According to a new book  by John Byrne, successful entrepreneurs have three defining characteristics:
- First – Entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems. Great examples include Reed Hastings at Netflix and Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com. Their experience suggests that your reality (and therefore your opportunity for success) is a function of how you view the world, not just some objective reality uninfluenced by the people in it.
- Second – Entrepreneurs understand and live with risk and failure. Success often comes only after multiple risk taking and failures. But all risks are not created equal: successful entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to size up the risks they are taking in a way that affords them a greater than normal opportunity for reward. They take on calculated risks with outsized opportunities for success. Yes, they often fail, but when they win, they win BIG.
- Third – Entrepreneurs want to control their own destiny. They do not particularly like working in teams, and they rarely like taking orders from others. They are independent, rebels. They see the world differently, and they readily take on high stakes efforts to literally change the world. Think Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Bill Gates.
In many ways, true entrepreneurs self-select. They are born with certain characteristics and pre-dispositions that drive them to strike out on their own when confronted with difficulty and adversity. But all entrepreneurs are not created equal, and there are varying degrees of entrepreneurial drive.
Owner/CEOs have a wonderful opportunity to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs, as well as grow their own businesses, by vigilantly seeking out young entrepreneurial associates and giving them room to grow and show what they can do.