Over the years we have worked with a variety of entrepreneurs to help them develop successful businesses and have always been interested in debating what defines a successful entrepreneur. We recently read that for every technology start up that succeeds, another nine fail. Despite this, or perhaps in spite of this, hordes of young entrepreneurs each year will take the plunge and set up their own business, which sparks the question: are entrepreneurs born or made?
Some believe that entrepreneurial spirit is something you are born with. Indeed, a recent research study by Amway revealed that a successful entrepreneur must have the following six personality traits: difficult background; minority/disadvantaged group; disability; risk-lover and optimist; independence and social distinction; and need for achievement and power. This side of the debate will argue that working for yourself is completely instinctive and that survival is a key trait of the entrepreneur and it can’t be taught: you either have that ‘survival instinct’ or you don’t.
Conversely, some argue that nobody can claim to be born an entrepreneur; a successful entrepreneur is the sum of all his life experiences and is something that can be taught. Hard work, mistakes and a determined attitude combined with the right support at the right time are the key to ultimate success.
Upon reflection, it is probably true to say that successful entrepreneurs have certain similar traits in them from birth, but it is how these skills are coaxed that counts.
We would be delighted to hear your views.