entrepreneur: Do you have the DNA to be an entrepreneur?

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A novel idea, a great deal of effort, some luck, and good timing. The sum of it all can result in entrepreneurial success. But who is an entrepreneur? What drives them? What characteristics best describe them?

If you want to go down the entrepreneurial journey which is, without doubt, challenging; it is wise to look within and be more aware of your own personality, so that you can channelize your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.

Researchers have been intrigued and examined the personality traits of entrepreneurs using the Big 5 personality approach is – which is considered the most scientific and modern. Research has also found that genetic factors account for some of the variations in who becomes an entrepreneur. People with different variants of certain genes have different chances of developing certain personality traits. These genetically influenced personality traits, in turn, influence the likelihood of a person becoming an entrepreneur.

Let’s take a look at some of these traits and implications
First, to start a new business, you need to be highly open-minded. Openness is a measure of one’s creativity, imagination, intellectual curiosity, and preference for novelty. Ask author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek, who thinks that at their core, business owners are problem solvers. If you tend to be overly cautious and prefer routine and stability, you probably lack the risk appetite needed to handle the highly turbulent environment that start-ups present.

While it’s great to have unique ideas, entrepreneurship requires action, not just dreaming. A high degree of conscientiousness is important for long-term success. Successful founders must have a can-do mindset and be action-oriented. Lack of self-efficacy or ability to manage your to-do list, can make you give up on projects as their excitement fades or gets entangled in chaos. Whatever you want to call it—perseverance or will-power —successful businesspeople continue to move forward in the face of challenges and failures.

Entrepreneurs are a very diverse lot and so, personality research about them has mixed views on Agreeableness. Most research suggests that entrepreneurs are generally low on agreeableness whilst other pieces of research suggest that agreeableness has a positive correlation with entrepreneurship. Being an innovator means you are taking a step that nobody else is. Because of this, many people would advise you against doing what you wish to accomplish. While it would be crucial to stick to your own belief and ideas, it will be equally important to take people along on a collaborative journey.

You need to be persuasive, a passionate salesman at heart to be able to convince and sell your big idea to people on regular basis – without any external push. Having high extraversion will make it much easier for you to market your concepts to large audiences and build relationships with your clients, partners, and other stakeholders.

Needless to state, there is a high degree of uncertainty which, for more anxious persons, may naturally result in high levels of stress. Low neuroticism or emotional stability will be immensely helpful to tide over stressful situations and the lows that a business may bring.

To be an entrepreneur – you need the optimism gene. A combination of extraversion and low neuroticism. Are you a hopeful confident person who believes that bad times will pass, and good things will happen? Do you see an opportunity in every difficulty?

And finally, the most important consideration before taking the plunge into starting a business is your passion. If you are not passionate about your idea and vision, how will you sell it to your investor or clients? And passion isn’t just a trait – it’s the drive behind multiple traits like creativity, flexibility, and salesmanship.

(The writer is founder and CEO, GENLEAP)

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