The Personal characteristics of new firm founders:
It is true that anyone could set up his or her own business, yet only some people do. What characteristics define these people that take on the challenge of setting up their own business? Much research has been done on the characteristics of entrepreneurs yet no definitive answer has been found.
“My own personal experience was that for ten years we ran a research centre in entrepreneurial history, for ten years we tried to define the entrepreneur. We never succeeded. Each of us had some notion of it – what he thought was, for his purposes, a useful definition. And I don’t think you’re going to get farther than that.”
(Cole, 1969, p.17 cited by Gartner, 1988)
Many characteristics can be associated with new firm founders but it is impossible to define an exact set of characteristics to an entrepreneur. There are certainly characteristics that make it more likely for a person to enter into their own business but not many characteristics help to differentiate an entrepreneur from a non-entrepreneur. Characteristics like risk taking and confidence are essential for entrepreneurs but are also associated with many other professions. The reasons behind a person entering into their own business may be a better way to distinguish between an entrepreneur and a non-entrepreneur. An entrepreneur’s ability to identify an opportunity that they can exploit is what differentiates them from others. Before entering business a person must be able to see an opportunity that they can exploit. This is the real test of whether people have the ability to enter into their own business. This is the characteristic that differentiates them from others but they must possess other characteristics such as confidence, persistence, good work ethic, calculated risk-taking and passion if they are to be successful in a new business. Entrepreneurs typically tend to be a type of “jack of all trades”. This can be necessary as there can be so many...