1. Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Am I Ready to Start a Business?

Starting a new business begins with a good idea or a great opportunity. Starting a successful new business begins with a well developed idea and a solid plan. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you the first step to a successful start – Do your homework!

Owning your own business can be rewarding but it’s not for everyone.

Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The nature of your business will determine which skills and strengths you need. Your personal initiative will influence your ability to add to them.

New business owners who succeed possess similar qualities. You may want to consider which of these you possess and which you will need to learn. For example, experience, leadership and perseverance can all be learned. Courses on entrepreneurship, starting a small business and other related topics are offered throughout PEI. Often, experienced leaders in the PEI business community are willing to mentor new business owners.

Successful entrepreneurs share some of the following qualities:


The majority of successful entrepreneurs have had first-hand experience in running a small business operation. Many entrepreneurs have worked in, or previously owned, a small business and are familiar with the operational problems and realities of business ownership. Often, experienced entrepreneurs venture into a business with their eyes open.


Successful entrepreneurs are mobile, versatile and flexible. They don’t like restriction and find it difficult to work within traditional structures. Entrepreneurs like to think of new and different methods of getting something accomplished.


Many view entrepreneurs as hardworking risk takers. However, it is leadership and team building qualities that differentiate the successful from the unsuccessful entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs realize that employees are their greatest resource and that results are achieved through the work of others.

Action takers

Successful entrepreneurs are doers. They like action not theory. They thrive on challenges and problem solving. Successful entrepreneurs exhibit drive and self-confidence and tolerate uncertainty. They are in charge of their own destiny and believe their own actions, not actions of others, determine their success or failure.


Entrepreneurs who have succeeded are not careless gamblers. They take moderate, well-researched and calculated risks.


Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to set goals, maintain long-term commitment and compete against self-imposed standards. They seek feedback on their efforts and explore new ways to do things. Successful entrepreneurs view failure as a temporary setback, a learning experience—disappointing but not discouraging.

If you believe you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, your next step is to decide if business ownership is the right career choice for you.

Is starting my own business the right choice?

Once you determine that you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, you can consider if owning your own business is the right career choice for you and your family at this time in your life. Expect long hours, uncertainty, and both financial and psychological stress during the initial and subsequent stages of starting your new venture. Are you and your loved ones prepared for the challenges?

Is this the right choice for me?

Entrepreneurship can be exciting and exhilarating. The sense of freedom that comes with being your own boss can be very rewarding. The only certainty about starting a new business is that there are no certainties. An entrepreneur must be able to deal with the uncertainties and emotional pitfalls that occur with new venture start-up. There is no guarantee of a pay cheque, leisure time or that you will still be operating in six months.

On average, new business owners work a minimum of sixty hours per week and still feel they should be spending more time on their business. A new business can encompass all facets of your life.

Is this the right choice for my family?

The majority of small business owners start their enterprise between ages 28 and 40, the same age many are raising a family. The challenges and risks associated with starting a business can have a significant impact on others. It’s one thing to put yourself in a position of financial liability; it’s another to put your family in the same position. Are your loved ones prepared for the stress, time commitments and sacrifices required to get your operation off the ground?

Deciding if you are ready is a critical step in starting a new business. To help you decide, ask yourself:

    • Am I willing to live with the insecurities of starting a new business?
    • Can I sacrifice my present lifestyle; leisure time, vacations, savings and possibly my home?
    • Am I fully aware of the impact my business venture will have on my personal life, family and friends?

Yes to the above questions may indicate your readiness to investigate and develop your business idea. If you do not feel ready for business ownership today, that is not to say that you won’t be ready for business ownership in the future.

Ready to learn more?

Check out our New Business Checklist to find more helpful resources and considerations for starting a successful business.