10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
It takes more than a unique idea or a bunch of money to become a successful entrepreneur. Unique ideas are dime a dozen, and all the money in the world doesn’t ensure a successful venture. Additionally, every entrepreneur is different. Each brings different ideas, experiences and skill sets to the table. They come from all walks of life, locations, economic and social classes, as well as educational backgrounds.
While their isn’t a precise equation to entrepreneurial success, there are certain traits that most successful entrepreneurs share. Below I’ll explore the top 10 traits shared by most successful entrepreneurs. If you don’t have these traits yet, that’s okay. Take the time to learn them, development them, and improve your chances of becoming a success entrepreneur.
1. Grit and Determination
Becoming an entrepreneur requires setting and achieving lofty and what may seem at times unattainable goals. Putting together the right management team, hiring and motivating employees, dealing with attrition, achieving sales quotas, weathering down markets, and making payroll every month are just few of the ongoing challenges entrepreneurs tackle.
These challenges and responsibilities are enough to persuade many from pursuing an entrepreneurial career path. Successful entrepreneurs determine from the beginning they’re going to be successful — at any cost. Without grit and determination, few can handle the pressure of being an entrepreneur.
2. Ability to Take Risks
We’ve all heard that entrepreneurial success requires risk taking. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, true. They recognize that playing it safe is rarely a recipe for success. But entrepreneurism is not just about risk taking. Successful entrepreneurs take calculated risks they know are more likely to pay off — and pay off in a big way.
Many of the most successful entrepreneurs took large risks when they were getting started. Ever heard of Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s Shark Tank? With a $1,000 loan Barbara launched what became one of the most successful real estate firms in America. She later sold her real estate empire for $66 million.
Starting a business with just $1,000, and putting your livelihood on the line, is a big risk. Some would assume that it isn’t realistic or possible to grow a successful business on a shoe-string budget. But entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks don’t see a lack of resources as a handicap to successful.
3. View failure as a learning opportunity
You won’t find many successful entrepreneurs who haven’t failed once or twice during their business career — and some successful entrepreneurs failed several times before reaching the top. Successful entrepreneurs see failure as a learning opportunity. Real-world experience, even business failure itself, is one of the best classrooms for gaining the experience needed to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Richard Branson, British business magnate, investor, author, billionaire and founder of Virgin Group said it best: “Few first ventures work out. It is how a beginning entrepreneur deals with failure that sets that person apart. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”
I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur who isn’t passionate. Successful entrepreneurs are deeply passionate about their product, service or mission. It’s their passion that fuels an unquenchable desire and determination to succeed. Whether you launch a new business from scratch, or purchase an established business with a proven track record, passion is what will drive you forward every day.
Passion is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs. It is the fuel of entrepreneurial success. If you’re not one hundred percent passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish, failure, stress, long nights, discouragement and the other challenges that arise will eventually cause you to throw in the towel.
Entrepreneurs are savvy. They’re planners. They’re subject matter experts in their field of expertise. But they aren’t fortune tellers. They can’t predict the future. Even with the best planning and strategy, surprises lurk around every corner.
Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances — and they adapt quickly. They are willing and able to make difficult decisions on the fly and make changes in processes and product to reflect fluctuations in consumer demand, regulation and other market conditions.
Successful entrepreneurs are able to thrive in unstable environments that require flexibility and adaptation.
6. Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge
Entrepreneurs are often thought of as “big picture” people who look down upon high at their army of workers who manage day to day business affairs. More often than not successful entrepreneurs are in the trenches with there employees doing much of the heavy lifting themselves. They’re also money people. Whether a entrepreneur has millions in investor dollars or is operating on a shoe-string budget, they must be excellent money managers.
Successful entrepreneurs understand how money works and run their business based on sound financial principles. It’s their responsibility to ensure that founders and shareholders are on the same page. Poor money management decisions, including misallocating funds and overspending, can quickly sink a business.
7. Ability to Network
Value-based relationship building (“Networking”) is a common trait among successful entrepreneurs. Networking leads to new opportunities and long-term strategic partnerships that drive a business forward. Successful entrepreneurs can identify mutually beneficial partnership opportunities that will take their business to the next level and connect with the right people to make these partnerships happen.
Networking is an integral ingredient of business success. The ability to network is a key attribute of successful entrepreneurs.
8. Always learning
Entrepreneurs are knowledgeable. In fact, they’re usually the foremost subject matter experts within their industry. To stay at the top of their game, entrepreneurs are constantly learning. Markets change, they evolve; Only entrepreneurs that grow with their industry and adapt stay ahead. The ability to grow and adapt requires knowledge and expertise that only comes through learning.
There is always some new technology, process, product and competitor vying to be the next biggest thing and interrupt the status quo. Constant learning enables entrepreneurs to avoid getting blindsided or surpassed by competitors. Successful entrepreneurs stay sharp by reading books, waking up early to read industry news, attending industry conferences, listening to webinars, and much more.
When it comes to learning, successful entrepreneurs are like a sponge. They’re constantly absorbing new information.
9. Ability to sell
Successful entrepreneurs know how to sell. They know how to sell themselves, they know how to sell ideas, and they know how to sell their business.
Remember the TV show Shark Tank, with Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban? Well, if you having seen it, watch it some time and you’ll hear Mark Cuban regularly tell would-be entrepreneurs that knowing how to sell is an essential part of being a successful business owner and entrepreneur.
If you can’t clearly and persuasively communicate what makes your product or service the best solution to a problem, you’ll never be successful as a business owner or entrepreneur. If you can’t express what makes your product the best, who will?
The ability to sell is a key trait of successful entrepreneurs.
Self-confidence is a key trait among successful entrepreneurs. A high level confidence enables entrepreneurs to get the job done even under stressful conditions. It also provides entrepreneurs the moxie to venture out, pursue their dreams, lead others, and take risks that most people avoid. Confidence allows entrepreneurs to spot an opportunity where others see only a challenge.
However, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance—and for executive entrepreneurs, it’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. When self confidence spills over into arrogance, entrepreneur can become blindsided.
As you work toward being a successful entrepreneur, ask yourself what you can do to better develop those traits will help you achieve your goal.