Management skills don't make an entrepreneur great. Neither does access to capital or innovative thinking. It's something much more simple.
What makes an entrepreneur successful?
Some people believe it's the ability to innovate. However, many startups are refinements of existing business models or improvements on how everyday products and services are delivered. Being innovative helps, but it's not the deciding factor.
How about access to capital? It's admittedly difficult to start a business if you don't have the money to get it started. Even so, there are plenty of successful startups that survived on the thinnest of shoestrings for their first few years.
Management skill? Give me a break. Entrepreneurs are famously short-tempered and few have the patience to coach employees. If they wanted to play politics, after all, they would be working in a big company, not starting something new.
There is one thing and one thing alone that every great entrepreneur absolutely must possess: courage.
And courage is very rare in our world. Numerous surveys of the population at large have shown that, above everything else, most people value security.
Most people will tolerate just about anything--a bad marriage, an intrusive government, a horrible boss, a job that they hate--if only that thing can make them feel more secure.
It's sad, really.
But entrepreneurs aren't like that.
It takes courage to forego the predictability of a corporate job.
It takes courage to sacrifice your nest egg to your startup.
It takes courage to take the risk of failure.
It takes courage to make your dreams into reality.
And it takes courage--lots of it--to hand over the reins when your startup grows beyond your ability to manage it.
That's why entrepreneurs are--rightly--the true heroes of our modern world.
GEOFFREY JAMES writes "Sales Source on Inc.com," the world's most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014. To get weekly blog updates, sign up for his free "Insider" newsletter. @Sales_Source