JD Duarte


Jose Duarte on what it means to be an entrepreneur

In its simplest definition, an entrepreneur is someone who identifies a void and creates a business to fill it. However, the definition itself doesn’t detail the underlying characteristics that make someone a successful entrepreneur.

To launch a business and turn it into a success, there are a number of traits that can be extremely beneficial. Jose Duarte, a seasoned businessman and long-time entrepreneur from Costa Rica, shares ten of the most important traits needed to ensure your business dreams thrive.

“Entrepreneurship is tied to carving out new trails, about trusting in yourself, your central goal and moving others to go along with you in the voyage,” explains Duarte. “What sets entrepreneurs apart is their conviction, courage and, at times, recklessness to push forward in spite of the odds.”

There is a requirement to maintain a continuous progression toward an innovative solution to a problem. Entrepreneurs need to have a constant hunger to make things better and can never become complacent with the way things are.

There is a particular mindset involved with being an entrepreneur. It’s important to imagine new ways to address problems while being able to create value at the same time. “Entrepreneurship entails being able to recognize and analyze an opportunity effectively and subsequently capture its value,” points out Duarte.

There is also a critical need to be able to balance the vision of the endeavor with flexibility. It’s important to be able to listen to employees and customers and use their input to make the business grow. While it’s important to have the confidence to make tough decisions, those decisions need to be made with the information that can be gathered.

“Being an entrepreneur – even if you have already launched other businesses – is similar to taking a boat out into unchartered waters,” asserts Duarte. “Rarely will the captain know what to expect and you must be prepared to react quickly.” There are numerous days when an entrepreneur may feel like things will never work out and that he or she is only treading water. However, an entrepreneur must be willing to stick it out and stay strong during the tough times.

Be prepared to commit and persevere through all the struggles and challenges, as well as through the failures. Capitalize on past experiences and intelligence to make the decisions that will propel the business forward and mold the vision into a work of art.

Once the vision is established, create a hypothesis and then work on it to shape the business model. Constantly test the assumptions to ensure that they’re viable, but be ready to accept that not all assumptions will work. Being an entrepreneur requires persistence, patience and purpose, but the rewards for staying tough are worth it.

Entrepreneurs see opportunity in everything. It might be a new business idea or it might be recognizing in those around you that they have the potential to help your business prosper. The ability to see all of these different options is strategically important to finding success.

Those who become successful as entrepreneurs look past the “easy money” that can be earned today and focus on the bigger picture. They know how to ensure that every action they take is going to serve the long-term goals of the business, even if it means having to forego receiving a return in the immediate future.

Entrepreneurship is also being able to admit failure. Says Duarte, “Most people believe that they can accept failure – until they’re actually faced with it. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be able to tell yourself that you have failed if the time comes, and use that experience to help make adjustments to continue pushing forward.”