Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

We live in the age of entrepreneurship. Young people are venturing out on their own now more than ever before. The American dream of running your own business is alive and well. Students interested in being entrepreneurs probably already know the amount of work that goes into trying to get a startup off the ground. What entrepreneurial-minded students may not know is where to begin their quest for business independence.

The answer: yourself.

Successful entrepreneurs start from within. No matter how much money you’re able to raise toward startup costs, how strong your team is, or how great of a company name you’ve created, you won’t achieve success unless you prepare yourself first (although those things are important). Here we will discuss some of the main characteristics of successful entrepreneurs, and what students can do to foster said characteristics in themselves.


This is where you put the work in. Tenacity is a key characteristic of any successful person, and basically the entire mindset of successful entrepreneurs. Included above all in the tenacious mindset is determination and work ethic. A powerful work ethic, that striving need to succeed, is the most potent and highest valued trait an entrepreneur can possess. Determination is defined in entrepreneurial terms as the ability to take repeated failures in stride. Learning to accept rejection early on in your career (and life) is a trait that will save you immeasurable amounts of time and energy in the long run. Follow-up is also a huge part of being tenacious that tends to get overlooked. You have to be willing to try to make connection with others you never thought would be willing to have a conversation. You even have to be shameless from time to time – promote yourself at every opportunity like your life depends on it.

To cultivate tenacity within yourself, focus on your work ethic. Building a strong work ethic is the first step to constructing an entrepreneurial mindset. The key is to find ways of working that fit your life and your goals. Your specific method might include turning off all electronics for a couple hours each day to get work done. It might include writing down everything you need to do and completing tasks one at a time. It might also include devising one overarching goal that drives you to be successful. Pick a method and stick to it. Once a strong work ethic is in place, everything else will come much more easily.


Resourcefulness is about making the most of what you have. Luckily, entrepreneurs today have the internet at their disposal. Research is the backbone of everything entreprenerus do, so be prepared to do a lot of it. Become an expert on your business and the industry you are in. Learn everything about your competition, your market, and most importantly your customers.

Resourcefulness is also about using connections you have to your advantage, but mostly making new connections. Successfulll entrepreneurs never stop networking. The phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” often applies literally. Go to networking events, seek out customers and connections, and always keep your eyes and ears open.

Planning is another key part of resourcefulness. Plan out everything from your budget to your marketing goals to your morning routine. Finding a planning method that you will stick to is important, be it a written agenda or a digital calender or something else. Planning also gives your new business a timeline for goals. It’s best to set goals first and then plan up to and around them.

It is difficult to foster resourcefulness in oneself. It will take time to develop things like networking skills or timeline building. It can be learned, however, like everything else through determination. As with tenacity, be prepared to fail and definitely be prepared for rejection. Still, anyone can become an resourceful expert with the right training, research, and effort.


Having vision is a hard thing to define. The core of having vision is seeing opportunity where others don’t. This includes having a creative curiosity about industry shortcomings and your own business idea’s shortcomings. Constant improvement and critical thinking are all a part of vision. It’s worth noting here that passion drives vision. You need to love what you do and seriously believe in your product or service, and in yourself. If you have the passion, you’ll always be actively looking for new opportunities on which you can capitalize. Setting goals is also an important part of having vision. Here is the part where you can think big. In fact, think huge – as long as you are always thinking about your business in the long-term.

Vision, while difficult to teach, can be cultivated. Again, passion is what drives vision. Spend 90 minutes every day on your business’ “big idea.” Rework your mission statement, production plan, marketing strategy, etc. a thousand times. Vision is attained through a culmination of tenacity, resourcefulness, and of course passion.

If you want to embark on your own business adventure and think you have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, EBI can help. Our Business Administration Small Business Management Degree Program will help you cultivate the characteristics of successful entrepreneurship, all while teaching you the technical ins and outs of running a small business. Call 607-729-8915 to get started today.

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