Quiz: The Most Important Trait For Entrepreneurs

The older I get, the more experienced I get, the more I look into the literature of entrepreneurship, and leadership too, the more I appreciate the critical importance of empathy.

Empathy is feeling what another person feels. It’s being able to imagine what it’s like to be that other person. It’s understanding.alchemy

Empathy is the best trait in entrepreneurship.  Why?

  1. Empathy sits at the core of the business idea or business model. Successful businesses give people something they want to have. They offer value. You just can’t do that without understanding what people want and need, and how they want to get it, and what they care about. Good businesses make people better off.
  2. Empathy drives marketing. You have to understand the person you’re trying to reach. Getting to know an ideal target customer is all about empathy. The stories that drive marketing are about the customer’s problem and customer needs and how to reach that customer. You can’t find a really good website, or software product, or ad that isn’t all about feeling what the user feels and seeing what the user sees. That’s empathy.
  3. Selling is all about empathy. Great salespeople understand customers’ problems and want to solve them. Great sales is 98 percent listening and two percent talking.
  4. Leadership is all about empathy. Leadership is human interaction. A leader, and a good boss, understands people and manages according to the person, the context, the specific situation. Always hard-ass won’t do it, but always too soft won’t do it either. It takes empathy.

And that’s just to get us started. If you think about it, you can come up with lots more points for that list.


  • Stephanie King says:

    Be your own customer!!

  • The General Rule In Startups Is That There Are No General Rules | Wordwide News Exposed says:

    […] Doing what you like? Maybe it’s having a great business plan? I’ve written here that empathy might be the most important. But that’s a generalization too. What do you […]

  • Adam Pervez says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Business is about understanding what people need and delivering it. Empathy is at the root of that. And this holds true whether it’s commercial business, social entrepreneurship, or even the work of non-profits.
    Great post!

  • Jake M. says:

    Understanding how you’re perceived by others can really put you ahead of the pack. Whether it’s customers, partners, or employees the successful entrepreneur needs to be able to look in from the outside and understand what others see and need.

    Great insight Tim.

  • Edwin Rutsch says:

    May I suggest a further resources to learn more about empathy and compassion.
    The Center for Building a Culture of Empathy
    The Culture of Empathy website is the largest internet portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, definitions, experts, history, interviews,  videos, science and much more about empathy and compassion.

    Also, we invite you to post a link to your article about empathy to our Empathy Center Facebook page.
    I also posted a link to your article in our empathy newspaper.
    Empathy in the Workplace

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