What makes a successful entrepreneur? How do you know when you’ve arrived?
Is watching “Shark Tank” on Friday nights enough to measure yourself regarding entrepreneur status or is there something more?
While I am an avid “Shark Tank” fan myself and have even talked to the “sharks” online and attended some of Daymond John’s live Facebook events, I decided to do some research on what the business world sees as being a successful entrepreneur and list 10 traits that you can use as a guide to see if you’re on the right track.
No Cookie-Cutter Pattern
First of all, entrepreneurship is not a cooking contest. There is no cookie cutter pattern for success. There are some common factors that we find in successful entrepreneurs and businesses, but each person must pave their road to success based on their individual needs and goals for their company.
Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs
While there is no “cookie-cutter” pattern for success in anything, there are some key features that successful business owners seem to possess that may help you focus on the important traits that the gurus seemed to leave us with as an example.
1. Think different.
This is Apple’s credo, and they live by it every day. Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs always said that you need to look around and see what is already out there and do something better. He demanded quality from all that he did and expected the same from his staff and creative teams. Anything less just wasn’t acceptable. So dare to be different but keep quality as your number one priority and give customers what they want.
2. Be full of determination.
Entrepreneur Magazine says that one of the most important qualities of the successful entrepreneur is to be full of determination to succeed. You can’t let the naysayers and negative thinkers pull you down. When the going gets rough, you have to “screw up your courage to the sticking place” and continue onward. Again quoting a great entrepreneur, Steve Jobs, he once said in an interview to new up and coming entrepreneurs, “You have to love what you do. The reason you have to love it is that it is so hard that the only way you can survive is to love it.” So be determined and love what you do to succeed.
3. Be passionate and resilient.
Forbes Magazine has a list of 5 important personality traits that successful entrepreneurs possess. They viewed being passionate about your work and resilient to setbacks as two of the most important traits to reach success.
4. Realize that success is temporary.
Successful entrepreneurs all have a sense that their success is only temporary. While they do hope it lasts, they realize that the ebbs and flows and changes that naturally occur in the market, the economy, and customer preferences will always be the change factor that will keep things evolving. Successful business people must always look to the horizon for new ideas that will keep their head above the water, even when the tide turns the other way.
5. Strong leadership qualities.
The Minority Business Development Agency discusses some of the same traits such as a desire to succeed, motivation, and passion about work and goals on their blog. They also focus on having important leadership qualities and state that a leader is someone who keeps the goal in mind even when the everyday work that it takes to get there seems mundane and ordinary. This kind of unfailing perseverance is important to keep going when things are challenging so that you don’t lose sight of the dream.
6. Ethics and integrity
One of the important but sometimes overlooked qualities of successful entrepreneurs is their desire to practice good business ethics and follow proper regulations. Even the most creative entrepreneurs realize the importance of following laws and ethics when it comes to business. Google reinforces this idea constantly by reminding website owners to make their content relevant to searches and appropriate to viewers.
7. Have a business plan.
Mark Cuban, tech expert and owner of The Dallas Mavericks advises people on how to be successful in business. One of the most important things he advises entrepreneurs to do is to have a business plan. You need a road map to success that you can follow and adjust to as you go. Even if you have to change the plan, you must have direction in where you are going to know if you’re hitting the mark.
8. Be a good salesperson.
Business Insider reminds entrepreneurs that you must be able to sell to be successful in business. Have you had any experience selling for other companies door-to-door or in any other contexts? That’s a good start. But ultimately, as an entrepreneur, you are selling your products or services so you should be very good at telling the important points of what you are peddling.
9. Creative Thinking
Yourstory.com published an article about the ten qualities of entrepreneurs. One of the ones they focused on was the ability to think independently and creatively. Being able to look at things from a different perspective, even when it is not a popular view, is one of the most important traits of a successful business person.
10. Be adaptable.
Chad Hurley of YouTube said recently, “Don’t assume that you know all the answers. Be prepared to adapt.” This reinforces what we said earlier in this blog about entrepreneurs and their ability to adapt to change and that there is no exact formula for success. Entrepreneurs realize that every day is a new adventure, every challenge is a new opportunity, and the future is uncertain. Still, we push onward toward the goal knowing that in due time we will reap.
Successful entrepreneurs realize that the challenges are part of the journey. That’s why we do it. We like not having the mundane certainty of an exact paycheck from an employer. We turn in our chance for a “fixed paycheck” in exchange for a blank check that we write ourselves.
We must be strong, adaptable, a planner but flexible, a dream but a doer, and practical in our efforts to do what works. We need to listen to customers, be a great salesperson, be friendly, have a business plan, and be open to changing that plan for a better plan.
Independent-thinking creative leaders, inspiring motivators, and excellent communicators are just some of the qualities of successful entrepreneurs.
In short, we must be superheroes able to jump small buildings and leap over websites with a single bound. Owning your own business is not easy, but the rewards are worth it in the end and it keeps us growing and learning throughout our days.
And when the challenges come (and they will), we still keep our eyes on the goal and remember what we got in this for and took on the obstacles one at a time.
So when you meet the challenges of your daily grind, just remember, the ride to success as an entrepreneur is bumpy. At times, you’ll want off. But you stay on because you know the alternative is “living in quiet desperation” and accepting what others throw at you. Being an entrepreneur, in the end, is worth it, and it’s all part of the ride.