The Importance of Leadership for Successful Entrepreneurial Projects

Khulood Al Banna - Jazan Track
This article was written by a Youth Voice program participant. Youth Voice Program is an enriching dialogue program that aims to engage Saudi Youth from all around the Kingdom in several seminars, discussion meetings and training. It focuses mainly on critical thinking and persuasive communication skills.

Is there anyone on planet Earth who doesn't wish to be their own boss, to be the only one in charge of making decisions related to their business, and to shift from having a job to owning a personal business and becoming an "entrepreneur"?

One great example is Peter Thiel, an entrepreneur and co-founder of PayPal, who projected the future needs of the market and created a new idea. Peter saw an opportunity and seized it. He was determined to start his project and secured the necessary resources and funds to operate it. He sought to create a new and different product that meets the needs and requirements of clients.

One thing all entrepreneurs have in common is that they have a different understanding and view of the environment, situations, and changes surrounding them. They focus on the distant future and visualize and foresee events. They are capable of determining the future market and society needs, which helps them create successful, innovative ideas, even amidst uncertainty.

Key traits of successful entrepreneurs include:

  • Self-discipline: They are motivated by their sense of responsibility and appreciation of their goals.
  • Risk-taking: Entrepreneurs are adventurous in their nature. They love to venture into new mentally and financially stimulating experiences, often going by the motto: Why not? 
  • Competition: Competition puts great pressure on competing parties. If someone isn't mentally balanced and able to handle the pressure, they will surely fail with time. Entrepreneurs, however, live for the competition and grab every chance they can to advance their projects.
  • Passion: Entrepreneurs are highly passionate. They love what they do, and constantly look for ways to improve and develop their work.
  • Communication skills: Entrepreneurs need to communicate their messages, goals, and visions to employees, customers, etc. clearly and appropriately, while also being receptive of other people's messages, opinions, and ideas.
  • Initiative-taking: Entrepreneurs are proactive and love taking the initiative. They believe in their own ideas and envision a bright future for them. Therefore, they exert all their efforts to make them see the light.
  • Open-mindedness: Entrepreneurs draw a major part of their new ideas from different environments and cultures.
  • Continuous learning: Entrepreneurs never stop learning. They understand that the world is constantly moving and that they must be aware of everything surrounding them in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Peter Thiel managed to satisfy his customers' needs by providing an automated payment service that replaced the paper version. His company, PayPal, expanded the money transfer network worldwide by providing privacy, accuracy, and speed of service to users, thus positioning the business as a global leader.

Entrepreneurs do not work on their own. They need a team that believes in their idea and is ready to make every endeavor to realize it. The work environment of entrepreneurial projects is different. It is full of continuous challenges and adventures. Team members in these projects need someone to be constantly motivating and encouraging them to perform their tasks.

In 2002, Thiel went public with PayPal which was later acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion. His long-term goal for the growth and development of the company had been from the beginning to eventually sell it.

This philosophy was elaborated by writer Michael E. Gerber. In one of his lectures, Gerber said that in order for a business to grow, it must be sold eventually and that passing a business from one generation to another is a bad idea. Gerber explained his point of view by saying that when children take over the management of their parents' companies, their experience is usually similar to that of their parents and this does not benefit the project, but rather harms it and robs it of its value.

After PayPal was sold, the company's former employees embarked on their own projects creating YouTube, LinkedIn, and so many other megaprojects that have become part of our daily culture, tools, and services.

Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim founded YouTube. Reid Hoffman along with some members of PayPal's founding team founded LinkedIn. Can you imagine what their work environment was like and how Thiel treated them as a founder and CEO?

Michael E. Gerber states that entrepreneurship needs: a dream, a vision, a purpose, and a mission. He adds that "The dreamer has a dream, the thinker has a vision, the storyteller has a purpose, and the leader has a mission." An entrepreneur is a dreamer, a thinker, a storyteller, and a leader.

Successful leaders can change the behavior of their team members and make them believe deeply in their ideas. It is evident that this continuous generation of innovative ideas by PayPal's former employees, in addition to their development of new distinguished service methods all reflect Thiel's efficient leadership, whether he influenced them through his personal interaction with them or by providing them with a creative work environment.

The more countries or societies establish economic development programs and contribute to the financing and development of creative projects, the greater their ability to create entrepreneurship projects. The environment encourages the creation of new ideas and provides factors that help create entrepreneurship projects.

Entrepreneur Mashael Al Ali mentions in one of her entrepreneurship courses that entrepreneurship projects are beneficial to society because they boost its creative economy. Accordingly, the strength of a society's macro- or national economy is reflected in the people's well-being and quality of life.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of startups fail in their first four years of operation.

Dear reader, entrepreneurship projects are crucial. Despite their risks and potential high failure rate, when most of these projects reach their break-even point, they begin generating high financial returns that benefit both their founders and the community's economy. For these projects to reach their break-even point, their founding or owning entrepreneur must boast the traits of good leaders and be capable of performing the duties of a leader in order to benefit from these projects.

What a wonderful moment it is when you see your idea being brought to life, that same idea you believed in and fought for. For you to reach that moment, you must be a motivating and encouraging leader for your team. You must make them believe in your idea from the bottom of their hearts. You must plan and watch as your dream grows with persistence and patience.





  1. Al-Ani, Mazhar Shaban (2010). Small Business Management: Technology-Based Entrepreneurship. Volume 1. Dar Safa for Publishing & Distribution, Amman.
  2. Alef Startup, Alaa Al-Biqawi, Statistics and Figures in Startups, Articles.
  3. Al-Najjar, Fayez and Al-Ali, Abdul Sattar. (2009). Entrepreneurship and Small Projects Management. Volume 2, Dar Al-Hamid for Publishing and Distribution, Amman, Jordan.



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