Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
Not all entrepreneurs are created from the same blueprint. They come from different geographic locations, upbringings, income brackets and social classes, as well as education levels. While there isn’t a foolproof map to entrepreneurial greatness, one thing is consistent -- successful entrepreneurs all possess the following 10 traits.
1. Full of determination
When you set out to become an entrepreneur it will require you to set very clear goals along the way. Growing your business, increasing sales and hiring new employees require several micro-goals within them to be executed successfully.
This type of workload and challenge is enough to stop many people from pursuing the entrepreneurial career path. You have to be determined from the beginning to be successful -- before you even start. If you aren’t fully determined to make it there is a good chance you will crumble under the pressure.
2. Not afraid to take risks
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs took major risks, and they paid off in a big way. Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran turned a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion-dollar real estate business that she sold for $66 million back in 2001.
When most people hear the word “risk” they relate it to a financial risk, but in the case of Corcoran, the initial financial investment wasn’t very risky. The risk came into play when she went all in, devoting 100 percent to making her business work with such a small amount of seed capital. Many would assume it isn’t possible to start a business with very little money, but those who aren’t afraid to take risks don’t see things such as limited funding as a handicap.
3. High level of confidence
Entrepreneurs that have a high level of confidence are able to get the job done even under the most stressful conditions. They understand that big challenges breed big rewards. This is the same mentality that allows successful entrepreneurs to spot an opportunity when most just see a possible challenge. When most focus on the challenge, a successful entrepreneur focuses on the finish line and the end reward.
4. Craves learning
You have to stay sharp, and that requires that you are constantly learning. Industries constantly change and evolve -- only those that are also growing through constant learning will stay ahead. You will always have competitors breathing down your neck trying to surpass you. There will always be someone claiming to be the next greatest thing.
Staying sharp, through constant learning, will enable you to stay ahead and avoid getting passed. Read books and wake up earlier in the morning to read industry news -- do everything you can to constantly learn and absorb new information.
5. Understands failure is part of the game
Richard Branson 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.”
If you understand that failure is part of being an entrepreneur, you will take those failures and use them as learning experiences. Real world experience, even failing, will teach you more than you would ever learn in a classroom.
6. Passionate about his or her business
Passion fuels the drive and determination required to be successful, whether you are building a company from the ground up or buying an Internet business that already has a proven track record.
You have to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing -- there will be long days and nights and at some points along the way your business will consume you. If you aren’t fully passionate about what you are doing the added stress and obstacles will build up on your shoulders and eventually be responsible for your collapse.
7. Highly adaptable
If entrepreneurs had the ability to see what was hiding around each turn it would make it much easier -- but unfortunately that is not the case. There can be surprises around every corner, even with a well thought out plan and strategy.
If you are extremely adaptable it gives you the ability to respond quickly in any situation. This allows you to make decisions that will navigate you out of trouble and allow you to thrive in environments that would sink those that aren’t adaptable.
8. Good understanding of money management
It doesn’t matter if you are bootstrapping your business, using personal credit cards or have millions of dollars from investors -- you must have excellent money management skills. Poor financial decisions, such as overspending or allocating funds to less important tasks can quickly ruin a business.
Have a clear financial map drawn out -- what are your essential monthly expenses and obligations? How much can you allocate monthly for items that fall outside of the “essential” category? Stick to your plan and make sure all founders and shareholders are on the same page. Money problems can destroy a business the same way they can ruin a marriage.
9. Expert at networking
A large collection of business cards and a huge contact list doesn’t make you an expert at networking. Building value-based relationships that are truly meaningful is what networking is all about -- these are the relationships that lead to business opportunities and long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.
I am constantly networking with people that can not only help my business currently, but also have the potential to help me in the future as well. Don’t be selfish when networking. You should always know how you can help someone and provide value to them before even thinking about how the relationship will be potentially beneficial to you.
10. Ability to sell and promote
If you watch the TV show Shark Tank then you have certainly heard Mark Cuban tell entrepreneurs on several occasions that knowing how to sell is an absolutely essential part of being a successful business owner.
If you can’t express what it is that makes your product or service a solution to a problem, you will be in for a rough ride. If you, the creator, can’t explain it, then who will?
What are some additional traits of successful entrepreneurs? Share your favorites in the comments section below.