Having strong business acumen may help, but is not what differentiates someone as an entrepreneur. In our digital age, it’s far simpler; entrepreneurs are problem solvers with enough conviction in their solutions to make them a reality.
It’s all about the mindset. Two people walk up to a creek they need to cross. The first wants to jump over, but the other says “let’s build a bridge, and pass the creek when the water is up.” I say this not to advocate entrepreneurial bridge building (which could be interesting), but to show how people have always had the instinctive ability to identify problems, and formulate unique solutions. Applying this type of convergent thinking in our lives is what makes us human; being able to do it in a profitable way is what makes you an entrepreneur.
The Internet forever changed the entrepreneurial mindset, and continues to influence the overall life cycle of their creations. Whether it’s vetting ideas, accessing capital, or reaching customers, the Internet instantly provides these essential aspects of entrepreneurship. Many entrepreneurs started out as unassuming thinkers with laptops, and because of the Internet, believed they had a legitimate shot at successful entrepreneurship. Believing you have a chance to make it, regardless of your surroundings, is a powerful notion that most entrepreneurs project.
The more rare trait that all entrepreneurs share is drive; unrelenting, passionate drive. Depending on whom you ask, it can be more important than the unique idea itself. Entrepreneurial drive pushes an idea into action with conviction, instead of letting the thought fizzle and pass altogether.
A little discussed truism is that successful entrepreneurs faithfully allow the purpose to drive the product, and not the other way around. In short, no one needs a solution to a problem they don’t really have! You have to innovate. Knowing what people want is easy, but figuring out unique ways to give it to them is hard.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” -Henry Ford