Owning an enterprise is a great dream for those who look jealous at people who have made it from nothing to vast riches. It often remains just a dream for some, but some others can turn the, dream into action. Many ventures do not fetch returns more than subsistence wages that too after a lot of hard work and worry. It is often that the person trapped in such a business turns out to be a dreamer than a pragmatist, “when he/she gets into the venture.

A small business venture can be a boon provided one gets into it by the right way, and knows what to expect and do, otherwise it can be a dreadful nightmare. Few know exactly what they want and why, and how they will do it. Some do not dream of riches, but of an interesting and fulfilling life style, which often translates into self-employment in trade or profession, or turning a recreational hobby, into a business.

More often, the one who has made a good business out of a hobby had never entered the venture with dreams of riches. Vast riches are for the few, but it is probable to plan and look forward to self-employment where you can earn better than a living wage. On the other hand, there is little reason to stay self-employed if you can work for someone else at better wages than your own venture returns.

When we see entrepreneurs, we find that some turn their business successfully called ‘successful entrepreneurs’ while others do not. Then, a question arises what makes the entrepreneurs successful. In other words, what are the qualities or characteristics of the successful entrepreneurs. The possession of certain knowledge, skill or personality profile called ‘entrepreneurial competencies’ or ‘traits’ help the entrepreneurs perform well.

In simple terms, competence is an underlying characteristic of a person which leads to his/her effective or superior performance in a job. A job competence is a good combination of one’s underlying characteristics such as ‘one’s knowledge, skill, motive, etc. which one uses to perform a given job well. It is important to mention that the existence of these underlying characteristics may or may not be, known to the person concern. This implies that the underlying characteristics may be unconscious aspects of the person. The underlying characteristics possessed by an entrepreneur which result in superior performance are called the ‘entrepreneurial competencies’ or ‘traits’.

In order to understand more and better about entrepreneurial competencies, let us first understand its components, i.e., knowledge, skill and motive. These are explained one by one as follows:


In simple terms, knowledge means collection and retention of information in one’s mind. Knowledge is necessary for performing a task but not sufficient. For example, a person having the knowledge of cricket playing could be in a position to describe how to play. But, mere description wil1 not enable the listener to play cricket unless something more than knowledge is there. We see in real life that people possessing mere knowledge have miserably failed while actually performing the task. What this implies is that one also needs to have skills to translate the knowledge into action/practice.


Skill is the ability to demonstrate a system and sequence of behaviour which results in something observable, something that one can see. A person with playing ability, i.e., skill can properly identify the sequence of action to be performed to win the cricket match. Remember, while knowledge of playing cricket could be acquired by reading, talking or so on, skill to actually play cricket can be acquired by practice i.e., playing on a number of occasions. This means both knowledge and skill are required to perform a task.


In simple terms, motive is an urge to achieve one’s goal what McClelland terms ‘Achievement Motivation’. This continuous concern of goal achievement directs a person to perform better and better. Coming back to the, same example of cricket playing, one’s urge to become the best player helps him constantly practice, playing to look out for ways and means to improve his play. Thus, in order to perform any task effectively and successfully including establishing and running an industrial unit, a person (entrepreneur) needs to possess a set of knowledge, skill and motive which could be together labelled as ‘competencies’ or ‘traits’.