The 8 common categories of entrepreneurial drive

Drive is the innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need. It is a key characteristic anyone, venturing down the lane of business ownership or in charge of key processes, products and services in established organizations, must display to succeed. It is almost impossible to survive without it considering the difficulties and challenges you will experience on an entrepreneurial journey. None of the successful entrepreneurs today had a smooth sail to success in their stories. Their drives kept them going even in the midst of several failures.

Sophie Kinsella, a bestselling British author once stated that, “There is no luck in business. There’s only drive, determination and more drive”. Questions such as- Why is this so important to me? Why am I doing this? What results am I trying to achieve? How important Is success to me?– can help you discover your drive and your answers are likely to fall into one or more of these eight categories:

To touch lives

You feel privileged and desire to reach out to the less privileged however you can. You are compelled to act at the sight of pains or suffering and you want to do everything within your power to alleviate it. You derive joy in putting the needs of others before yours and you want to create a business that does the same. Such drive is what we find in most social entrepreneurs and individually managed non-profit organizations today.


You have experienced lack that made the cheapest things luxurious and expensive to acquire. You have been in situations where the finer things in life you desire seem very far within your reach. You know what it means to be down, where no one could see you or hear you or perhaps, you watch these things around you or through the media and imagined what it would be like to live without the things you currently have. This is one of the most common sources of drive. Oprah Winfrey, Larry Ellison, Sheldon Adelson, Howard Schultz and Jay Z all broke through the cycle of poverty to become household names today and I am pretty sure they want it to stay that way as Howard Schultz, the Starbucks boss, once said, “I may have a suit and tie on now but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like”.



Instead of being bossed around, you like to be the boss. You like giving orders and believe in your ability to lead a team with diverse skills to achieve business success. You like power positions and you don’t perform to the best of your ability under other people’s authority. You strongly believe the fastest route to achieve success and power is through entrepreneurship and that made you start a business. You are more creative when on your own and prefer devoting your energy to anything that gives you that freedom and places you in that power seat where you give orders and make decisions.


You are driven to innovate, to create or to start a business because you feel the urge to fill the unemployment gap from which you have also suffered from. You feel compelled to act, to change your situation and do something value-adding by putting all the skills you have acquired through the years to a good use in a small business. This drive is seen mostly in entrepreneurs from the underdeveloped and some developing countries where there have been a constant increase in the number of small businesses due to lack of jobs for inexperienced or for those regarded as “overqualified” candidates.


You were told that you can never be successful at running your own business and you set out to prove the person wrong. You have read and heard lots of success stories of people that went from nothing to something and you desire such stories for yourself as you put your skills to the test with an aptitude to learn if it fails. You know you have what it takes to positively impact the world and you will not stop till it’s proven. Such drive is witnessed in the life of Steve Jobs who believes we are all here to put a dent in the universe. He validated his belief and did leave his mark, which will forever be acknowledged.

Unsatisfactory day job

Something about your day job is driving you nuts; it could be your boss, fellow employee, office environment or the regular 9-5 hours. You feel you can do better than the box your current place of work has left you in, with no real challenges or business problems to tackle. You desire the freedom that comes with running a business and living on your own terms. You will rather go for a future you desire on your own rather than let a day job or employers determine that for you. Successful entrepreneurs with such a drive can be found in this article by Jeff Haden on

Source: Creative Commons
Source: Creative Commons

Successful mentor

You have a mentor you wish to pattern your life after. You desire to be equally as successful and his advices increase the urge in you to give entrepreneurship a shot. You made the success level of your mentor a benchmark to achieve and surpass to become more successful and you are driven daily by those criteria. Because mentors are authority figures in their areas of specialization, they are always a good source of inspiration and they help keep successful entrepreneurs driven. This drive is evident in how Bill Gates handles tough situations with Warren Buffet as his mentor (as noted in the article “Three reasons why you need a mentor).

Fed up of status quo

You like change and thrive in unstructured environments. You abhor repeated processes and have a huge appetite for trying out new things. You dislike existing inefficient and ineffective processes, products, services or systems and felt the need to show how things can be done differently or better. Howard Schultz’s drive for a change in Starbucks beverage ranges and their reach across the country, made him open his first store in 1986 after quitting Starbucks as an employee, because the owners turned down his persuasions for a change in the company’s product launch strategy. He made enough money from his store, which he used to purchase the company back after two years and drove the much-needed change that resulted in Starbucks huge success today.

These are the sources of entrepreneurial drive common in our world today. Were you able to find the source(s) of your drive in these categories? If yes, stay driven because no company or economy can survive without your entrepreneurial skills. If no, inspire someone today by sharing what drives you daily to do what you do in your business or organization.

Thank you and enjoy your weekend!


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