The Entrepreneurial Journey

Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tuesday, June 1, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Many people aspire to be an entrepreneur. But most do not really know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Before you embark on the entrepreneurial journey you will need to seriously reflect on whether or not the journey is right for you and whether or not you are ready for the journey. Many experts suggest there are distinctive personal characteristics that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Some have described this as the “entrepreneurial mindset.” There has been an age old debate as to whether an entrepreneur is born or is made. My research shows it is a bit of both – the classic nature and nurture phenomena. One thing is for sure, the entrepreneur is different from the non-entrepreneur. Less than 10 percent of our population are entrepreneurs, so they make up a unique niche within the population. So, what makes them different? And, do you have what it takes to become part of this special group of people?


My research shows that successful entrepreneurs share several key personal attributes that are necessary for the entrepreneurial journey. What I want you to do now is to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether you possess these key attributes and/or would be willing to acquire them? These attributes are: (1) dispositional optimism – the most important attribute – (2) persistence, (3) resilience, (4) work ethic, and (5) adaptive.


Dispositional optimism is a mindset that focuses on abundance not scarcity; that good things can and will happen; that one can achieve his/her objectives; and the glass is half-full and not half-empty. All successful entrepreneurs I have studied are extremely optimistic in life and in business. And, I suggest it is the most important attribute an entrepreneur can possess. In fact, it is an antecedent as to why entrepreneurs are persistent, resilient and work so hard. They did so because they believe positive outcomes can be achieved. Why would an entrepreneur work 100 hours a week to start and to grow an enterprise if they thought they would fail? Well, they don’t believe they will fail. And, contrary to belief successful entrepreneurs do not throw caution to the wind, they do not take excessive risk and they do not adhere to the fate, chance, luck or magic model of business. Successful entrepreneurs engage in calculated risk-taking using information to recognize, discover or create new business opportunities. And, entrepreneurs are adaptive. They flex and pivot given evolving conditions and situations around them. Sometimes best laid plans have to change!


Before you start the entrepreneurial journey you are going to have to do a head, heart and gut check – an honest check. If you get positive confirmation from all three realms of your being, then you probably ready for the entrepreneurial journey. It will be difficult and challenging but, more importantly, very rewarding and satisfying. But, this is just the beginning of your journey! In the articles that follow this one I will discuss the importance of the right opportunity, the right business model, the right brand and the right go-to-market strategy. This are all key elements that must be mastered on your own entrepreneurial journey.


Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).


Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.


At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, June 1). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset. The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette.

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