Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
Inherited genetic traits can predispose their owners to a personality type helping entrepreneurial success. This does not mean that entrepreneurs are born.
According to experts, personality traits such as extroversion and curiosity have an inherited physiological basis. The chemical dopamine in the brain leads to “feel good” sensations. People with low dopamine levels seek out new experiences, such as starting a new business. However, if a child predisposed to extroversion grows up immersed in activities that exclude social contacts, the adult might not turn out to be all that an extrovert. Nurture, as well as nature, has a role in creating an entrepreneurial personality.

What is an Entrepreneurial Personality?

It is really hard to define an entrepreneurial personality. While traits such as extroversion obviously help businesspersons to succeed in such activities as selling and networking, there have been famously reclusive persons who have succeeded in business. These persons will recognize what they are good at and focus on it, and entrust tasks they are not good at to competent and dependable persons.

This last characteristic, i.e. focusing on what one is good at and delegating other tasks to competent persons is a characteristic of entrepreneurs with successful businesses. So are hard work, independence, and the common sense to see things as they are instead of through preconceived notions. One major success factor is the openness to new experiences and the willingness to learn from these (including mistakes).

Business enterprise typically involves a lot of setbacks and frustrations. A key personality characteristic of the entrepreneur is thus the ability to persist against these, and keep up the commitment and motivation to succeed in business.

And of course, business entrepreneurs typically have a strong desire to make money (instead of, say going after philosophical discoveries).

What is Entrepreneurship?

Successful entrepreneurs:

  • Focus on a problem solution rather than on a product or service. One of the best business strategies is to identify any shortcomings in existing offers to solve the problem and come up with changes that provide a better solution.
  • Select a business that they can do justice to. For example, they select a business they are familiar with and which involves doing things that they like. People will be better able to put in hard work and persist against disappointments if they like what they are doing.
  • Know the importance of their image. They know that people do business with persons they like and trust, and consciously attempt to create an image of friendliness, competence and trustworthiness.
  • Commit themselves to the business and take pains to learn all the intricacies and small details involved in the business. Starting a business in a half-hearted manner is unlikely to lead to such a focused learning campaign.

Entrepreneurship Development

The stories of numerous successful entrepreneurs have resulted in the demand for entrepreneurial education going up. As against a single course in entrepreneurship at Harvard University in 1947, today there are hundreds of entrepreneurship development courses. Additionally, there are programs such as the Extreme Entrepreneurship tours, which “include seminars, speed networking sessions, panel discussions, and keynote addresses by successful young entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are multimillionaires.”

There also many other entrepreneurship development resources, such as specialized journals that focus on specific areas such as franchising and venture funding; business incubators that mentor new entrepreneurs into capable businesspersons; and government supported training programs to teach business skills. Some entrepreneurship colleges also require students to complete a project that involves starting an actual business.

Business success depends on innumerable variables and it is practically impossible for any program to ensure that trainees will come out equipped to handle every one of these. There are also success variables that are beyond the control of any businessperson or even whole governments. In such a context, all that the entrepreneurship programs can do is to increase the chances of their trainees’ success.

Entrepreneurs are helped by certain genetic predispositions; but these need to be developed in a purposeful manner before they become really useful. Entrepreneurial skills can also be developed through well-designed entrepreneurship development programs.


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