You might be surprised how many "entrepreneurs" are not at the helm of a growing business but rather are among the employees helping to build it.
Entrepreneurs can be a wacky bunch, but it can get weird to see some of these personality traits in the people you select to help build your business.
When you look at entrepreneurs who have built businesses larger and longer-lasting than themselves, you see some fascinating and surprising characteristics. Some of these attributes are contrary to the stereotypes that are propagated by television and movies.
Here are five observations we've made about the entrepreneurial mind and personality.
1. Entrepreneurs are passionate, inside and outside of work.
Whatever they immerse themselves in, entrepreneurs typically invest fully and passionately. This extends beyond business building into many aspects of life outside the workplace.
2. Entrepreneurs are committed to building businesses, not just coming up with great ideas.
Most people with ideas don't build businesses. Most entrepreneurs we know look for good businesses to build, given their area of expertise. We've met countless individuals with a "great idea" who never turn that idea into a successful business.
3. Entrepreneurs know how to focus, yet are comfortable moving in multiple directions at once.
It's notable how many entrepreneurial business owners we know who are building multiple businesses at once or are leading nonprofit organizations at the same time they are building for-profit businesses. Often, this comes across as restlessness but is really the manifestation of a high level of energy that, when focused, can lead to amazing accomplishments.
4. Entrepreneurs are happy.
Most entrepreneurs have healthy personal lives, despite in some cases being "married" to their work. Our guess is that finding happiness in your professional life, whether that means freedom from a boss or feelings of accomplishment, feeds a healthy mind, which bleeds into one's personal life.
5. Entrepreneurs can be employees.
People often associate "entrepreneur" with any small-business owner. But we see the term as more general to any business builder. The reason? We see a lot of small-business owners who don't act like business builders, and we see a lot of business builders within larger companies who have entrepreneurial traits. You don't have to be an owner to be a successful entrepreneur.
All of the above characteristics contribute to success in building businesses and creating lasting growth.
KARL STARK AND BILL STEWART are managing directors and co-founders of Avondale, a strategic advisory firm focused on growing companies. Avondale, based in Chicago, is a high-growth company itself and is a two-time Inc. 500 honoree. @karlstark