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3Si invests in breakthrough innovations within early-stage ventures that can disrupt markets. We build our portfolio based on compelling people, transformative ideas, significant intellectual property, deep market understanding, and the opportunity for capital efficiency and leverage. 

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What Great Entrepreneurs Have In Common

June 2, 2016

 

How to Become an Entrepreneur: Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

 

According to Psychology Today:  Entrepreneurs are people who start their own business, requiring long hours, the ability to handle failure and an adaptability to changing circumstances.  

 

Psychology today summarizes the “Big Five Dimensions” of personality:

  1. Openness to Experience - Willingness to consider new ideas.  

  2. Extraversion - Desire to be outgoing or the center of attention.  

  3. Conscientiousness - Passion for working hard and following rules.

  4. Agreeableness - Motivation to be liked by others.  

  5. Neuroticism - Lack of emotional stability.  

The ideal entrepreneur has HIGH:

  1. Openness to Experience

  2. Extraversion

  3. Conscientiousness

The ideal entrepreneur has LOW:

  1. Agreeableness

  2. Neuroticism

 

According to Chris Coleridge, London School of Economics, Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (2013), there are six common attributes of a successful entrepreneur.  

  1. Broken family, difficult childhood

  2. Minority or underprivileged group

  3. Disability

  4. Risk-lover and optimist

  5. Need for achievement > need for power

  6. Independence and social distinction

 

In 2012, immigrants to the U.S. were nearly twice as likely to start a business each month as were native-born individuals.  

 

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (2009) surveyed 549 company founders in high-growth industries (e.g., aerospace, defense, computing, electronics and healthcare) and found that entrepreneurs tend to have these characteristics:

 

  1. 90% come from middle- or lower-class backgrounds and are well educated. 

  2. 95% earned a bachelor’s degree.

  3. 47% hold advanced degrees.

  4. 75% ranked among the top 30% of their high school class.  

  5. 52% ranked among the top 10% of their high school class. 

  6. 67% ranked among the top 30% of their undergraduate class.

  7. 37% ranked among the top 10% of their undergraduate class.

  8. 40 is the average age of company founders at the start of first company.

  9. 70% are married at the time of becoming an entrepreneur.

  10. 60% had at least one child at the time of becoming an entrepreneur.  

 

Factors for Success

(Kauffman Foundation 2009)

 

Entrepreneurs identified four most important contributors:

  1. Prior work experience

  2. Learning from previous successes and failures

  3. Strong management team

  4. Good fortune

 

Barriers to Success

Entrepreneurs identified the following barriers to success:

  1. Inability or unwillingness to take risks (98%)

  2. Time and effort required (93%)

  3. Difficulty raising capital (91%)

  4. Business management skills (89%)

  5. Knowledge about how to start a business (84%)

  6. Industry and market knowledge (83%)

  7. Family/Financial pressures to keep a traditional, steady job (73%)

 

Entrepreneurial Essentials

Identify the right business for you.  

  1. Explore your personality, social styles, age and interests. 

  2. Listen to your intuition.  

  3. Do what you know.  

  4. Emulate a business you like.  

  5. Solve a common problem -- fill a gap in the market.  

Create a Business Plan. 

  1. Increases chances for success. 

  2. Provides clarity, focus and confidence.  

  3. Contains goals, strategies and action steps, e.g., What am I building, Whom will I serve, What is the promise I am making to customers/clients and myself?

Know your target audience from the beginning.

  1. Identify exactly who will buy your products/services (other than your family and friends) before spending any money.  

Understand your personal finances. 

  1. Have the ability to track your personal finances in order to seek outside funding for your business.  

Choose the right kind of money.

  1. Consider what type of business you are building, e.g., lifestyle business, franchise, high-tech business.  

Build a support network.  

  1. Cultivate a network of supporters, advisors, partners, allies and vendors.  

  2. Network locally, nationally and on social networks.  

  3. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or other relevant business groups and be an active participant.  

Get the word out.  

  1. Be willing to say who you are and what you do with conviction and without apology.  

  2. Use online tools, e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin.  

  3. Don’t underestimate the power of other methods of marketing -- word-of mouth, website and internet marketing tools, public relations, blog posts, columns and articles, speeches, email, newsletters and the telephone.   

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