5 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs


Updated February 17, 2023 · 4 Min Read

Successful entrepreneurs are more than just intelligent and driven. Find out what unique characteristics many of the most prosperous entrepreneurs share.

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Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business. Some entrepreneurs run their businesses solo, while others hire team members to ensure their companies run smoothly.

The U.S. Census Bureau's Business Formation Statistics report shows the United States had a total of 410,348 new business applications solely in June 2022. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 Global Report reveals 16.5% of United States adults are categorized as early-stage entrepreneurs. Another 8.9% have an established business.

The GEM report also notes men are slightly more likely to start a business than women in the United States. Additionally, people 35 or younger are more likely to start or continue running a family business than those aged 36-64.

Entrepreneurship skills sometimes stem from education. For instance, an MBA can develop the knowledge necessary to form a business. However, certain personality traits — such as organizational skills, self-discipline, and adaptability — also help entrepreneurs succeed in their business endeavors.

Read on to learn about common entrepreneurship traits.

Why Choose Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship can offer work-life autonomy and flexibility. Business owners can choose how, when, and where they want to work. They can even choose with whom they want to work.

Entrepreneurship has grown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic: A 2021 article from Forbes reported that startup growth rates boomed in 2020. NBC News reported in 2021 that digital tools like online marketing and e-commerce have helped new businesses thrive.

Entrepreneurs can offer various products through their businesses, like pet supplies or homemade meals. They can also provide services through enterprises like moving companies or book publishers.

Perhaps the biggest draw to entrepreneurship is that founders do not need a formal education to start a business. Though a business bachelor's or master's degree can offer foundational leadership skills, entrepreneurs can also rely entirely on their interests, talents, and natural skills to propel them forward.

Still, training can come in handy. For example, entrepreneurial workshops and networking events can enhance skills and connections. Tapping into resources for specific groups can also help Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino/a and Hispanic, and Black entrepreneurs get support for their new businesses.

5 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

The following characteristics of successful entrepreneurs may be innate to some personalities. Other people can develop or strengthen these traits through education and experience.


Flexibility is one of the crucial traits of successful entrepreneurs. Running a business can be unpredictable. Therefore, entrepreneurship requires adaptability to any situation that arises so an enterprise can persevere.

Unexpected obstacles might defeat entrepreneurs if they lack a flexible mindset. An adaptable entrepreneur overcomes stumbling blocks through keen analysis, creative problem-solving, and planning for future barriers.

Flexibility also comes in handy when working with others, including vendors and employees. Being willing to adapt to others' needs can create a more unified work environment.


Entrepreneurs need self-motivation and self-discipline to succeed. As business owners, entrepreneurs must hold themselves accountable to do the work of making their companies thrive. They have to navigate finances, inventory, and customer satisfaction, often on their own.

Businesses can have rocky starts, taking an extended period to gain stability. However, successful entrepreneurs remain motivated to push through barriers and do what it takes to move their businesses forward. Motivated entrepreneurs commit to their goals, staying optimistic about what the future holds for their companies.


One prominent trait of successful entrepreneurs is resilience. Entrepreneurs who create prosperous businesses do not let failures define them. Instead, they see setbacks as opportunities for growth.

Businesses are never guaranteed to thrive. A successful entrepreneur remains resilient despite the inevitable challenges and uncertain future of their company. They understand how to identify problems and find solutions to move past these obstacles in pursuit of their end goal.


Although many entrepreneurs launch their businesses solo, they usually need to rely on others as their companies grow. Therefore, collaboration skills are necessary. Whether joining a business partnership, hiring employees, or connecting with vendors, entrepreneurs must understand how to communicate and work well with others.

Successful collaboration also means releasing some control to other people who can help grow a business. For example, an entrepreneur may need to rely on a marketing agency to plan promotional events and advertising campaigns. A business owner with collaborative skills is open to others' ideas and can respectfully negotiate to find solutions.

Willingness to Learn

Entrepreneurs start with an idea to launch their businesses. However, a successful enterprise has many moving parts. As a result, entrepreneurs must learn about many facets of business, from supply chain management to marketing to accounting. Managing each aspect of a company requires an ongoing willingness to learn as much as possible.

Attending workshops and finding mentors are among the methods entrepreneurs use to continue learning. They can also take online courses or participate in training programs through their professional networks. Pursuing additional knowledge is one of the key characteristics of entrepreneurs.

Resources to Help Entrepreneurs

The traits of successful entrepreneurs can carry them far. However, most business-minded individuals can also benefit from resources that help them start and grow their businesses, including the following:

SBA's funding programs offer short- and long-term working capital, long-term financing, and microloans for small businesses. Entrepreneurs can also access free online courses to learn how to market and scale their enterprises.

Learn more about patents and trademarks, including how to file applications to help secure the ideas and products integral to your business. The website also includes online registrations for patents and trademarks.

Understanding self-employment and small business tax regulations is crucial to all entrepreneurs. The IRS provides resources and forms for calculating, preparing, and filing your tax returns; hiring employees; and other tax situations.

MBDA connects minority business enterprises (MBEs) to financial help and clientele pools as they expand their businesses. MBEs can also attend MBDA-hosted networking and professional development events.

Self-employed individuals can use the NBA's online screening tool to determine whether they qualify for an SBA loan. The NBA also offers academic scholarships and free online learning resources.

NWBC's mission is to help women entrepreneurs and their businesses succeed. Women can attend year-round meetings and events to share their opinions about the current climate of women-owned businesses and learn from other women leaders.

Featured Image: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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