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#IBYE Competition – 7 Defining Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

[ Important Update: Comp closing date is being extended by ONE month to the 31st July to facilitate the very active flow of applications!]

Do you have what it takes to become a successful Entrepreneur? If you do then the search is on for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur with a total fund of €2 million available to invest in winning businesses and entrepreneurs in every county in Ireland.

The competition offers county winners an investment of up to €20,000 while winners at national level can receive an additional €50,000. Individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea and people overseas that will HQ in Ireland are all invited to enter – under one of three categories: best new idea, best start-up business and best established business with a new add-on. Applicants need to submit their application (and optional video) to your Local Enterprise Office, or online on or before 30th June 2014. The competition “is designed to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in Ireland and to encourage the establishment of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs”.

The competition “is designed to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in Ireland and to encourage the establishment of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs”. Have you got what it takes to enter and be successful? Let’s see!

So What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?

#IBYE Competition – 7 Defining Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs There isn’t a one size fits all answer! Entrepreneurs are a diverse group but they do share some common traits and characteristics. Here are our suggestions:

#1. Vision

“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos.

Surely, one of the defining characteristics of entrepreneurialism is the ability to spot opportunities and imagine a solution where others haven’t. During the early noughties, the music industry was in turmoil because consumers were illegally downloading music from the Internet. In 2002, Steve Jobs and Apple introduced iTunes which provided an easy and cheap way to legally download music, and created a new revenue stream for the music industry.

#2. Storyteller

Ireland has a long tradition of storytelling and the Irish are known the world over for having the “gift of the gab” 🙂

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said” – Peter F. Drucker.

Entrepreneurs don’t just need to be able to communicate their idea; they also need to select the right story for the right audience. Customers, employees and investors all require different versions. Successful entrepreneurs consider what a particular audience wants and tailor their story accordingly. In the case of investors, important points to consider and communicate include:

  • The idea
  • The problem it solves
  • Customers
  • Market
  • Financials
  • Milestones

And critically the capability of the team that will deliver all of the above!

#3. Passion

“If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook.

People might assume that entrepreneurs are driven by financial reward but usually that’s not the case and more often, it’s their passion for their business and their ideas that sustains them. This is particularly true in the early days when long hours, little money and rejection are all challenges that will have to be overcome.

#4. Self-belief

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

As recently as 2009, Brian Acton was a software engineer that no one wanted to hire. He got turned down by both Facebook and Twitter and was unable to find work so he decided to get involved in a new start-up. That start-up was WhatsApp which was sold to Facebook for $16 billion earlier this year, and with Acton’s 20% stake worth a cool $3 billion. All successful entrepreneurs have faced rejection at one time or another but believed enough in themselves and their idea to persevere. Even if your idea doesn’t make it through in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the road.

#5. Persistence

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs, Apple.

Starting and growing a business is a marathon, in that It usually takes “twice as long and costs twice as much”. An entrepreneur has to deal with and manage obstacles for years and with no guarantees. Mistakes will be made, plans will go astray but he or she is expected to adapt, innovate and most of all persist.

#6. Manage fear

“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” – Arianna Huffington, the Huffington Post.

To be an entrepreneur is to be a risk taker and to take risks, you must conquer your fears. Individual fears are diverse and can range from speaking in public, financial uncertainty to the fear of failure.

#7. Adaptation

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison.

Nowadays, it’s likely that your final product or service won’t look anything like the one you started out with. One fundamental of the popular “lean start-up” philosophy is that you will be required to pivot, possibly many times before you’re successful. Did you know that YouTube co- founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim’s initial idea was for a dating site called Tune? If something isn’t working, successful entrepreneurs change it.

So if you think your character encompasses the 7 entrepreneurial characteristics above then you just might be in the place to start ‘being’ it because:

Ireland is a great place to start a business

In the Forbes’ annual ranking of the “Best Countries for Business”, Ireland grabbed the top spot and the Wall Street Journal recently called Ireland “Europe’s Most Entrepreneurial Country

Over the years, we have watched outstanding Irish entrepreneurs achieve so much. People like Denis Brosnan (Kerry Group) or Michael O’Leary (Ryanair) to name but a few. More recently, they have been joined by the likes of Patrick and John Collison (Stripe), and Paddy Cosgrave (The Summit).

So DO you have what it takes to become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur?

As we have seen we produce more than our fair share of entrepreneurial talent and Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition will provide a launch pad for our next batch. Do you have what it takes? Do you have a great idea for a new Irish business? What are you waiting for?

YOU COULD BE Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur?

Images: “Frederic LegrandShutterstock.com__________________________________________________________________________________

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Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • These are great points Niall. I think self belief could be the stumbling block for a lot. This competition is a great incentive to bring out the young talent of Ireland and give them the helping hand that is so often needed

  • For sure Sian & thanks for the comment.

  • Thanks Steven – I will be putting these tips into action when I get home 🙂

  • Scott Walsh

    Thanks Sian, I will surely update such kind of informative posts with this valuable platform….

  • Great to hear from you Sian. Yes, e-commerce
    is growing big time now, ready to shake the course of the traditional
    internet marketing strategy that we have been following for so long. The
    cultural integration of more advanced technology with our everyday
    lifestyle will be playing a huge role this time for both online stores
    and ‘brick-and-mortar’ retail shops. This is coming real Big and
    everyone online needs to act real fast before being knocked out, because
    digital is becoming fast and furious.

  • Hey Eric, great post!

    I’ve gone through my fair share of design meetings with clients, and the homepage certainly gets a ton of attention. I think partially it’s because people think of a website’s experience as linear (as in, always starting from the homepage). It can challenging to educate that your “homepage isn’t your homepage”.

    I liked that you lead with “content” in these tips. Furthermore, I think a value proposition (B2C) or positioning statement (B2B) is the specific type of content needing addressed on a homepage first and foremost. Of the 8 ingredients I posted here (, we have a lot of cross over in our ideas. Would love to hear your thoughts on mine.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

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