Do you know that many successful entrepreneurs are not risk-takers? I was taken aback by that in “7 Uncommon Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs” by John Jantsch on his Duct Tape Marketing blog. However, as I reflect on the 20-some years my wife and I built Palo Alto Software, I think he’s right. Here’s what he says, as the second item on his excellent seven-point list:

Risk Averse–This one throws people, but successful entrepreneurs are not any more wired to take risks than most, but they are wired to spot opportunities and possess the confidence that something, perhaps not what was originally envisioned, can be made of the opportunity. They are often better at letting something that’s clearly a bad idea go, limiting the ultimate risk.

I wouldn’t have thought of it this way, but you know, John has it right on that one.

And I liked this one a lot, too:

Planners–This goes hand-in-hand with risk. Successful entrepreneurs enjoy the planning process, not necessarily completing a plan, but this is what makes them averse to taking foolish risks. They often so value the plan for their life that they always hold a glimmer of the vision of the business that can serve that plan.

This is an excellent list. John does it again.


Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.