John Douglas Steuart Lists 4 Must-Have Skills for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

There are many paths to becoming an entrepreneur. Yet aspiring owners and innovators don’t need to blaze their own trail.

Fortunately, John Steuart already has a blueprint for success.

The California-based businessman has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, working primarily in healthcare and technology. His first key contribution was in 1990 when he and another inventor developed a living tissue implant. Doctors can track, check, and evaluate this electrical transponder safely. Since then, he has been instrumental in investing in many cutting-edge start-up companies, helping them transform into multiple million-dollar businesses.

But, for Steuart, his success isn’t just about the bottom line.

The real reward is giving back. His inventions and investments in the medical community improve the lives of others. But John Steuart has funneled even more energy, effort, and resources into supporting the next generation of professionals. At UC Berkeley, he is an Industry Fellow at its Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. He also serves on the Advisory Council for the university’s Entrepreneurs Forum. Here, he’s able to draw on his extensive accomplishments to help aspiring entrepreneurs.

Yet John Steuart knows that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to these pursuits. There is no set road map for becoming an entrepreneur. While each person’s journey may be different, there are uniform skills that can be learned, practiced, and honed.

With this in mind, Steuart lays out four attributes every entrepreneur needs to be successful.


Business can be conducted around the world thanks to technological advancement. Yet that doesn’t minimize the importance of one-on-one interactions. In order to sell themselves, their products, and their vision, entrepreneurs must be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Although networking is key, written or online communications need to be just as crisp as verbal skills.

Organization & Planning

Entrepreneurs, by definition, have a growth mindset. They are constantly looking ahead to the next step or move. But turning dreams into reality requires a disciplined approach. The sheer force of will isn’t a long-term strategy. Start by building a business plan that is grounded in data and research. Pattern recognition, like analyzing market trends and customer behavior, is beneficial. However, avoid locking yourself in a box. Be flexible enough to adapt and alter as you grow.

Life-long Learning

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to remain static. To take their burgeoning business to new heights, owners must constantly be looking to add new skills, methods, and technologies. Entrepreneurs view every situation, even failures, as a teachable moment. Success demands curiosity and a willingness to receive constructive feedback.


Leadership” is a buzzword that borders on cliche. But there’s a reason. Leadership is an integral part of any business. Entrepreneurs may start solo. Yet scaling a business requires a team. This can’t happen without an ability to inspire. Getting and keeping buy-in from clients, staff, and collaborators is a powerful driving force. Display confidence and empathy, encouraging others to follow you and your vision eagerly.