The One Characteristic an Entrepreneur Needs for Success

It’s Not What You Think

Courage for Cowardly LionAccording to Geoffrey James of Inc. there’s one characteristic that great entrepreneurs have in common. Is it access to capital? Nope. Is it the ability to innovate? While this innate skill is no doubt very helpful, it’s not mandatory. So what is this pivotal ingredient?


According to numerous surveys, most people value security. The security that comes from a job with predictable income. So to have the gumption to start your own business has to surmount this urge for security.

Required Reading for Budding Entrepreneurs

E-Myth Revisited by Michael GerberIn his book The E Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber cites that 50% of businesses fail within the first five years. And the stats go downhill from there. If you haven’t already read this book — even if you have been in business for years — I highly recommend doing so. The biggest eye-opener for me was the concept of needing three personalities to run a successful business. They are:

  • The Entrepreneur — is the visionary or dreamer in all of us. This is the side of personality that sees opportunity in everything. This ties back to the idea of innovation and having the ability to capitalize on an idea and build a business around it.
  • The Manager — is pragmatic and realistic. This is the guy that understand process, knows how to build it and to maintain it.
  • The Technician — is the one who actually does the work. They love to spend time building the work product or delivering a service.

Often I hear new entrepreneurs say “I left the corporate world to spend more time doing the thing I’m really good at.” This actually means: I want to be a technician (not a manager or idea generator). In actuality, running  a business requires skills in all three areas. You also have to embrace sales.

Heros of Our Growing Economy

The US Census reports 21 million American businesses as “non-employer.” This means they operate without employees — namely these are micro-businesses. While they contribute a small portion of our gross domestic product (GDP), they make up the majority of business in the US. There are 21 million Americans who had the courage to go out on their own and take the risk of starting a business. Then… you have to maintain it. That’s where the E-Myth’s Manager comes in. Either you get help in this area (via a business coach/consultant) or bootstrap it (doing it yourself).

Have you started your own business? What support systems did you put into place before making the leap? If you haven’t made the leap yet, what questions do you need answered first?



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