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5 Great Traits Effective Entrepreneurs Share New Year's resolutions season is upon us and what better way to start 2014 than by understanding what truly drives success.

By Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneurs are like snowflakes: no two are exactly alike. But despite their differences, great businesspeople often share certain characteristics that drive success. We've sorted through Entrepreneur's coverage from the past year and chosen five great traits that define the effective entrepreneur, all courtesy of leaders in social media, innovation and business. Let their insights help you better understand how the most interesting people make their dreams a reality.

Trait #1: They're surrounded by those who share their passion.
Entrepreneurs understand that they can't go it alone. Gautam Gupta, the chief executive officer of NatureBox, says that "because you can expect long work hours and hard days in the beginning, personal drive and shared similar values with your colleagues will see you through this time. This enthusiasm translates to a positive customer experience. And that's what will build your business."
Read more: How to Transform Your Passion into a Successful Business

Related: Nelson Mandela: 8 Inspirational Quotes on Leadership, Courage and Success

Trait #2: They know themselves.
When you know your strengths and weaknesses, you're better prepared to build a team that complements you and can help you reach your goals. Whether you're a "helper," an "arbitrator" or a "driver," start-up mentor Martin Zwilling says "to reach your highest leadership potential, you have to stay true to yourself, rather than trying to conform to other people's images of the best you." He adds, "If you truly commit to learning more about yourself and becoming the best that you can be, you will discover that all challenges are really the seeds of opportunity."
Read more: 9 Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Trait #3: They are true experts.
A successful entrepreneur never stops learning and makes the most of that specialized knowledge. Stephen Key, an inventor who co-founded InventRight, LLC., a company that brings ideas to market, says: "when you spend years in the same industry, you learn its history. Knowing what's been done before can help you identify how it can and should move forward. In the meantime, you'll build a network of relationships to support you in future endeavors, especially when times are lean. Those relationships are invaluable."
Read more: 5 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs

Related: 8 Questions to Ask Now and to Keep Asking in the Year Ahead

Trait #4: They take action.
Plenty of people will tell you no – but you shouldn't be one of them. Lewis Howes, the creator of LinkedInfluence, a social media training program, says: "action can cure fear and hesitation and doubt. Remember, we are granted the limited resource of energy and time in our existence, so keep your mind focused on the end goal: growth and progress." Besides, if you don't have confidence in yourself, how can you inspire it in others?
Read more: 3 Critical Steps to Reinvent Yourself or Your Business

Trait #5: They fail well.
Fear of failure can be paralyzing. But what feels like a mistake could lead you to your next great idea. "Too many people take failure as a sign it's time for them to give up. Those people don't get very far. What sets successful people apart is the ability to get up and give it another go with a better plan for how to be successful the next time around," says Brad Sugars, the founder and chairman of ActionCOACH, a small business coaching firm.
Read more: 3 Life-Changing Habits of High Performers

Related: Why Businesses Fail: A Data Expert Explains It All

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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