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  • Writer's pictureDr. Cristina DiPietropolo

Top 5 Critical Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur -Part 1

What makes an entrepreneur successful? This is an intriguing question since we still don't have a definite answer to it. However, we can always find a few qualities and characteristics that are common to all successful entrepreneurs. If you've just started a company or intend to embark on an entrepreneurial journey, there are five critical characteristics that will help you think and act like an entrepreneur. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we will discuss the first three characteristics and provide you with some takeaways to help you on your entrepreneurship quest.

1. Strong work ethic

Entrepreneurs need to get things done fast and efficiently. However, most entrepreneurs find it challenging to generate significant output and compete with companies that have more employees available to work on a similar set of tasks. At the same time, you should also acknowledge that large teams move at a slower pace, so you have an advantage. By introducing small changes in work ethic, you can improve your productivity.

Planning is fun and exciting but doesn't serve the purpose if not executed properly. People who can plan ahead and have the discipline to work hard are an asset.[1] Indeed, it is essential to bring everyone involved on the same page. Roles and responsibilities in the execution of your plan need to be clear to all those involved, and you need to get your team's buy-in to make things happen. But people don't care about the plans unless you achieve what you set out to do. In other words, you should focus on getting things done.

Being 'busy' doesn't always equal 'hard work.' If you cannot achieve your targets, then 'busy-ness' is nothing but a lack of focus. As an entrepreneur, you should be focusing entirely on initiatives that will make the most impact on your company.

Another possible side-effect of being busy is not being available to employees, managers, business partners, and family. You should make yourself available to answer calls, reply to emails, be there in crucial meetings, and don't rule out important events just because you don't have time. You can't make more time in your day. Instead, you need to prioritize and take the time to do what really matters!

Figure out what is consuming your time and negatively impacting your responsiveness. Cut things out of your life (i.e., activities that take you away from your focus as an entrepreneur) to give time to people and things that matter. The last piece of advice we have for you to build a strong work ethic is to push yourself. Create a habit of getting one more thing done before you pack up for the day and substitute items that are not so important for something that really matters.

Takeaway Tip:

Create a routine that allows you to achieve what we have mentioned above. Define what a successful day looks like and develop a routine that aligns with your goals.

2. Excellent social skills

Successful entrepreneurs exhibit amazing social skills. This is crucial because they will have to deal with customers, suppliers, investors, employees, and managers day in and day out. Convincing people about their products, ideas, and plans take exceptional social skills. So, how can entrepreneurs develop social skills?

It can be challenging to develop social skills, especially if you find it hard to socialize and network. Since it is an essential characteristic for an entrepreneur, you should start practicing in a non-threatening environment. Gain confidence and start increasing the difficulty.

Find people you can trust and ask them for feedback on your progress. Create and watch videos of you speaking to others. Figure out things that make you uncomfortable and try getting used to them. Most importantly, act on the feedback and develop more social skills.

Also, it would help if you didn't focus on achieving perfection. Pick specific goals and work towards them, significantly decreasing the time it takes to enhance social skills. A lot of social events involve small talk. Consider topics you like talking about like traveling, sports, hobbies, etc. Start conversations about these areas you are more comfortable with, and you will be able to start navigating these encounters more easily.

Social skills are like a muscle you can train. So, don't limit your social interactions to the office. Go out and hang out with close friends. Strike up a conversation with people around you and learn more about them. Non-businesses related communication can help immensely.

Takeaway Tip:

Find time out of your busy schedule and pick up an exciting hobby. This is a great way to build self-esteem and gain confidence in your ability to socialize. The idea is to put yourself out there and learn through experiences.

3. Empathy

Entrepreneurial success also depends on the people with whom you work. In other words, it is your team, customers, business partners, and competitors that help you turn into a successful entrepreneur. Empathy is a fundamental characteristic that enables you to connect and drive them to achieve the set business goals. Empathic workplaces tend to enjoy stronger collaboration, less stress, and greater morale.[2] defines empathy as a quality that "is now most often used to refer to the capacity or ability to imagine oneself in the situation of another, experiencing the emotions, ideas, or opinions of that person." In short, empathy is putting yourself in someone else's shoes.

As a future leader, you will have to develop empathy towards the people involved with your business. So, the very first thing you should do is create a more empathetic culture. As an empathetic leader, your primary goal is to understand what your employees go through to get the job done and improve their work experience.

Similarly, focus on meeting your customers' demands to develop an empathetic brand! Figure out what matters the most to your customers and create solutions that provide excellent customer service.

You should also have empathy towards your investors and shareholders! After all, these people have invested in making your vision come true. Stay proactive to meet their demands and establish excellent communication.

Takeaway Tip:

Empathy isn't always about doing what other people want. As a leader, you should be empathetic towards your vision and business goals too. This will eventually lead you to help the employees and customers - creating an empathy cycle.


Indeed, many other important characteristics determine entrepreneurial success too. But these characteristics help build a solid foundation an entrepreneur can fall back on. As a leader, you should focus on developing these characteristics and perform your duties to the best of your abilities. Hopefully, this extensive guide helped you understand the importance of some of the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

What do you think about them? Do you have your own tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur? Let us know in the comments section or send us an email at

Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, leadership, and digital marketing. Over ten years of teaching experience as a university professor of management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.


[1] Baldoni, J. (2011). Three traits of successful entrepreneurs. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from Three Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs ( 06/30/2021. [2] Zaki, J. (2019). Making empathy central to your company culture. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture ( 06/30/2021.

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