Entrepreneurs are made, but there are some must-have qualities every entrepreneur should have.

Owning your own business has always been a big part of the American dream, and it has only grown. Some are naturally drawn to the freedom and satisfaction of ownership; others find themselves pushed to it as employers shrink their workforce with outsourcing or new technology. I’m encouraged to see that many of the younger generation, raised on the aspirations of Shark Tank, have their own businesses before they’re 20!

Starting a new business has its risks, especially in the first couple of years. The Small Business Administration reports that a record-breaking 5.5 million new business applications were filed in 2023, but also notes that half of all start-ups fail within the first five years. A business may fail because it lacks capital, can’t overcome the competition, or fails to keep up with technology. But the business owner may also be missing certain essential qualities that could have enabled them to steer their faltering enterprise to success.

Entrepreneurs are made, but some are easier to make than others. I was born into a family of entrepreneurs, so it was easier for me to understand the risks of business ownership.

Hard work and passion for the business are a given. Without these two, no one should consider business ownership. Here are five other must-have qualities every entrepreneur should have:


This is number one for a reason. As hard as you may be working for your current employer, you’ll have to give even more to your own business. Starting up, building brand awareness, and reaching profitability will require long hours and dedication—usually with help from only a few people at best. If you do not want to work hard, you will not be a good business owner.


Love for what your company does is another must-have. You have to believe strongly that there is a real need for the products or services you provide and that yours is the only source they should turn to. This is critical at the beginning when you are making yourself known to the market and have to counter objections from the customers you approach.


Change is one of the few things you can rely on in business, so embrace it. From technology to customer demands and employee needs, your working environment is constantly evolving, and business owners who do not change with it will be left behind. The willingness to innovate through tough times is a quality that is especially crucial in economic downturns.


The old saying, “Quitters never win and winners never quit,” is not always true in business, but having that mindset helps. When times get tough, the successful business owner will stick with it and look for solutions rather than giving up right away. Another thing that works for me is to always look for the “silver lining” in anything that happens. As much as failure hurts, you often learn more from it than success.


Many entrepreneurs lack the ability to delegate or, worse, are afflicted with a superhero complex—the belief that no one else can do it as well as they do. Many leaders can consider looking into franchising, which offers a safer solution to opening an independent business. There’s never a guarantee, but having the resources and support of a proven business system, plus mentoring by a network of entrepreneurs, can only help. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding where to improve is key. Gearing your business toward your strengths and hiring for your weaknesses is also critical.

When researching your market and handling other start-up tasks, make an honest appraisal of the mental and emotional qualities you will need not only to start a business, but also to call yourself a successful entrepreneur.