I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs over the years, and whilst they may dramatically differ in style, they share a number of common characteristics:
Starting and operating a business is no easy feat. Unlike a traditional job where you often have upper-level management driving business objectives and keeping you accountable, being an entrepreneur requires the ability to hold yourself accountable when you don’t have a “boss” to do so.
Those who are able to create and execute plants even without external factors holding them accountable have a competitive edge in business. When an entrepreneur has self-discipline they are able to manage the urge to procrastinate and can take decisive action when needed.
You can, of course introduce an extra level of accountability by working with a coach.
Though creativity is often associated with artistic output, it is an important trait for all entrepreneurs to have. Creativity doesn’t only apply to visual elements or branding. Entrepreneurs who are able to creatively solve problems and think outside of the box when facing everyday business challenges, they are able to quickly pivot and implement necessary solutions that lead to business growth.
Entrepreneurs who have a sense of self-awareness that they are able to apply professionally are better placed to achieve business success. When an entrepreneur is self-aware they are able to own up to their strengths and weaknesses related to running their business.
With this awareness, they are able to focus on the tasks and elements of running the business they can excel in and are more willing to delegate the areas they are not as strong in. Another benefit of being self-aware is that it increases one’s ability to give, receive, and apply meaningful feedback.
Many entrepreneurs are faced with tasks and challenges they have never faced before. The ability to be resourceful is a mindset that helps entrepreneurs reach lofty goals without a clear way to achieve them.
When entrepreneurs are able to work resourcefully, they can effectively problem-solve and grow and scale their businesses without having all of the answers or resources to do so. Being resourceful requires a can-do attitude and willingness to work creatively to effectively manage a business without having the immediate know-how.
Having solid processes in place is essential for any successful entrepreneur. In the world of business, a process is a repeatable series of steps that help those working within a business to complete necessary tasks. Processes can apply to various aspects of the business including sales, onboarding new team members, production, and product fulfilment.
When business owners have a process-oriented mindset, they are able to work smarter, not harder. Implementing processes in various areas of the business can prevent waste, allowing business owners to scale and grow their businesses. Additionally, when business owners have repeatable processes in place, they are able to easily train new team members to fulfil important aspects of the business without sacrificing time or quality.
Empathy is an essential trait for entrepreneurs. Whether a business owner manages a large team of employees or works directly with their customers as a high-performing solopreneur, they must be able to connect with others on a genuine level.
Successful entrepreneurs are able to put themselves in others’ shoes, considering the perspectives of their employees and customers as they navigate key business decisions. In business, empathy can look like anticipating your customer’s needs, empowering your team members to take time off to recharge when they need it, and giving both employees and customers space to voice their opinions and concerns.
Business owners who have the soft skills necessary to connect with others, they may experience benefits such as increased customer loyalty, more customer referrals, and increased employee productivity.
According to research from Wroclaw University, the top three communication skills for leaders are effective listening, getting a message across clearly and vividly, and providing feedback in a supportive manner.
These skills can put entrepreneurs at a competitive advantage. When a business owner is able to effectively listen to their customer, they are able to implement customer feedback that can help them improve their offerings. Additionally, when business leaders exhibit these skills with their own employees and team members, they are able to build trust which can improve productivity and business performance.
Simply put, when you’re your own boss you have to be able to keep yourself motivated to work effectively and consistently. Entrepreneurs must be able to work through creative ruts and points of feeling uninspired to keep their businesses going. This starts with knowing what drives you to keep going and drawing upon necessary inspiration when motivation is low.
If you have an idea you want to bring to life and share with others, you have to have the confidence to see it through. Whether you are introducing a new product to market, or are seeking outside funding for your business, you must be able to speak to what you offer clearly and confidently. Successful entrepreneurs stand behind their ideas without letting concern over what others may think get in the way.
To have a sustainable business and see long-term success, entrepreneurs must be willing to pivot when necessary. Whether it is reformulating a product to make it better, or revising a business strategy to remain competitive, entrepreneurs who are too rigid and afraid to embrace change are at a disadvantage.
When an entrepreneur is flexible in their approach, they are able to take advantage of new opportunities as they come which can pay off in the long run. Business owners who are slow to adapt to change can miss out on valuable opportunities to innovate and adapt to their customer’s needs.
The ability to take a calculated risk is one of the most valuable skills an entrepreneur can have. When business owners are willing to take risks, they are able to learn valuable lessons in business that can help their company in the long run.
Taking risks also helps businesses find new ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, which is especially helpful in saturated markets. In the event the risk doesn’t have the intended result, the entrepreneur can still apply the valuable lessons learned to future business decisions.
Last but certainly not least, successful entrepreneurs must have a sense of resiliency. While running a business, it is common for entrepreneurs to face closed doors and to be told “no” often from potential customers and those they are seeking funding from.
Many entrepreneurs may find themselves starting multiple businesses if their initial idea doesn’t take off. A worrying proportion of businesses fail within the first three years. Some successful business owners may find their first few business ideas weren’t sustainable in the long run but can apply those learnings to new businesses. Whether an entrepreneur isn’t granted a sale or opportunity or has to start at square one, being resilient and inventive in the face of challenges is a must.
These traits along with a vision for what you want to accomplish are paramount to your success as an entrepreneur. Once you define your drive, you can then begin putting goals to paper and build out concrete action items to achieve them.
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