How do the most successful entrepreneurs in the world achieve success? They work hard, take risks, believe in their business ideas when no one else will and lead their companies effectively. According to experts in business management, great leaders have certain characteristics like passion and influence, that are essential to creating successful organizations.
From our research, we saw that the most prominent entrepreneur characteristics are related to behaviour, they are:
- Management skills
- Networking skills
- Financial management skills
In some cases, entrepreneurs are born with certain traits and qualities such as vision, intuition and drive but in many cases, people can learn the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs to improve their chances of success in business.
The question remains, can you learn the traits you need to be successful as an entrepreneur?
At The Lonely Entrepreneur, we agree that there are certain traits that you may be born with, but it is the ability to build upon this foundation with what we call “intelligence” that is the key to our success.
This intelligence is knowing what to do and what not to do under the pressure of what we call the 4 P’s of being the entrepreneur – passion, pressure, pleasure, and pain.
We believe that this intelligence is the key to success and it is why we have built a full entrepreneur training program and learning community to connect aspiring entrepreneurs and facilitate learning of this intelligence.
Characteristics of The Most Successful Entrepreneurs
Who is an entrepreneur? They are people who have a lifelong commitment to bringing ideas to life and successful entrepreneurs have many characteristics in common. Regardless of the type of businesses they run, you will always be able to identify some common features in them. These unique traits separate them from the crowd and here we identify the top 8 entrepreneur characteristics for success:
Entrepreneurs need to have passion. There will be so many ups and downs not only during an entrepreneurial venture but even within the same day. Of course, successful entrepreneurs are passionate about their product or idea.
We discussed this in our previous article about how to become an entrepreneur where we asserted that having passion, the right skills and an incredible amount of self-belief is key to success in the early stages of your business.
Successful entrepreneurs recognize that passion is one of their biggest assets. It can keep you going when everything seems to be falling apart. Being passionate means that you can work on something repeatedly without getting bored.
It also means having the desire to improve every aspect of your product on an ongoing basis. With passion, you will be able to view your business from a positive angle even if everyone thinks it sucks.
Take Steve Jobs. He had the passion to change the world using computer hardware and software. This passion drove him to think completely differently about problems and as a result, he built one of the most groundbreaking businesses in history.
Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking risks. This entrepreneur characteristic is probably one of the scariest when you think about it but one of the most rewarding. Charting a course that has not been charted before is not for the feint of heart.
When I left a safe, well-paid job in corporate law to start my business I was taking a huge risk and a lot of people scoffed at my health incentives business idea and told me it would never work!
Not only did I go on to create a new industry, I successfully built a multi-million dollar business and went on to sell it to industry innovator Welltok in 2013.
Great entrepreneurs know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. However, not all the risk takers are successful entrepreneurs – knowing how to take calculated risks is the key.
It is understanding which risks to take and how to evaluate the risk that is the key. This is part of the intelligence we are always talking about.
Richard Branson is one example of a true risk taker. He has invested in different industries and most of his business moves were based on risk-taking, innovation, and feeling comfortable being uncomfortable – a rare trait.
Flexibility allows entrepreneurs to know how to adapt their business to new market demands. With the rapid advancement of technology, you have no option but to evolve. Sometimes this is day to day adjustments, and sometimes it is complete pivots.
The intelligence is to know how to stick to an overall plan but be flexible enough to adopt the plan to achieve results.
You can count a number of the world’s largest businesses that have been wiped out or are on their deathbeds just because they refused to be flexible. Blockbuster. Kodak. The list is somewhat endless.
Successful entrepreneurs will swiftly customize their products and optimize them to satisfy their customers. To be flexible, you need to welcome new ideas and suggestions from other people. To be inflexible may be the beginning of the end.
Think about the iterations that Facebook has gone through from time to time. Mark Zuckerberg has shown how to stick to a bigger vision while having the flexibility to adapt to a changing world.
Successful entrepreneurs do not doubt themselves. They are always sure that their business will succeed no matter what! They know that if they don’t believe in themselves, nobody else will.
However, do not confuse confidence with arrogance. These are totally different. In fact, arrogance is a recipe for business failure. The confidence of entrepreneurs can be seen in how they talk to other people about their business.
In fact, we wrote an extensive article on the balance between ego and humility to help everyone understand how the two need to work together.
5. Management Skills
Most entrepreneurs usually start as solopreneurs. However, as the business grows, they are likely to be overwhelmed with many tasks. You will have to deal with all of a company’s constituents – employees, suppliers, customers, marketing and many other core business tasks.
It is impossible to handle all of these tasks on your own. You will have to delegate some tasks to other people. We have said this repeatedly before and we believe that doing everything yourself is not dedication, it is bad leadership!
Successful entrepreneurs know how to delegate various functions without causing any confusion in the business. They assign different roles to experts and this helps the business operate smoothly.
Delegation is not something you can learn overnight, it is something that takes time and practice and one of the quickest ways of learning how to delegate is by learning from a mentor.
In our previous article about how to find business mentors, we asserted that to become a great entrepreneur you have to be able to manage yourself, manage people and communicate effectively. And mentors have been through that learning process.
Join our entrepreneur community now to learn all the basics of management and how to take your business to the next level!
6. Networking Skills
Successful entrepreneurs never walk alone. They always have the right connections. But they also understand that their time is valuable. So they are thoughtful about how they network. They keep two key things in mind.
First, is the network one that will have customers, vendors, or other resources that will be valuable to their business. General networking is overrated. Specific and targeted networking is productive.
Second, always remember to add value to others. When you add value to others, and how you might help them, they will find ways to help you. This does not work for just one meeting. It has to be applied over time and it will pay back in spades.
7. Financial Management Skills
Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of financial management. Most businesses fail not because of bad ideas but because of cash flow. Understanding the importance of these skills, however, does not mean that every entrepreneur has to be an expert in this.
In fact, you should understand the importance and if it is not your cup of tea, find one of the many resources that can help you.
That being said, financial management is at the center of a well-run business. Managing expenses and cash in the beginning is critical. Understanding and planning for start-up expenses (and not underestimating) is equally important.
Every cent counts in the beginning. Planning, watching and optimizing cash, revenue and expenses with good financial management is a skill all entrepreneurs must have. It is always important to keep track of finances and cut costs where possible.
But you should note that there are some activities that are worth investing in because they are so fundamental to the success of your business like the business plan, testing, marketing, and legal expenses.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t give up easily. They fight for the survival and prosperity of their business. Even if conditions seem to be getting tougher, they will strive to come out successfully.
Do These Entrepreneur Characteristics Mean Success?
Entrepreneur characteristics are an important part of business success. If you are passionate about your business, have an appetite for risk, willing to adapt your business to new technologies, delegate, network, pay attention to your finances and have an incredible amount of grit and self-confidence you will dramatically improve your chances of success in business.
Do you have these entrepreneur characteristics? If you want to become a better entrepreneur, join our learning community today and get the intelligence you need to succeed!