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9 Things Exceptionally Smart Entrepreneurs Do to Be Successful The difference between success and failure often comes down to these actions.

By Thomas Oppong Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the words of Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts". And this couldn't be truer for founders.

Every entrepreneur strives to be successful but the sad truth is that most entrepreneurs fail. The difference between success and failure often comes down to these nine things:

1. Takes calculated steps toward their goals each day. Leonard C. Green tells his students at Babson College that "Entrepreneurs are not risk takers. They are calculated risk takers," author Paul B. Brown writes in an article. Smart entrepreneurs don't just take any step or risk to achieve their goals, they look for ways to mitigate risk at every opportunity. "The difference between risk takers and calculated risk takers is the difference between failure and success," Green says.

2. Concentrates on what they do best. Successful founders know what they can do and just focus on that. The other duties are passed to their team (Otherwise, founders get bogged down with small details and limit productivity.) To get the most out of team members, tasks need to be assigned that align with their skill sets.

Hire smart people and trust your team to deliver, and they will get the job done without your direct involvement.

Related: 8 Tasks You Should Delegate Today

3. Sees every problem as an opportunity. Most people see problems as distractions that delay their work schedule, but great entrepreneurs find solutions to obstacles.

Successful entrepreneurs always think outside the box and figure out how to recover from failure, move on and try again without giving up.

4. Steps out of their comfort zones on a regular basis. Successful entrepreneurs always seek new challenges. Without it, they easily get bored and sometimes feel stagnant. They also look to find solutions -- and quickly.

Your comfort zone may feel safe but you need to push yourself out of it. Stretch your personal boundaries, connect with people that inspire you and take a different approach to how you work to achieve more.

5. Open to learning more. The most successful entrepreneurs have an internal urge to continually invest in their personal development -- and without hesitation. They have an innate desire to keep getting better at what they do. If they don't have the answer, they want to learn everything there is to know about an area that is unfamiliar to them.

The next time you talk to successful or great entrepreneurs, ask them about their personal initiatives that are intended to make them better and let them share what they are currently reading or doing to improve themselves.

Related: If You Want to Be a Big Deal, Never Stop Learning

6. Keeps track of short-term and long-term goals. The importance of measurable milestones cannot be overemphasized. And knowing the difference between short-term milestones and long-term goals is imperative. They measure progress weekly or monthly to make sure the team is on track to achieving the long-term goal of their businesses.

7. Focuses on delivering great value every day. Entrepreneurs solve problems. Those who concentrate on offering the best value for money always win. Successful entrepreneurs maintain laser focus on the end goal. They seek to serve customers better than the competition and strive to do just that. Through innovation, great entrepreneurs deliver new, better and improved products to stay ahead of the competition.

8. Celebrates small wins. While the focus is on thinking big and achieving your long-term goal, smart entrepreneurs know the importance of small wins in their businesses. They realize the importance of celebrating these wins – not just for the business but the team, too. It's important to keep your team motivated. Reward their efforts and celebrate your achievement with them.

9. Obsessed with getting work done smarter and faster not harder. You should strive to work smarter, not harder. Smart entrepreneurs create realistic schedules they can actually achieve within a given period. They maximize their productivity by leveraging tools that can make them achieve more without necessarily working harder.

Set yourself up for higher productivity by creating a realistic to-do list and limiting how many items you add to your list of things to do every day. Evaluate yourself by how you get things done rather than the time it takes to get them done.

Related: 5 Simple Cures to Work Smarter and Save Time

Thomas Oppong

Founder @Alltopstartups

Thomas Oppong is the founder of, a startup resource site, and the curator at Postanly Weekly, a digest of the best productivity posts around the web.

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