7 Qualities every entrepreneur must have

Pankaj Mittal, CIO at 5AM Ventures and member of CIO Angel Network, talks about the character traits that define a good entrepreneur. By Shweta Gandhi

Pankaj Mittal is a seasoned IT leader and angel investor who has been in the IT  industry for over two decades. He is a business transformation strategist, and has worked in the IT, security and telecom industries in India and abroad. Pankaj has been with CIO Angel Network (CAN) for over a year now, and has invested in the Android app Paytunes, among others. He is also the co-founder of Pune Angels and NEC member of CIO Klub.“The journey has been a bit slow, but it’s just the beginning. The start-up industry is like the dotcom wave, it’s taking everyone by storm,” says Pankaj. “It’s the best time to provide help through such platforms so as to have a fruitful output.” Pankaj stresses that as a CIO, it is one’s responsibility to work with tech start-ups and provide valuation to the curation of an idea and help them improve. He adds that each entrepreneur should learn from his own mistakes and should begin with “the end in mind”.

Here, he shares the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

#1 High on passion
“Before investing in a startup, I look at the entrepreneur’s passion as well as that of his team. The entrepreneur needs to be motivated and drive delivery of world class products & services with a clear vision of what he is out to achieve. He needs to ethically curate his product in an original, unique manner and be transparent in his pitches. He must be hardworking and stay up-to-date with the right tech while sticking to his fundamentals, all of which can only come through passion.”

#2 An open mind
“The best way for an entrepreneur to grow is to keep an open mind. He must listen to all ideas being presented by external sources and keep improvising on the ideas. In the mean time, he should be working on creating his own ideas, and communicating them to his investors, employees and team members to further enhance the product. One tip for entrepreneurs to remember: no one made it on their own—all entrepreneurs had a bright set of people with the right mindset helping them out in the backend as a team.”

#3 Clear forward-looking outlook
“Looking forward is as important as looking backward—while the entrepreneur has come out with a brilliant idea he wants to implement, he must always be aware of the challenges he will have to surpass, and have a clear outlook on his objectives. Some of the questions he should ask himself: Who is the end user of the product or the service? Who is the target audience? How big is the audience? How does he plan to achieve his goals? Where will he stand in the next three to five years?”

#4 Passion for innovation
“An entrepreneur never stops innovating—he has a constant flux of ideas flowing around him who he’s using to enhance and improve the product on a constant basis. The entrepreneur must look at different solutions, but stick to trusted opinions. One of the best approaches is to innovate keeping the customer in mind—how can your potential product solve an issue for the masses? How will it affect them? Will it cater to a gap in the market?”

#5 Fosters mutual trust
“Trust among employees, stakeholders, and the entire social unit of the organisation is imperative. There might be times when the entrepreneur will be on his toes, he will be battling challenges and missing deadlines. There could also be times when he feels low. At such moments, support and guidance will be required and if there’s an existing solid foundation of trust, it will be easier for him to fall back on his team, other members and mentors. Relationships need to be two-way. Trust and constant communication will also bring about transparency in the company.”

#6 Values patience
“Patience is indeed a virtue! The entrepreneur has to understand how to forecast his business and overlook all the marketing and sales strategies, and then wait it out. Investors are always going to be concerned about ROI, and the entrepreneur needs to work a way out—he needs to create a three year business plan and look at his product’s viability. If he plays with numbers and warps them, it can backfire as investors might look for exit strategies.”

#7 Flexible mindset
“Being agile is the fundamental trait of an entrepreneur. A successful entrepreneur will have to listen to criticism; he must have the power to make mistakes, accept them and then find his way back. There is little to no chance he will get people with the same mindset as his, for this reason the entrepreneur needs to remain flexible in his approach. It will help him adopt as time and tech changes.” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


  • Posted: June 2, 2016 07:30

    Rajesh Bhasin

    Very nice and crisp thoughts for the entrepreneurs who are looking at getting into a startup. Good one Pankaj.
  • Posted: June 2, 2016 17:28

    capt mgandhi

    Must read for young talent looking to become a successful entrepreneur. Well written.
  • Posted: June 3, 2016 05:07


    Thank you for the appreciation!
  • Posted: August 6, 2016 09:48

    Subhash Mittal

    Excellent sum up. Unless you don't have passion, flexibility, commitment and trust on your partners / team, success will be quite away from you. Carry on Pankaj. My best wishes to you.
  • Posted: August 6, 2016 10:05

    Harsh Gupta

    Brilliant sir! how can i connect with you?
  • Posted: August 10, 2016 16:11

    Nehul Kudale

    Excellent thoughts written by PM. I also learn few things from you.

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