The 10 Traits That Define Entrepreneurial Success All entrepreneurs have some of the elements of success but those who achieve the most work to cultivate all 10.

By Jacqueline Whitmore

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Why is it that some people succeed more than others? Is it an innate ability, present from birth, or a learned behavior? What are the traits that identify a successful entrepreneur?

According to Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Entrepreneurship at Gallup, "Innate talents seem to make some people better at noticing new business opportunities and more likely to be risk-takers, natural salespeople and adept at cultivating social networks -- all traits that drive entrepreneurial success."

Badal studied and interviewed 2,500 U.S. entrepreneurs to learn and understand just what actions and choices led to the creation and growth of businesses. Through this study, she and her team consistently observed 10 behaviors and discovered that every entrepreneur uses some of these talents to start or grow a business.

Badal and Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton published their findings in a book titled, Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder (Gallup Press, September 2014).

The 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs are:

1. Business focus.

Decisions are made based on the effect of profit, whether observed or anticipated.

2. Confidence.

The entrepreneurs know themselves and have an understanding of others.

Related: 8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence

3. Creative thinker.

The people in this study exhibited creativity in taking an existing product or idea and turning it into a better one.

4. Delegator.

Successful entrepreneurs aren't afraid to let others assist. They realize that they cannot do everything themselves and are willing and able to allow a shift in style and control.

5. Determination.

Every entrepreneur goes through difficult times. While some throw in the towel, subjects in this study persevered through difficulties.

6. Independent.

Independence doesn't necessarily mean working alone, as these successful entrepreneurs have shown. They are able to do whatever is needed to be done to make the venture successful.

Related: What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur? Perseverance.

7. Knowledge-seeker.

Those who succeed are always seeking relevant knowledge that will help their business.

8. Promoter.

Nobody promotes the business better than its owner. This person is able to clearly convey what the business is about and convince others of its value.

9. Relationship-builder.

Entrepreneurs realize that it's the people around them that can help them the most and build relationships with those who can benefit the business for its survival and growth.

Related: If You Don't Build Relationships, Nothing Else Matters

10. Risk-Taker

Any new venture or growth involves risk. The successful entrepreneur has an instinctive knowledge of how to mitigate and manage high-risk situations.

According to this research, entrepreneurs perform best when they are able to utilize their dominant natural talents. While education and training may help, having the innate ability will make the job easier. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to recognize their talents and create a consistent effort to nurture them to full fruition.

What do you see as your best talents? Sales? Organization? Idea generation? Once you identify your top skills, put your energy into developing them further. For those parts of the business at which you are not talented, or have no interest, find others to take over those responsibilities. With a focus on your talents, you'll be able to point your venture in the direction of success.

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Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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