It goes without saying that being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Among those entrepreneurs who reach the pinnacle of success, there are certain qualities that separate them from the rest. The following are 9 characteristics every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Visionaries are people who are able to create new trends or maximize existing trends in the marketplace. A successful entrepreneur is creative—not necessarily in the traditional artistic sense—but conceptually and intellectually. Successful entrepreneurs are often in tune with trends because they have a passion for research and have a knack for speculation on where the data leads. They also aren’t afraid to form relationships with other innovators who are driving change. Those graced with the ability to stay on top of trends and to create a compelling business vision are also better able than most to predict where their vision will lead.
Part of being able to handle failure involves embracing one’s optimistic side. A successful entrepreneur isn’t blind-sided by failure. Let’s face the facts: even the most successful of entrepreneurs has failed along the way. Richard Branson talks about failure in practical terms:
“The key to bouncing back is to learn whatever lessons you can from the experience so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the next launch.”
Having the fortitude to decide what not to do is often more difficult than choosing what to do; wherever your choices lead, a successful entrepreneur learns from failure, is optimistic and moves on to take confident action.
Successful entrepreneurs are comfortable taking responsibility, even when things aren’t going well. It’s best to keep an attitude of curiosity about how businesses rise and fall and to have a willingness to avoid the blame game in order to get things done.
4. Risk Taker
Starting a business is always going to involve risk. A successful entrepreneur knows how to take smart risks, and how to make her team comfortable with the possibility that things might not work out perfectly.
5. Able to Prioritize
Most entrepreneurs have their heads on a swivel; one of the most difficult tasks entrepreneurs face is the prioritization of their ideas and actions. While it’s easy to get distracted and mired in details, a good entrepreneur is able to hone in on what’s important. An ability to think clearly and prioritize is key to success.
6. Motivational and Inspiring
All this talk of risk and failure can be discouraging, but we know there are plenty of positives to entrepreneurship as well. One of the most fun traits of the successful entrepreneur is how motivating and inspiring they can be. This comes from having a good sense of what’s working and what’s going right, and the ability to encourage more of that from their team.
7. Structured and Consistent
It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get over-excited, resulting in break-neck, burn-out speeds, followed by mind-numbing lulls in the action. Most employees are stressed by schedules and workloads that don’t fall into structured and consistent rhythms. Why should all entrepreneurs care about the stress levels of their employees? Altruistic reasons aside, studies show that happy employees are more productive.
A successful entrepreneur possesses the ability to form routines, processes, and rhythms that enable their operation to hum along at a pleasurable and manageable pace. A consistent, sustainable operation allows employees to live healthy, happy lives with manageable levels of stress.
8. Values Focused
For another tick in the “happy employees” column: it’s important to drop perfectionism, and instead foster a culture that promotes learning, improvement, and growth. In order to grow and improve, employees can’t be afraid to admit mistakes or point out what’s not working. Make the values of the company clear so that everyone is encouraged to work towards those values and reduce behavior that’s counter-productive.
Entrepreneurs are a naturally competitive bunch, but ironically, the trait that gives successful entrepreneurs a leg up is the ability to be collaborative as well. A successful entrepreneur isn’t afraid of partnerships or other collaborative means of gaining traction in crowded markets; she/he knows when to compete and when to join forces. They also encourage a collaborative work environment so that employees are comfortable fostering the success of the company as a whole, rather than trying to take each other out at the knees to get ahead.
If you’ve read this list and realized that you don’t share all of these traits, have hope. These characteristics can all be learned and developed over time. If you notice a weak spot, figure out who in the world of entrepreneurs strongly demonstrates the desired characteristic, study what they have done, and work on it. With time and effort, it’s possible to hone the characteristics you need to succeed.