5 Foundational Principles of Early Entrepreneurial Success

A roster of essential personal qualities and tactical approaches that will help fuel lasting growth.

learn more about Chris D. Bentley

By Chris D. Bentley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are likely few rational souls who truly think that entrepreneurship is easy, but even those who've given the matter dimensional thought might not have fully accounted for just how challenging it can be. Particularly as a starter or a mid-experienced business owner, you have legion responsibilities; everything seems to need your input or control… you are at the forefront of ensuring smooth operations, profitability and problem solving. Entrepreneurs also deal with challenges such as loneliness, and negativity from the people they lead. I work 16-plus hours a day and have certainly dealt with such negativity, along with stinging losses and ample additional dilemmas. So, to help you thrive in entrepreneurship and reap its potential freedoms and fruits, some tips from the trenches.

1. Self-awareness as lynchpin

Just about any leadership path begins with being self-aware. So, make an honest assessment of your temperament, habits and what interpersonal dynamics work well for you. Honesty in this analysis is vital, not least because leading or managing people can force you to change — to take on another identity — and it's pivotal to know where your passions are (as well as your limits) in order to minimize self-sabotage and avoid hindering your enterprise. It's also important to understand your tolerance for risk, as entrepreneurship inevitably demands risk-taking. The foundation for succeeding is knowing who you are and what qualities you can apply best, as well as others it might be wise to work on.

Related: The Real Person's Guide to Finding Your Passion and Loving What You Do

2. Avoid excessive control

One lesson that's been repeatedly helpful in my success is that too much control can hinder progress and distance you from goals. Because, not every idea you have works in entrepreneurship, and too much control be both draining and engender demoralization among team members. So, learn to let processes play out without excessive involvement — create a reasonable work culture or structure that will allow everyone to play their part at an agreeable pace and with sustainable effort. This will help nurture a staff that will generate better projects, as well as one that better knows when to ask for your input.

3. Establish an enduring postive mindset

To avoid demotivation, negativity and burnout, cling to positivity, with an eye towards an end goal. A study by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, revealed that in predicting success, it matters less whether someone is gifted or not; what makes a larger difference is a person's belief that they can succeed and prevail.

Related: How to Become a Positive Thinker

4. Be a free ambassador for your brand

One pivotal organizational role that's a mammoth determinator of success is marketing and customer interaction, so you and your staff need to practice being free ambassadors. Do it from the heart… push your business out there, and in the process be ready to address negativity and/or damaging misinformation, and embrace ways of responding constructively. Because, for a business to thrive, every criticism must be addressed. In doing this, you may find that your enterprise slowly streamlines itself without too much effort.

5. Cultivate work-life balance

Overworking yourself — ignoring other aspects of life in the process — will simply not pay in the long haul. It's foundational for long-term success to achieve balance for a healthier mind, soul, body and bottom line. So, nurture relationships with your family, friends and colleagues… practice making time for them. Hours with loved ones will help you refresh and gather strength that can later be applied to work, rather than coping with burnout alone. Wholeheartedly commit time and invest it in all aspects of life in order to live it truly and abundantly.

Related: Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life.

Chris D. Bentley

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Award Winning Dallas Real Estate Broker

Chris D. Bentley is an award-winning real-estate broker and owner of Bentley Fine Properties. He is a seven-time multi-million dollar producer, author of four eBooks, was voted D Magazine's "Best Realtor in Dallas" five times and has been on over 19 podcasts.

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