Successful businessmen have common personality traits. Studying these attributes will help you decide if you could be one of them.


Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Will I succeed if a start a business of my own? Am I strong, or determined enough to risk my hard earned savings?


Most entrepreneurs probably asked themselves questions like these, before they founded their first company. Of course, no amount of self-examination can tell you whether you will succeed on a career path, or not, estimating your chances properly could help to avoid failures.

The problem is, finding the right questions to ask yourself could be as hard as answering them objectively.

Most people dream of becoming their own boss, but the majority of them will never fulfil this dream. And the ones who finally set up their own a company does it for significantly different reasons. A decision like this could be inspired by a great idea as well as a termination letter.

The personality traits that make somebody successful in entrepreneurship may also differ from industry to industry. After all, it’s hard to imagine that a person who runs a successful accounting firm is also a perfect manager for an art gallery.

With that said, successful entrepreneurs have common characteristics, and if you happen to possess similar personality traits to them, there is a higher chance of success, when you decide to choose the riskier path.




What are the 10 Ds of entrepreneurship?


There are plenty of articles about the attributes of successful businessmen. One of the most influential studies on this field is written by William D. Bygrave.

In his book The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship Bygrave describes the events that made him and other economy professors define the most important personal attributes with simple terms.

In the 80s, many magazines published articles based on behavioral studies, with self-evaluation exercises to help readers decide, whether they should enterprise.

Later, more researchers looked into the problem and found that these tests were useless since there is no set of behavioural attributes that could separate entrepreneurs from nonentrepreneurs. They also came up with two personality traits you need to have if you want to start a successful business.

One of them is the desire to achieve great things, which is not very surprising, given that a bit of ambition could help you in almost any professions. The other one is more characteristic of the entrepreneurs. It is a will to control your own fate.


Bygrave described these and other important personality traits from the findings using ten words beginning with D. These definitions provide a great starting point if you’d like to create your own “competency test”.

Of course not every successful entrepreneur possess all the Ds, and the rate how characteristic these words are will defer from person to person. But if the following descriptions are familiar to you, or you could imagine yourself operating the portrayed way, there’s a good chance, that entrepreneurship will be suitable for you.

The definitions of Bygrave may also inspire you to find focus and develop new, and more productive habits if you are already running a business. For further inspiration we have collected a few blog posts and videos in connection with the expressions. You can find these, and Bygrave’s 10 Ds of entrepreneurship bellow:





Entrepreneurs have a vision of what the future could be like for them and their businesses. And, more important, they have the ability to implement their dreams.

Recomended posts, and videos:

– When a Disney executive turned to Steve Jobs for advice on revitalizing the company’s stores he answered with two words: “Dream bigger“. In this article on the author shares his thoughts on how to do that exactly.

– Easy-to-believe myths may ensure that your dream projects will never come to fruition. You can learn more about those, from the TED talk of a Brazilian entrepreneur Bel Pesce.




They don’t procrastinate. They make decisions swiftly. Their swiftness is a key factor in their success.

Recomended post:

We published a longer post earlier on how to avoid procrastination, become decisive, and manage your time better with productivity hacks. You can read if here.




Once they decide on a course of action, they implement it as quickly as possible.

Recomended post:

Being a dreamer and a doer at the same time is not an easy thing to achieve. These tips on could help you balance your attributes.




They implement their ventures with total commitment. They seldom give up, even when confronted by obstacles that seem insurmountable.

Recomended post:

Gallup has published a series of article on the talents of successful entrepreneurs. The one we recommend is also about determination.




They are totally dedicated to their businesses, sometimes at considerable cost to their relationships with friends and families. They work tirelessly. Twelve-hour days, and seven-day work weeks are not uncommon when an entrepreneur is striving to get a business off the ground.

Elizabeth Gilbert the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ was working as a waitress for six years, while trying to find a publisher. Her TED Talk teaches important lessons about dedication.  



Entrepreneurs love what they do. It is that love that sustains them when the going gets tough. And it is love of their product or service that makes them so effective at selling it.




It is said that the devil resides in the details. That is never more true than in starting and growing a business. The entrepreneur must be on top of the critical details.




They want to be in charge of their own destiny rather than dependent on an employer.




Getting rich is not the prime motivator of entrepreneurs. Money is more a measure of success. They assume that if they are successful they will be rewarded.




Entrepreneurs distribute the ownership of their businesses with key employees who are critical to the success of the business.