What Does it Take to be a Successful Entrepreneur?

What makes a start-up successful? There are thousands of budding entrepreneurs out there, all trying to make it in the world of business – the cult-like status of BBC’s Dragons’ Den is enough to prove that.

But when do these ideas become a reality? To understand how to make your vision a reality, it’s worth knowing what qualities the success stories have. Their attributes, skills and mindset have got them to where they are. While each business model and plan is different in its own way and comes from founders and CEOs with their own perspectives, they do often share very similar characteristics.

Let’s look at the common traits, values and outlooks that make up a successful entrepreneur.

What Does it Take to be a Successful Entrepreneur?


Every business that we encounter each day, whether it’s an independent coffee shop in town or a global brand like Google, started with an idea. To get these businesses up and running, the person with the idea behind them will be creative.

Creative problem-solving is a common quality that entrepreneurs have. Their initial idea will be to solve a problem facing the community. For instance, the local high street needs an independent coffee shop or the world needs a way to search the web. This creativity will influence the day-to-day issues too, such as building the processes and hiring staff.


Dedication to the idea is another key attribute. Adam Carnell and James Kinsella, founders of, instantprint – a printing business specialising in flyers, leaflets, posters and business cards – agree. Having pulled a few all-nighters to get their company up and running, they know a thing or two about dedication:

“Adam had worked through the night and had gone home,” said James in a recent interview. “But he was the only one who knew how to get the data into the DPD label printer. We were ringing and we couldn’t get through… He was obviously knackered from pulling an all-nighter and had fallen asleep!”

Ability to prioritise

Knowing which problems to tackle first is a skill that entrepreneurs must hone. Whether you’re the only person behind the business or you work with a partner, being able to quickly weigh up which issues need your attention first will help you avoid larger problems later on.

This applies to budgeting too, especially in the early days of your start-up. There are steps you’ll need to take to keep costs low. For Adam and James, this meant not switching on the heating: “You’d just see James at his desk in his ski jacket and woolly hat,” said Adam.

Persistence (keep plugging away in the advice bit)

Perhaps one of the most important traits of an entrepreneur is persistence. Believing in your idea and persisting with this belief in the early days is likely to stand you in good stead should your business get off the ground: “Keep plugging away is definitely a great piece of advice [for other start-ups],” said Adam.

Once your idea takes flight, you’ll need that persistence to tackle the challenges that come with running a business. Persevering through the tough moments is what helps to build your business into a success.

FG Editorial Team
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