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The 12 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship requires a steady approach to ever-shifting markets and customer demands.

By Sujan Patel Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Entrepreneurs are a different breed - they think different, act different, and live different than the rest of society. However, the successful ones all seem to share a few of the same traits with each other. Here are 12 of the most common:

1. They take what they do seriously.

Entrepreneurs understand that the success of the business ultimately rests upon their shoulders. When you run a startup, whether or not rent is paid depends on how you run the business. Because of this, all successful entrepreneurs take their work very seriously.

2. They make it all about the customer

Customers are why a business exists. Their sales dollars determine the success of any business. Successful entrepreneurs realize this early on and make their business about the customers. Studies show that customers are four times more likely to switch to a competitor if they have a customer service concern versus a price or product issue.

Related: 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

3. They make the big decisions carefully.

Every decision has consequences, whether good or bad. Over time, those consequences shape our reality and tell the story of our lives. Entrepreneurs who are doing well take note and carefully identify the potential long-term effects of each decision, while seeking counsel before making major decision.

4. They aren't scared of the road less traveled.

Following the crowd only leads to where others have been before. Successful entrepreneurs aren't afraid to venture out on their own with a company and blaze a new trial. That's their defining characteristic. Some of the best inventions and designs have come from the minds of those who weren't afraid to be different.

5. They harness technology.

Things change constantly, and they change especially quickly in business. To best serve their customers, successful entrepreneurs keep up to date with the best technology can offer to them. Take, for example, live chat. It can make a huge difference in your company's customer service results and overall growth.

6. They invest in themselves.

You can't make other people better unless you make yourself better first. Entrepreneurs who are successful make a point to carve out time from their calendar and money from their budget to invest in themselves. This investment may be further education or a well-earned vacation. Either way, successful entrepreneurs find ways to recharge and propel themselves further.

Related: The 5 Mistakes Standing Between You and Your First Million

7. They are constantly learning.

There's always something you don't know and something else that has just been discovered. Both are essential for entrepreneurs. You can't build a business around something you don't know about, and you can't improve products and services using outdated methods. Entrepreneurs are always on the prowl to learn more about what they do and what the competition is working on.

8. They're not afraid of risks

The best things in life are often found on the other side of a worthwhile risk; in that way, the best business you can build may be on the other side of possible failure. Entrepreneurs don't shy away from the unknown or the uncharted. They know that's where the future sales dollars and profits are. While uncalculated risks can cause terrible consequences, calculated risks are the sweet spot of a new business venture.

9. They're willing to experience failure

Very few successful entrepreneurs have made it without living through some failure, large or small. They realize failure is just information about what doesn't work, not the end of the journey. They continue trying long after most would have given up.

10. They adapt to the current needs of the customer and market

As conditions and society go through changes, so do the needs of customers. The successful businesses of tomorrow will be those that learn how to meet those needs quickly and don't get left behind in the heap of non-adapters.

11. They know how to sell themselves

Successful entrepreneurs know when something is valuable, even if no one else does yet. They can explain and prove why their product or service is worth the price or investment. Finding a way to sell yourself before anyone believes in you or your business is the key to successful entrepreneurship.

12. They network, network, network

Not everyone is going to be jumping at the chance to use a new product and service, and some still won't adopt even after a lot of compelling information. So entrepreneurs network; not only to find clients, but also to meet others who share their passion and desire and who can help them go even further.

Related: 12 Sites That Will Teach You Coding for Free

Sujan Patel

Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits

In his 14-plus years as a marketer and entrepreneur, Sujan Patel has helped hundreds of companies boost online traffic and sales and strengthen their online brand reputation. Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits and Mailshake.

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