics as a middle distance runner in track and field under the tutelage of Coach Bill Bower man.

He received varsity letters in 1957, 1958 and 1959 for track and had achieved a personal best mile of 4:10. After graduating in 1959, Knight enlisted in the US Army, for one-year active service and the following seven years as a reservist. During his reserve duty, he attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business to obtain his degree in Master of Business Administration. It was in a business class that Knight discovered he had a passion other than athletics, and that was as an entrepreneur.

His instructor, Frank Shallenberger, had assigned him to write a business plan on something he enjoyed and knew about. That assignment led to the inspiration for Knight to form a company selling shoes to athletes. His paper, titled, ‘Can Japanese Sports Shoes do to German Sports Shoes what Japanese Cameras did to German Cameras?’ was directed at answering the question whether a shoe could be designed and manufactured for less cost with better quality than the current leader in athletic shoes, Adidas.

His paper inspired him to such an extent that after graduating from Stanford with an MBA in 1962, Knight actually put his fictitious work into practice by flying to Japan and meeting with executives of Onitsuka Tiger Co, a manufacturer of Adidas knockoffs. He told the Tiger executives that he was the head of Blue Ribbon Sports (a fictitious company he created to convince Tiger that he was a serious buyer), and that he wanted to distribute their shoes in the United States. Tiger officials agreed to send him samples after Knight convinced them he would place a large order once he was able to show the samples to his partners (also fictitious).

Upon returning to the United States, Knight borrowed $500 from his father to pay for the samples and start up his business. Shortly thereafter, he received the samples and immediately sent a few pairs to his former coach Bill Bowerman in the hopes that coach Bowerman would buy them and help promote the shoes to his athletes.

Instead, Bowerman offered to put up $500 and join Knight as a partner in this new venture. The two new partners officially formed Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, purchased 200 pairs of shoes from Tiger, and began selling them to athletes at track meets throughout the Oregon and Washington region.

Knight’s storefront was his early 1960s Plymouth Valiant. Knight had to maintain his job as an accountant while selling shoes. However, by 1969, he was able to leave his job and begin working full-time for Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971, with sales exceeding $3 million, Knight decided to break with Tiger and start designing his own line of shoes named Nike (suggested by a friend, Jeff Johnson, after the Greek- winged goddess of victory). Knight commissioned Portland State art student Carolyn Davis to create the ‘swoosh’ logo as Bowerman designed the waffle sole for better traction.

The new Nike shoe debuted in 1972. Utilizing sports figures to promote his shoes, Knight embarked on an advertising campaign that included the likes of John McEnroe, and later, Michael Jordan. Sales flourished tremendously and in December 1981 the company was officially named Nike, Inc. By 1986, Nike sales hit a tremendous $1 billion, becoming the number one selling shoe in the world.

In 2004, Philip Knight stepped down as CEO but continues to remain as chairman of the board. Utilizing creativity and inspired by his own driving desire to build a better shoe, from a fictitious ‘paper’ company Philip Knight created a billion dollar industry. As of 2008, he is the 30th richest man in the world with assets of nearly $10 billion.

Quality # 8. High Energy Levels and Intensity of Purpose:

Entrepreneurs seem to possess high levels of energy, and a high intensity of purpose often drives them. Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) wrote ‘I have been over blessed with drive and ambition. I have always pursued everything with a true passion—some would call an obsession’. When Disneyland opened, Walt Disney never left the park for three months!

Thomas Edison was famous for sleeping on his workbench and not leaving his workplace for days or weeks at a time. He did not want to leave his lab for fear that he would miss out on some great mystery while asleep. At the age 65, he averaged 122 hours a week in his workplace. Picasso lived life on the edge and continued to work in his studio nearly every single day. He worked incessantly through the Spanish Civil War and both World Wars and also through a great deal of turbulence in his personal life.

He often had five paintings in progress at the same time. They do not seem to get impacted by extraordinary workloads as they seem to be very passionate about what they do. They like to be part of the change and do not have respect for routines of various kinds. They are, in short, thrill-seeking warriors. Boldness and fearlessness mark their actions. They love to gain full control over their lives through their own actions.

Quality # 9. Strong Interpersonal Skills and Team-Building Abilities:

The entrepreneur has strong communication skills to sell the product and motivate employees. Most successful entrepreneurs know how to motivate their employees so the business shows overall growth. They are very good at highlighting the benefits of any situation and coaching others towards success. They have a clear view of where they want to go. They have the ability to sell their dreams to others. It is this passion that often compels people to follow the entrepreneur.

Quality # 10. Creativity and Innovation:

Creativity refers to the ability to combine ideas in a unique manner; it is a process of looking at issues from different angles and breaking away from old rules and norms that bind us to the traditional ways of accomplishing tasks. Innovation, on the other hand, is the ability to channel creativity into useful outcomes. Entrepreneurs are creative as well as innovative. They think differently and act differently. At the age of 12, Henry Ford started looking at the horseless carriage in a different way— as to how to invent a motor car that will help speedy movement of people from place to place.

Ingwar Kamprad, the man who set up IKEA, visualized a great future for furniture that is made in modular form—whereas conventional methods relied upon making bulky furniture—well ahead of his times. Michael Dell did not invent the computer. Nor did he invent its software. He made selling of computers a great business by simply following an unconventional direct selling method (that eliminated middlemen eating away profit margins) that helped reduce prices for the consumers.

Frederick Smith was able to build a great company called FedEx by simply restructuring the way packages were delivered to the end users—deliver overnight safely Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw the monstrous power of spreading information free of charge to end users and the rest is history.

One man’s thinking (Ratan Tata) of producing a people’s car Nano proved to be a defining moment in the history of global automotive industry. By turning a mundane product like coffee into a powerful global brand, Howard Shultz was able to build Starbucks. Cup by cup, Starbucks has changed the way people from different continents drink coffee. Again, a glorious example of thinking differently.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur – Capacity to Assume Risk, Ability to Learn from Experience, Ability to Marshal Resources, Control and a Few Others

An entrepreneur may be called successful only if he is able to accomplish the targeted objectives. In layman’s terms, a successful entrepreneur is the one to implement his perceived idea of setting up a business unit and carry out its business operations successfully. Successful entrepreneurs may be characterized by an unusual alertness; a propensity of risk taking and a strong desire for achievement.

Based on these foundational traits, some of the qualities that an entrepreneur may possess can be jotted down as:

1. Capacity to Assume Risk:

Considering that an entrepreneur works both as an investor and financer, he should have immense belief in himself to assume risks. It is high degree of vision, foresight and imagination which helps him to manage risks. It has been observed that moderate risk taking attitude of an entrepreneur fetches him higher returns than the ones who either are willing to take risk or extravagant risks.

2. Ability to Learn from Experience:

Business environment involves an element of ‘uncertainty’ in it. Hence, all entrepreneurs have to deal with it and in the process it is normal for them to commit errors. Only those entrepreneurs bear the fruits of success who learn from their past mistakes and experiences.

3. Ability to Marshal Resources:

An entrepreneur can be successful only if he can arrange for the necessary resources at reasonable cost and time. Such mobilization of resources requires sound judgment, high ambition, willingness to win and determination of the entrepreneur.

4. Ability to Organize and Administer:

Critical skills are required to build up a sound business organization. “The organization builder must be able to harness the new ideas. He has to select, train and develop the people who can share most of his burden. He must be able to develop motivation and loyalty among his staff.”

5. Control:

Any entrepreneur with a calm and controlled attitude will be able to mould his destiny and that of his enterprise by his commitment towards work. For this, he must have self-control, self-administration and self-confidence along with self-motivation.

6. Technical Knowledge and Adaptive Nature:

An entrepreneur can maximize on his revenues only by his flexibility towards modern techniques and methods of production and innovative sales and marketing of his products. It is also necessary to be able to initiate and adapt changes.

Recent history of the successful entrepreneurs, like Dhirubhai Ambani has revealed that they have been able to achieve high rate of growth only through their adaptability to changing patterns of production with available resources, market conditions and quality of output.

7. Assertiveness:

Successful entrepreneurs do not surrender before the power of and become victorious by asserting themselves. They do not have an inferiority complex and believe that they can do as well as, even better than others.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur – 20 Qualities of an Entrepreneur: Initiator, Opportunity Seeker, Calculated Risk Taker, Information Seeker and a Few Others

Some people believe that entrepreneurs are born and cannot be made. In other words, business family background is essential to become a successful entrepreneur. Others believe that entrepreneurs are made and not born. According to them, persons with proper knowledge and skills acquired through education and experience can become successful entrepreneurs.

In order to resolve the controversy on what makes successful entrepreneurs, many research studies have been conducted by different agencies and researchers.

On the basis of different studies, the following common points have emerged which are essential for a successful entrepreneur:

1. Initiator – As per the demand of the situation, the entrepreneur takes initiative to start a new enterprise.

2. Opportunity Seeker – The entrepreneur, like a watch log, always remains in search of right business opportunities to convert them into projects and profits.

3. Calculated Risk Taker – An entrepreneur is usually a calculated risk taker. He enjoys the excitement of challenges, but does not gamble. An entrepreneur avoids low risk situation, because there is a lack of challenges in it. He also avoids high risk situation, because he wants to succeed. That is why, an entrepreneur likes achievable challenges and is called a calculated risk taker.

4. Information Seeker – An entrepreneur learns from the experiences of others and enriches his business information to help him reach the goal.

5. Persistent – An entrepreneur follows the saying – ‘Try and try again, you will succeed at last.’ He is always ready to make extreme efforts to get rid of the obstacles coming in the way of reaching the ultimate goal.

6. Committed to Work – An entrepreneur accords the utmost priority to accomplish the work.

7. Efficiency Lover – An entrepreneur tries to do things at a faster pace so that production cost can be reduced. He welcomes advanced technology and is interested in improving and upgrading the quality of his product and service.

8. Quality Conscious – An entrepreneur always puts efforts to excel better than the existing standards of performance. He well visualises the likely changes and adopts them as and when the changes take place.

9. Proper Planner – An entrepreneur frames realistic business plans and follows them rigorously to achieve the objectives.

10. Self-confident – An entrepreneur strongly believes in his strengths and weaknesses. He is very energetic, hardworking, resourceful, very alert to new opportunities and able enough to adapt to changing conditions.

11. Assertive – An entrepreneur asserts his issues, whatsoever these might be, in the interest of his enterprise. He has the capacity to persuade others to do what he wants.

12. Efficient Supervisor – An entrepreneur personally supervises the work to ensure that the work is accomplished according to the standards set for the enterprise. He has the ability to organise and manage the various factors of production to the best of his enterprise.

13. Sound Technical Know-how – An entrepreneur possesses the required technical knowledge and is ready to adapt to changes as and when required. He is very sensitive to new demands and market changes.

14. Efficient Financial Management – An entrepreneur has the ability to utilise the finances at his command in the best possible manner for achieving his ultimate business objectives. He is also interested in expanding the scale of his operations by way of ploughing back his profits and earnings.

15. Good Human Relations – This is the most important quality one should possess to become a successful entrepreneur. He understands the problems and difficulties of the-workers and staff working in his enterprise. He takes proper action to improve the welfare of the employees so that they have a feeling of belongingness.

16. Innovativeness – An entrepreneur is more than an inventor. He uses the inventions in commercial way by changing combinations. He is creative in the sense that he does things in new and better ways.

17. Leadership – An entrepreneur should be a leader in the true sense. He should have all the qualities of a good leader having confidence, courage, balanced mind in adverse situations and always aiming to achieve his goal.

18. Systematic Approach – An entrepreneur must have a systematic approach for venturing upon a new product or new task. This systematic approach should include product analysis, market survey and alteration in product design with time.

19. Saving Habit – An entrepreneur must have the saving habit and should maintain money reserves. This helps him in facing the lean days in business and provides a scope for future expansion.

20. Courageous – An entrepreneur must have the courage to face the problems in all situations. He must have confidence and faith in himself. He should be prepared to bear the risk and uncertainties in his enterprise.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur – Entrepreneurial Qualities for Economic Development

As per the findings of Development economics, natural resources, Physical and Capital accumulation, Human resource development and Technological progress, will decide the economic growth of a country, when socio-economic environment is favourable to growth. At the same time behavioural pattern of people is also responsible for economic development.

Human qualities, which promote economic development, are:

(i) Interest in Material Well-Being:

People must take interest in activities that help economic growth, which in turn promote employment opportunities, Availability of various types of goods to satisfy their day-to-day need. And economic security and social unity.

(ii) An Interest in Techniques and Innovations:

People, especially group which has entrepreneurial characteristics must have knowledge of newer techniques and scientific innovations so that they can adopt for their project to produce goods / service at reasonable cost to help the common man and to get benefited.

(iii) An Ability to Look Ahead and Willingness to Take Risk:

The person who take entrepreneurship as his career must look always ahead to see what changes are happening in environment, market, taste of people and so on to use these to go for new project by taking risk. Entrepreneur knows very well, that honest attempt to adopt the changes in atmosphere by taking risk will definitely show him the path of success.

(iv) Perseverance:

What trait has the power of change an ordinary person into an extraordinary one? The perseverance, steadfastness, patience or tenacity. It is the ability to hold on to your dream like a pit bull, refusing to let go, regardless of the obstacles. Perseverance is one of the secrets of success. If the entrepreneur moves towards his goal, never quitting, he will eventually each it. Winston Churchill delivered the nine-word mantra i.e., “Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!” The entrepreneur is person who faces the risk on his path and come out with success because of this character – perseverance.

(v) An Ability to Collaborate with Others and Observe Certain Rules:

The entrepreneur has to deal with in various occasions with suppliers, customers, Government officials and workers. He must get the thing done by these people for the success of his project. He must have tack ticks to deals with these people in different ways, which suits them, and get his work done. For this he has to collaborate with outsiders and insiders with certain discipline. Many entrepreneurs will get successful by mere their behaviour and way in which he communicates with others with pleasing manner.

The above qualities are necessary for the reason that:

(i) It Provides a Motive – The entrepreneur with above characters will definitely have a motive to complete his project and produce goods/service by employing borrowed capital and hired workmen successfully.

(ii) Many different technical aids are used in modern industry and these are continuously changing.

Today the entrepreneur may employ the available technology to manufacture goods but in technological field, advanced/modified/more efficient technologies are being introduced, which can produce goods now manufacturing on old technology in an efficient way and increase productivity which yield higher returns. The entrepreneur must have ability to judge and change the existing technology if necessary.

(iii) Installation of capital goods produces results only after considerable time and these results may sometimes prove disappointing.

Entrepreneur cannot expect returns as soon as he starts the production. It is because the established machines have to set right to the system and start giving production in various rates. For example, they produce goods only at 60% capacity in the first year and 70% efficiency in the second year and at 90% efficiency in 4th or 5th year. Meanwhile due to usage wear and tear of machinery starts and maintenance problems arise. Hence, the entrepreneur must have guts to face the entire problem and manage the organization successfully to win the game.

Now the question arises before us is the qualities necessary for economic development are available in the population of developing economy or they should be acquired and people should be groomed to entrepreneurial culture. Also, the biggest question is what sort of socio- cultural environment must exist for acquisition of entrepreneurial qualities? To understand this, the phases of industrialization and study of various theories of entrepreneurship will be helpful.

If we study the history of Industrial Revolution of late 10th century which took place in Britain and later speared to other countries, we come to understand that the state of science and technology applied to industry and other economic development was stagnant. The western economy has undergone well defined, but no man’s non-overlapping stages like- Primitive, Tribal, Ancient Agriculture, Medieval Feudal and Traditional Capitalist stages before reaching present modern capitalism with highly developed and sophisticated technology.

In these earlier stages neither economic organization nor technology was complex enough to require or engender entrepreneurship of a high order. But one thing we have to understand that the functions performed by a peasant, and artisan, a feudal lord and a capitalist resembled the functions of their prototypes of the modern economy.

In the second half of 20th century the situation of developing economy is entirely different and witnessed tremendous changes in technology as well as economy. Moreover, the last two centuries one can witness enormous progress in science and technology, which has become a decisive factor in economic environment. Changes taking place in various fields such as social-cultural, science, technology, environment in general with in the country and all over the world owing to exposure through trading and other relations among the countries are posing challenges to developing economies.

If one carefully examines, it can be understood that the internal challenges are due to growing awareness on the part of the people regarding their economic backwardness compared to other countries and the challenges from outside are the result of its contact with countries that have progressed rapidly over the last 150 + years. Here comes the real picture of entrepreneurship, which assumes a prominent role, which will accelerate the economic development of underdeveloped countries.

The difference in setting and relative position between the present day developing economies and the industrialized economies in their early stages of development makes the entrepreneurial role in the developing economies different from that of typical entrepreneur during the early periods of industrialization of industrially advanced countries.

Hence, the qualities to be possessed by an entrepreneur of underdeveloped economy are:

(a) Exchange Relationship:

(i) Perception of Market Opportunities (Novel or Imitative):

Entrepreneur must conduct market survey and identify the better opportunity for the selection of product / project, so as to go ahead with his work successfully. The product he selects may by his innovation depending on the demand in the market or it may be imitative of the popular product already available in the market.

(ii) Gaining Command over Scarce Resources:

He has to identify the scarce resources required by him for his project/product and see they are available with him when demand arises for the resources. He must plan well in advance about his requirement and make arrangements to get the resources as needed or he must search for alternative resource for his product without sacrificing the quality of the product. He must see that under any circumstances the production activity will not suffer.

(iii) Purchasing Inputs:

All the inputs such as material, manpower, money and machine power must be planned well in advance and see that they are purchased and provided on time so that the production activity will not suffer.

(iv) Marketing of the Product and Responding to Competition:

The entrepreneur must know the marketing techniques for his product and select the appropriate channel to sell his product in the market. At the same time he has to take care of competition in the market and respond to it so that sales of his product do not have any problem.

(b) Practical:

The entrepreneur has certain practical problems in addition to the managing of his unit.

They are:

(i) Dealing with Public Bureaucracy (Concession, License, Taxes etc.):

Entrepreneur has to deal with various government organizations and officials to get the license for his unit, permission for power supply, loans from bank and commercial tax officials. He must know the ways of contacting the people in the bureaucratic world and get the thing done. This is management of human relations outside the firm.

(ii) Management of Human Relations within the Firm:

He must use his good self to manage the human being working in the firm and see that the atmosphere of co-operation is maintained and good human relation is maintained within the firm.

(iii) Management of Customer and Supplier Relationship:

In addition to the human beings within the firm, he has to deal with suppliers as well as customers. He must maintain good relationship with suppliers so that they will supply the required resources without any interruption and wait for payment of the bill. On the other hand, he has to maintain good relationship with customers by having after sales service etc.

(c) Management Control:

(i) Financial Management:

Entrepreneur has to provide fixed and working capital for his firm and arrangement are made to procure them in time so that he can produce the goods as planned. He must exercise control on these resources so that he will not be in trouble in future.

(ii) Production Management:

Entrepreneur must use all the resources with care and see that the product is produced optimally. Optimal utilization of resources is the key to success.

(d) Technology:

(i) Acquiring the required technology and machines and over-seeing assembly of factory.

(ii) Entrepreneur must be well versed with industrial engineering techniques and use them in his production system to produce product optimally.

(iii) Upgrading Process and Product Quality:

Entrepreneur should not forget that he is living in the competitive atmosphere. To face the competition, he must improve the quality of his product by giving additional utility of the product or change the aesthetic aspects of the product. At the same time he must have the knowledge of improvement of technology and accordingly upgrade the process so that he can face the competition successfully.

(iv) Introduction of New Production Techniques and Products:

Entrepreneur should not keep quite as soon as he attains success in his product line. He must think of growth of his line and search for new products and new production techniques to expand his production activities and see that he will be king of salt to software line.

The study of entrepreneurship in plural and socially stratified societies like India is more difficult and intriguing. The enmeshing of economic factors with socio-cultural and political factors makes the study of entrepreneurship both interesting and difficult at the same time. The field of entrepreneurship attracts talent from economists, sociologists, psychologists, socio-anthropologists and political scientists.

The socio-cultural and other environmental factors are responsible for on-going controversy about theories of entrepreneurship, motives that inspire individuals to become entrepreneurs, the factors that determine the degree of their success and so on.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur

A successful entrepreneur needs to take fear out of failure, have a worthy goal, never give up, be ready for work-life imbalance, believe in his/her vision, and be ready to change course, if the need arises.

1. Take Fear Out of Failure:

It can also be described as the Edison way. An entrepreneur has to take calculated risks shaking off the fear of failure. When starting out, most of the successful entrepreneurs put their entire savings at stake and burned all bridges so that there is no looking back.

It is but natural for people to feel fear at the prospect of losing all and entrepreneurs try to take fear out by reducing the risks out of their ventures, by learning from their failures, and by persisting through their failures.

2. Have a Worthy Goal:

It can also be described as the Tim Berners-Lee way. Entrepreneurship is not just money, power, or influence. If you are afraid of losing money, you may not take the prudent risks that all entrepreneurs must take to succeed. ‘If you think money is a real big deal you will be too scared of losing it to get it’ as one founder-entrepreneur of a major international broadcasting company put it.

The inventor of the Internet and the Director of the world wide web consortium, Tim Berners-Lee has not patented his invention as he believes that the goal of helping the people to connect is a worthy goal and, hence, beyond money consideration. Berners-Lee along with Robert Cailliau invented the World Wide Web (www) in 1989 while he was working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory.

3. Never Give Up:

It can be described as the Robert Bruce way. It is characterized by a dogged determination along with resilience to succeed in the face of what seems like impossible odds is the defining characteristic of entrepreneurs. Most projects that fail do so because their initiators gave up too often short of it. Entrepreneurs should remember the story of King Robert Bruce of Scotland, who won his battle against all odds.

4. Be Ready for Work-Life Imbalance:

This can be described as the Curie way. An ambitious entrepreneur has to be prepared to make several sacrifices on the personal front. The early years of a new venture are the most demanding and challenging. The entrepreneur rarely finds time for family or friends and is immersed in work.

These long hours take their toll on their personal and social life. Entrepreneurs ultimately find themselves isolated from the world. Madame Curie is a shining example of what that sacrifice means. Her early research, together with her husband, was often performed under difficult conditions.

Laboratory arrangements were poor and both had to undertake teaching to earn a livelihood. Despite this she won the noble prize twice, first in physics and then in chemistry.

5. Believe in Your Vision:

It can be described as the Google way. The ultimate defining attribute of a successful entrepreneur is an unconditional faith in the business idea and its execution despite the opposition from every side. Entrepreneurs tend to respond to the cynics around them by becoming even more committed to their ideas. They believe that what others think impossible, is possible.

Akio Morita, the co-founder of Sony Corporation, shares an anecdote, ‘Two shoe salesmen find themselves in a rustic part of a country. The first salesman wires back to his head office, “there is no prospect of selling shoes to the natives, as they don’t wear shoes.” The other salesman wires, “no one wears shoes here. We can dominate the market. Send all possible stock.”

True entrepreneurs are eternal optimists and passionate about their vision, just like Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. The Google philosophy can be expressed in five general principles—work on things that matter, affect everyone in the world, solve problems with algorithms if possible, hire bright people and give them lots of freedom, and do not be afraid to try new things.

As a general practice, Google also requires that its engineers spend 20 per cent of their time working on personal technology projects unrelated to their primary projects.

6. Be Ready to Change Your Course:

The entrepreneurs need to be flexible enough to change their course like a mighty Himalayan river if the situation so demands. Every couple of years or so the gushing mountain rivers change their course on account of flash floods and cover the surrounding land with alluvial soil.

The result is a constant replenishment of the fertility of the soil in the spirit of creative destruction. Steadfastness and flexibility at the right time is a defining characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. It can be described as the Himalayan river way.

Entrepreneurs need to be creative in their attempts. Creativity begins with the generation of ideas. It is also very much at work in the selection, development, and implementation of ideas. The highest form of art is perhaps business. It is an extremely creative form and can be more creative than all the things we classically think of as creative.

In business, the tools with which an entrepreneur works are dynamic—capital, people, markets, and ideas. Taking these tools and reorganizing them in new and different ways, turns out to be a very creative process. This is actually what an entrepreneur attempts to do.

New Generation Entrepreneur:

The new generation of entrepreneurs want to pursue their own dreams rather than be just a cog in the wheel of big traditional businesses. For a growing number of young people, creating a business has become a calling, a vocation, and a mission. Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove (2000) in their book Generation Entrepreneur write about this new breed of young men and women who are not only driven by business ideas but also by technology.

This new breed of wealth creators and shapers of businesses are the new generation of e-literate knowledge workers who think differently about life in general. These new entrepreneurs are better educated than their predecessors, dislike hierarchy, and are shamelessly entrepreneurial.

Michael Dell of Dell Corporation, Jeff Bezos of Amazon(dot)com, and Marc Andreessen of Netscape are some iconic generation entrepreneurs who have been hugely successful. About half the businesses in America are now started by people who are 35 or under.

Many of them are serial entrepreneurs with a string of start-ups already under their belts by their early twenties. In India, a growing proportion of B-school graduates are shunning secure jobs with blue chip companies in favour of becoming entrepreneurs in their own right.