A different breed

Ilove talking with business
leaders. Call me a business
nerd, but there are few things more interesting to me than conversations with people running a
company or a division of a company, and getting inside their
minds to understand how they

But talk to an entrepreneur and
you’ll get a slightly different perspective on leadership, management and
business. As the person who founded and
grew the company, an entrepreneur
approaches everything as someone who has
everything to lose or gain.

A few years ago, I identified four traits nearly every entrepreneur has. As we present you
with the 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur
Of The Year awards coverage in this issue, it’s
worth revisiting those unique characteristics.

  • Risk-taker. Entrepreneurs lay all their money on the table. They aim
    high and bet big, accepting the
    fact that odds are they will lose
    more often than they will win.
    Successful entrepreneurs, however, learn from their mistakes
    and apply the lessons to their
    next venture.

  • Vision. Visionaries clearly see
    what they want to accomplish
    and remain focused on their goals. How
    many people would have been willing to bet
    on a guy claiming people would buy $4 cups
    of coffee? But Howard Schultz did just that
    when he founded his first Starbucks coffee-house, and today, he runs one of the world’s
    most successful and well-known brands.

  • Confidence. Failure is never an option to
    an entrepreneur. There’s always a solution
    waiting to be found that results in success.
    Failure happens, of course, but that’s the downside of taking risks.

    True entrepreneurs exude a steady, confident attitude that says if they just stick with
    it, the business will succeed. They have utter
    faith in their product or service, and they
    never, ever waver.

  • Motivator. Because they’re not content
    with the long process of working their way
    up at a large company, proving themselves at
    every level and building legions of believers
    along the way, entrepreneurs possess the
    ability to inspire employees, build champions
    and get the most out of talented rising stars.

As you read through our special report on
this year’s honorees, keep in mind these four
traits and think about how they apply to your
own leadership and management style.

Contact Editor Dustin Klein at [email protected]