Entrepreneurship: Do You Have What it Takes?

Last month I posted two lists of entrepreneurship traits — a list of traits of entrepreneurs and another of traits of successful entrepreneurs — that got more page views and comments than normal. Yesterday I saw Dr. Rekhi’s top 10 traits for an entrepreneur. It’s yet another list, offered by Dr. Kanwal Rekhi, now a venture capitalist, previously an entrepreneur. And this one is way too good to ignore; it makes me want to revise my list.

Dr. Rehki’s list starts with Honesty. He says:

Intellectual honesty. Brutal honesty. You can never fall in love with your business. If you do, you will fail to make the hard but necessary decisions.

From there he goes to humility, accountability, and fairness, which he describes as “proportional rewards.” On accountability, — and I’ve done a lot on accountability lately, I wish I’d put it as well as this — he says:

Accountability to yourself and your team. You ultimately have to be able to say that you accomplished something or that you did not. If not, why not? You cannot ever blame others. If you fail, it is on your shoulders — no excuses. If there is no accountability at the top, others below also will not feel accountable.

He describes economics a lot like what I call the best of business planning. This is his fifth point:

Economics. You have to be able to determine values and prioritize these values. The highest value-added issues get prioritized. You also have to understand the fundamentals related to costs and margins.

I also want to highlight this description of “execution intelligence”:

Execution intelligence. Investors pay a premium for this rare skill. For every great idea that you have, there are 10 very smart people with the same idea. What will make the difference is the ability to execute. Ideas are a dime a dozen.

So here’s Dr. Rehki’s list of 10 points, in the order they appear:

  1. Honesty
  2. Humility
  3. Accountability
  4. Fairness
  5. Economics
  6. Expertise
  7. Execution intelligence
  8. Leadership
  9. Self reliance
  10. Confidence

And my thanks to Prof. David Orozco for his summary of this, and to David Miller of Campus Entrepreneurship for pointing it out.

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