This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

What Makes a Great Entrepreneur?

DATE: 07/09/20

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

Deciding to start your own business comes with a new set of challenges. From settling on a winning idea, to working on your business plan and securing funding to get things started. It’s a process that is new to most and can often feel overwhelming. So, knowing all of this is ahead of you, how can you be sure that you’re going to make a good entrepreneur? Is there any way of predicting whether you’ll be a success?

Unfortunately there is no magic algorithm to identify what makes a great business owner.  But there are certainly some commonalities that successful business people share.  After years working with new businesses and entrepreneurs, we’ve identified some stand-out characteristics that are useful to have if you’re considering taking the leap into being your own boss.

Consistency and commitment

Having a great idea is a good place to start but it’s not enough to ensure business success. Being committed to your business plan and making consistent efforts every day, every week, every month to move your vision forward is essential.

Problem-solving and creative thinking

Running your own business can feel like you’re solving one problem after the other so it really does take a certain type of person to enjoy that challenge and to bring creative, big-picture thinking to each hurdle. Entrepreneurial success is often borne from doing something new and novel or approaching something ordinary in a different way. Both of these requires you to look for solutions rather than problems.

Vision and ingenuity

Most successful entrepreneurs start with a great idea but just as importantly, they have a vision of how they intend to make that idea a reality. Staying true to that vision will be important. There are going to be criticisms along the way and while it’s important to take constructive criticism onboard, it’s also key to remain committed to your vision and to be creative in how you move it forward.

Discipline, drive, and determination

This one goes without saying. No business was ever a success without having consistent drive and determination to make it a success. There are going to be defeats, there are going to be challenges and there will be days when you may lose sight of your goal but a good entrepreneur will have the drive to keep moving forward, the discipline to eliminate distraction and the determination to refocus their energies.

Strong people skills

Essential in any business is the ability to communicate. Whether that means selling your product or service to clients or motivating your team to succeed, being a strong communicator is fundamental. If you can lead a team and inspire them with your vision and commitment, you are on the right path.

Self motivation

You are your own boss. There is no one there to tell you what to do, to give you goals to aim for and to inspire you to do better. That all has to come from you. Every successful entrepreneur has had to motivate themselves, to keep going through the highs and lows of business and to maintain a clear and focused head throughout.

Competitive nature

Markets are saturated and becoming increasingly so. It’s hard to come up with a novel business idea or a business niche that has not been conquered yet. It’s important that when you do decide to launch your own business, you do it knowing you’ll have to compete. Finding inspiration and motivation in that competition is a great bonus.

Not risk averse

Starting any business comes with risk but it’s how you handle that risk that matters. Many  entrepreneurs have the capability to mentally separate themselves from the fear of risk or uncertainty. Alternately they operate using that risk as motivation. There will always be uncertainty in business. Getting comfortable with that will offer you the freedom to make decisions and move forward without fearing failure at all times.

Sees failure as an opportunity

Every entrepreneur that has ever had success will confirm that experiencing failure is all part of business. In many cases, it can have be of benefit. Failure allows business to pivot, to shape and to grow. It gives an entrepreneur the chance to take on board the lessons they’ve learnt. To pick themselves up and carry on.  Being able to keep going in the face of failure is a very important skill.


The last one we’ll mention but truly the most important of all: an entrepreneur has to be passionate. Passionate about their business idea. About being their own boss. About believing in their own vision. And about being determined to make it a success. There are no half measures in business. Either you want to do it and are committed and passionate enough to make it happen, or you’re not.

Choose something you love doing, spend time making sure the business reflects what you believe in, and give it 100%.



Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.