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What makes an entrepreneur?

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What Makes an Entrepreneur (5/11) – Inspiration. This is part of my new series on what makes an entrepreneur successful.

What Makes an Entrepreneur (5/11) – Inspiration

I originally posted it onVentureHacks, one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs. If you haven’t spent time over there you should. I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute of an entrepreneur : Tenacity. I then covered Street Smarts, Ability to Pivot and Resiliency. Several people asked about the differences between tenacity and resiliency. And we know that being stubbornly tenacious without the “street smarts” to know when market conditions are changing and then “pivoting” when they are changing is a recipe for failure. So tenacity and resiliency alone are not enough. Toby Murdock told this interesting story in the comments of my last post (typos fixed): Many entrepreneurs struggle with their setbacks.

Some readers of this blog also pointed out that “pivoting” can be disruptive on the employees of an organization. What Makes an Entrepreneur? (1/11) – Tenacity. This is part of my new series on what makes an entrepreneur successful.

What Makes an Entrepreneur? (1/11) – Tenacity

I originally posted it on VentureHacks, one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs. If you haven’t spent time over there you should. I wanted to also post the series here to have it as a resource on my blog for future entrepreneurs who stop by. I wanted to get the conversation going in the comments section around each topic because I think as much value comes from the comments section as comes from the original post (as I noted in this post: Comments are the New Black).

And so I’ll elaborate on some of the topics more than I did in my VentureHacks post to try and make it worthwhile for anybody who read it over there. One of the questions I’m most often asked as a VC is what I’m looking for in an investment. So what skills does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? 1. If you’re already running a startup you know all this. I once had a debate with a prominent VC on a panel. A simple example. What Makes an Entrepreneur (2/11) – Street Smarts. I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute: Tenacity. 2.

What Makes an Entrepreneur (2/11) – Street Smarts

Street Smarts - OK, so you’re a tenacious person – you never give up. Well obviously that’s meaningless if your startup idea sucks. I don’t think it takes book smart people to build great companies – sometimes it’s a hindrance. But you do have to be a smart person and I personally prefer street smarts. Because they’re street smart, most great entrepreneurs tend to prefer getting out and talking with real customers rather than sitting in a cubicle all day doing beautiful PowerPoint slides.

I often tell people that I’m looking for people that weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths. If I were writing about the most important attributes of a VC (hmmm) one of the things that would make my list is “ability to spot patterns.” So I had written this whole series the week of Thanksgiving, but virtually every day I wake up and see examples. What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot. I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute: Tenacity.

What Makes an Entrepreneur (3/11) – Ability to Pivot

I then covered Street Smarts. 3. Ability to Pivot – I don’t like to invest in people that I’ve never met before who come through my office wanting to have a term sheet within 30 days. I don’t think most VC’s do. Yes, there is the mythical company you all heard about that walked into Sequoia and had a term sheet 24 hours later. VCs often tell entrepreneurs that they want to see “traction” before they’re ready to invest. To be clear: most serial entrepreneurs who are working on an early-stage concept know that whatever they’re working on in year 1 is likely to be dramatically different than what they’re doing in year 5. What Makes an Entrepreneur (4/11) – Resiliency. This is part of my new series on what makes an entrepreneur successful.

What Makes an Entrepreneur (4/11) – Resiliency

I originally posted it onVentureHacks, one of my favorite websites for entrepreneurs. If you haven’t spent time over there you should. I started the series talking about what I consider the most important attribute: Tenacity. I then covered Street Smarts and Ability to Pivot. 4. Every day you go home and face self doubt but you’ve got to come back in the morning strong. Tenacity is about pushing forward every and not accepting “no’s” while resiliency is about taking punches every day and not falling down. Resilience is one of the tell tale signs of an entrepreneur. Or more succinctly from Sir Winston Churchill, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” My own personal resiliency story. There was only once in my career where I actually thought that I was going to go bankrupt.

And then I got a few disturbing calls. So Apax went ahead and funded iScraper without us.