What makes a great entrepreneur?

Even the best dictionary may not be in a position to capture the entirety of an entrepreneur. So our deliberations within this article are not exhaustive but I believe it will bring out some important aspects that you need to consider if you are to be defined as an entrepreneur.

From the environment in which we are raised, individual family situations, personal traits, and academic background among others, shape every entrepreneur, but even then there is a continuous rebirth of this person.

About 20 or 25 years ago a successful entrepreneur would have been defined against a list that would cover gender, age, level of education, religious affiliation, birthplace, family heritage, and even when one began venturing into business! Today, however, very few of these factors determine whether an entrepreneur succeeds or fails.

Entrepreneurs at heart

Every person has something special to offer this world. Not every person will be a resounding success at business. That’s why some people will be employees of one organization for life (climbing the ladder or in the same position); others will be briefly employed then become self-employed; others will always be job-hoppers – moving from one organization to the next – until retirement; and there are those who will start a business and the only boss they will ever know and answer to is themselves.

Whatever the case may be for those who are in their own businesses or are intending to start one, here are six things you cannot afford to do without. (source http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/steps/)


In each of us, there is something that makes us ready to sacrifice all we have for its own sake. Usually it is that which is most beautiful and sacred to us at a very personal level. When you have passion for what you do, you will defend it, work at it, have sleepless nights over it, shed tears for it and lay down your life for it. Simply put, passion is what drives you to literally make your dreams come true. Passion will keep you going even when the entire population does not see what you see.


We have all had dreams at one time or another. Even while asleep. To develop a vision, be daring enough to see what you want; the men and women who pay millions of dollars to visit the moon did not just wake up one day and decide that they wanted to walk the moon. They dared their future and status quo. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Vision is that simple. All you need is to focus your sights on what you want in life, and unbelievably, you will find yourself working daily towards that vision. If the Wright brothers had no vision of men flying like birds, we would be years back in terms of aircrafts!


It is said failing to plan is planning to fail. I also heard someone say that a lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part. Success is not a matter of luck – it requires practice, study and strategy. Even God designed and brought the world to be in a particular way following a plan He knew was going to work. Imagine if He had created man first then He separated land and water. Then after all was done, He saw it best to distinguish between light and darkness. This world would undoubtedly be a confused one. But I thank God that the logic of planning and preparation comes from him.

Before you go all out to bring your dreams to reality, learn all you can about your passion. Research, strategize and master every detail, no matter how minute, every possibility, every feature and distinct element of what your eye is set upon.

Keep in mind that knowing where you can go starts with knowing where you are, and where you have been.


According to Gen. H. Norma Schwarzkopf (Commander, Operation Desert Storm) “True courage is being afraid and going ahead and doing your job ANYHOW.” The business world today is no place for the faint hearted. It’s what we call cut-throat competition and if you slack off for only a fraction of a second, you are in trouble.

Foolish courage is the one that makes you pick and fight battles that you can happily afford to live without. Wise courage, and the one we are encouraged to embrace, is that one which has its roots in an impartial self-reality check. You look within yourself and find a mental and moral strength to pursue your dreams despite and in spite of hardship, pain, and mortal risk.

Perseverance/ Persistence

Carter Brown (Director Emeritus, National Gallery of Art) is quoted as saying:

“It is rewarding that my former classmates feel I’ve “made it” after having been the class joke”

No great achievement comes without obstacles: physical limitations, natural calamities, resistance from the outside world, your own thoughts about yourself, other people’s opinions about you and your success, government laws and so much more. It is sometimes good to give ear to words and observe the on goings around you. But don’t you even dare let one of them stop you. They may have some content that will make you walk more prudently, and that is good; but as long as they stop you on your tracks, that is a big no.

Take time to read biographies and autobiographies of our achievers. They sometimes met with failure, but they never abandoned their dreams. They, resolutely persevered until they succeeded against the odds and they continue as much even today.


Let us not lie to ourselves. The road to success has no shortcuts and no room for fraudsters or con artists. True achievers and lifelong wealthy entrepreneurs understand and internalize the fact that it is important to do the right things most of the time rather than the popular thing.

If your personal belief system as an entrepreneur is one of uncompromising standards and unwavering values, then it follows that your accomplishments will be based on the same. Unfortunately, wealth that comes from compromised sources never lasts. An oak seed begets an oak tree. A corrupt personality will be very easily transferred and seen in one’s dealings whether corporate or personal.

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