Cambridge AS A Level Business Studies/ ZIMSEC Advanced Level Business Studies/ Business Enterprise Skills Notes: Enterprising/ Entrepreneurship : Characteristics Of A Successful Entrepreneur

  • Now that we have looked at what an entrepreneur is and what they do
  • In simple terms, an entrepreneur is a person who brings together the factors of productions to produce goods and services
  • In the process, the entrepreneur will earn profit as a reward for taking this risk
  • It is important to note that not all entrepreneurs are successful
  • Remember entrepreneurs are taking a risk when they start a business/startup
  • This means there is always a probability that an entrepreneur may venture to create a business and fail
  • There are many reasons why business/startups fail
  • However, one of the reasons why a business will succeed is because of the entrepreneur/founder’s character
  • Successful entrepreneurs have certain characteristics that they have
  • These include:
    • positive attitude
    • self-motivation
    • risk taker
    • good leadership qualities/skills
    • innovator/innovative
    • good communication skills
    • goal/achievement oriented
    • Integrity
  • Below we will look at what each characteristic means and how it helps these entrepreneurs become successful

Positive attitude

  • ┬ábusinesses rarely operate smoothly and there are the inevitable ups and downs
  • A good entrepreneur sees their first failures as learning opportunities instead of a reason to quit
  • They always believe that they are going to overcome current problems and eventually succeed
  • A positive attitude will also help motivate the startup/business’s core team
  • Examples of how a positive helped someone become successful can be seen in biographies such as Strive Masiyiwa’s own stories about the early days of his business as well as the Google Story among others


  • They are very passionate about their ideas and not easy to dissuade
  • They believe in themselves and those that they lead
  • Are internally motivated to achieve their goals even when there is little or no outside encouragement


  • Successful entrepreneurs are natural risk takers
  • Remember starting a business involves taking a risk that the business will not be successful and the founder will lose everything they invested at the very least
  • These are not people that are risk averse
  • They do not blindly take risks ( gambling) but make calculated and informed decisions
  • They do not shirk away from the possibility of failure

Good leadership skills

  • Being a successful entrepreneur requires that one has good leadership skills
  • Leadership skills are required to marshal and inspire subordinates
  • A lot of successful leaders often have charisma
  • This means they have a charm and magnetism that they have which makes people want to follow them


  • Successful entrepreneurs are usually innovators
  • This means that they are revolutionaries who often come up with new ideas and approaches for problems
  • Usually, these ideas can be commercialised i.e. translated into a business case and create profits
  • An example is that of the founders of Google
  • The internet is a vast resource full of trillions of pages
  • There was no easy way to surf and organise it prior to Google
  • People relied on directories such as Yahoo where people surfed and catalogued the internet
  • Google created an automated a better and revolutionary method to index the internet allowing people to find what they want in a fraction of a second
  • This sort of out of the box thinking is an essential element of successful entrepreneurs
  • They also identify gaps and opportunities in the market that can be satisfied at a profit

Communication Skills

  • They say every person has at least one million dollar idea in their lifetime
  • What makes successful entrepreneurs stand out is their ability to communicate their ideas effectively
  • This allows them, for example, to pitch ideas and get funding from investors
  • Besides convincing people to invest in their ideas good communication skills enable them to communicate their objectives to their subordinates who carry them out
  • Successful entrepreneurs need good network and social skills

Goal oriented

  • Successful entrepreneurs are goal/achievement oriented
  • This means that they value accomplishments and are driven by intrinsic rewards
  • Instead of focusing on everyday tribulations they focus on what they can achieve if they are successful


  • It involves strict adherence to ethics without wavering or exception
  • Entrepreneurs tend to be people of their word
  • They tend to be dependable and their partners can rely on them
  • Without these characteristics, they would not be able to create invaluable partnerships and network


  • Linked to innovativeness above
  • They tend to be able to make the most out of limited resources
  • A lot of these self-made individuals tend to have very frugal lifestyles early in their lives

To access more topics go to the Advanced Level Business Studies/ Business Enterprise Skills page

To access more topics go to the Cambridge AS A Level Business Studies page