21 Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneurby Oudraa S
Anyone can be an entrepreneur but not everyone will be a successful entrepreneur. There are qualities that entrepreneurs typically exude which sets them apart from the rest. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task. It can involve a lot of money, sleepless nights, and many rejections. However, a successful entrepreneur is usually one that did not give up, regardless of the number of times they were told “no”. A lot of entrepreneurs seem to embody the same or similar qualities, and this is something to note. This blog will outline the 21 characteristics you should have in order to be a successful entrepreneur.
What is an Entrepreneur?
By definition, an entrepreneur is an individual who organizes and operates their own business. They have assumed all risks associated with operating their own business and are managing the daily responsibilities associated with that business. Entrepreneurs usually have an unmatched passion to make their business successful, which is what fuels them and keeps them going during setback and moments of discouragement. Entrepreneurs have a keen eye for recognizing a problem or a need for innovation. From there, they aim solve a problem or create something they’ve noticed is lacking in the market. They make the most out of opportunities they are presented with and simply aim to succeed in their endeavors. Most will agree that being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It can take a lot mentally, physically, and financially on a regular basis. If you are an entrepreneur or thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, below are the 21 best characteristics you should aim to embody.
21 Best Characteristics to Have as a Successful Entrepreneur
When passionate about something, you’ll have a strong, burning desire towards something. This passion will noticeably direct your thoughts and actions. It’s important for an entrepreneur to be passionate about their idea/business because if not, it will be a challenge to get started and keep that momentum. A strong desire for something will keep you intrigued and motivated to see a plan through. Being passionate about something is not a feeling that can be easily extinguished – which is what is needed in the realm of entrepreneurship. You want to be so passionate that almost nothing can stop you from accomplishing your dreams and achieving your goals. It is also usually easier to lead a venture with passion as opposed feeling forced because you won’t have to do as much work to keep yourself interested.
Patience is a virtue! Starting a business is no easy feat. There will be many hurdles, many rejections, and many periods of stagnancy. What’s important is that you don’t quit. You must be patience and trust in your abilities. Successes aren’t typically built overnight so you shouldn’t put that pressure on yourself. A successful entrepreneur will be able to recognize this and keep pushing. Be patient in your understanding, navigation, and delivery of entrepreneurship. Sometimes your success is on the other end of a “no”, or a “maybe next year”. Successful entrepreneurs trust and believe that with hard work and dedication, their plans will come to fruition and success will eventually come their way. If you aren’t a patient person, try to do little things that will encourage you to build on this skill. If you are stuck in traffic, try to practice mindful breathing, and avoid jutting around cars to get ahead. If you are caught in a long line, try not to complain, or scoff at how slowly people are moving. Doing small exercises like this daily will help you stay level-headed, grounded, and become more patient in practice. This skill will spill over into your work ethic, and it will help you remain optimistic and focused when developing your business.
As an entrepreneur, it is crucial that you’re an organized person with the ability to effectively plan. There are various factors you will have to consider and put into motion when starting your business, so it is important that you outline everything in an organized manner. Disorganization will heighten confusion, anxiety, wasted time, and wasted money – things you can’t afford when you’re an entrepreneur. Being organized will help you stay on track amidst delays or stresses that could pop up on a day-to-day basis. You can invest in a good planner book or simply use functions like the Notes and Calendar apps on your phone. An added bonus of staying organized is that you can always reference your calendar or planner and feel like you are on track and accomplished. Even if you only had “think of a product name” on your list, organize your day around that task and feel great about completing it once done.
When you start your business or begin your career as an entrepreneur, the ability to focus on a goal is always encouraged. However, you don’t want to be so rigid in your goal execution that you aren’t able to see any other ways to do so. The ability to be open-minded and adaptable is an invaluable skill to have as an entrepreneur. You have to be willing to consider other options that will help you arrive at the same goal. Since markets change, the interests of society change, and your access to things may change, you must be able to pivot without being completely thrown off. Learn to adapt to your audience and keep an open mind when it comes to receiving criticism or feedback. This could change the course of your business for the better and set you up for success.
All businesses come with risks. However, as an entrepreneur you need to able to navigate these waters and take calculated risks. No one wants to lose money or embarrass themselves, especially when the stakes feel so high. Nonetheless, you still need to be courageous with the ability to face your fears and go after your dreams. A successful entrepreneur is usually not an individual that plays it safe or neutral. They typically go after what they want and make it happen no matter what. Being courageous and taking that risk is what will set you apart from others vying for the same thing. You will either succeed or fail. Even if you do fail, you need to be willing to assess the risk, the failure, and learn from it. This will only better prepare you for the next risk you take so it is a win-win!
Being sociable does not have to mean that you are an extrovert and go out to social events every single week. The ability to be sociable refers to one’s ability to interact with others and form positive connections. As an entrepreneur, it is important to learn the skill of socializing in different environments. If you are at a conference, you will want to be comfortable speaking with large groups of people. If you are at a networking event, you will want to know how to read a room and have one-on-one conversations with individuals who may become potential clients or investors. People remember negative interactions they’ve had with a person far more than they remember positive ones so always keep this in mind! If you’re not comfortable striking up conversations with strangers, start practicing: go for walks and say hello to people, head to a coffee shop and engage with the barista quickly, or head to the grocery store and talk to someone about a piece of fruit! The conversation doesn’t have to be life-changing or even related to your business. These practices are simply intended to get you comfortable with your ability to converse with others without a script. The best entrepreneurs are social enough!
A knowledgeable entrepreneur makes a huge difference. You’d be surprised how many people will be able to sense someone’s lack of knowledge when it comes to a specific product or service. It is no doubt that you always feel more comfortable and confident in something when the representative knows what they’re talking about. As an entrepreneur, you should do your due diligence to learn all that you can about your service or product. Act like a consumer and see how your product works in motion. This will help you relate to your consumer and pick up on things that may need to be tweaked. Doing your research before you fully jump into your business could save you a lot of hassle. You can learn from the mistakes of others and avoid less-desirable outcomes. Even if you think you’re an expert on something, never stop learning. You can never know too much, especially as an entrepreneur.
Most entrepreneurs you come across are creative in some way, whether it’s conventionally or not. As an entrepreneur, it’s encouraged to learn what interests you and see if you can apply your creativity to it. Being creative will help you create a business that is unique and as such, this will set you apart from others in your niche market. Individuals constantly talk about how markets are oversaturated with the same products and services so you will want to keep this in mind to stand out. Your creativity could manifest in many ways so try to do things that will help you tap into this part of your brain. You can try going for a walk, listening to music, watching a show or movie, talking to people, meditating or trying your hand at freestyle writing. These are all activities that will tap into the creative side of your brain and hopefully encourage you to delve further in. The more creative you are, the more your business will hold a factor of uniqueness that cannot be replicated.
The ability to be self-disciplined will change your life. As an entrepreneur, you could have many things going on at once. As such, some things may interest you more than others. This is where the self-discipline comes in. Even if it’s boring or time-consuming, you need to be disciplined enough to still get it done if it is for the betterment of your business. An entrepreneur understands that success takes sacrifice and dedication. You need to be able to regulate yourself and set distractions aside. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that “time is money” and this holds true! The more effort you place on the business, the more likely you are to see success. If you find yourself becoming easily distracted, try going into a room that will force you to concentrate. You can also try things like turning off your phone, working from a location that doesn’t have your regular items (like a library) or by locking certain apps/sites from your phone temporarily. Self-discipline is a quality that can help you in many areas of your life so it’s never a bad idea to try and master this.
Persistence refers to the ability to continue firmly in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. As previously mentioned, the journey to success as an entrepreneur may not always be easy. You may be met with discouragement, rejection, doubt, and failure. As an entrepreneur, learning how to navigate these pitfalls could be the difference between becoming successful or not. You need to believe so deeply in yourself and your business that obstacles faced will not take you out of the race. Give yourself grace (you’re still human!) and then take that next step forward. When you look back, you will never regret believing in yourself and weathering the storm. Remain persistent until you succeed and also have the knowledge to pivot when necessary.
Just because you may not be working a typical 9-5 job as an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean that your professionalism should go out the window. When running your own business, the stakes may even be higher. You are the face, spokesperson, recruiter, marketing manager, HR department and administrative manager all in one. People will be looking at you as the representative of your business and they may base their opinions of your business based on their interactions with you. Always remember to remain professional. Even if a customer is rude or abrasive, do your best to remain calm and tactful. You have much more to lose compared to the disgruntled customer. Your professionalism will outshine the bad behavior of others and hopefully leave a positive impression on customers down the line. It’s also important to remain professional because as an entrepreneur, you will likely interact with many individuals, and you never know who is “a friend of a friend”. After all, they do always say it’s not what you know but rather who.
I am successful. I am confident. My business is thriving. These are some affirmations you can tell yourself on a daily basis to encourage yourself. Being an entrepreneur can really mess with your sense of self and worth. You may go into a business venture thinking you are incredibly knowledgeable and come out of it thinking there are thousands of people that know much more than you. This is where your self-confidence comes in. Setbacks and failures are a regular part of business. That doesn’t mean you should come down on yourself for encountering them. You need to believe in yourself and in your abilities. Have the confidence to put yourself out there and risk failure. You won’t know unless you try. Most entrepreneurs will tell you that at first, they were afraid to “start” but they knew they had it in them. Once you get your feet wet and start on the path to entrepreneurship, you’ll likely never want to turn around. If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to trust you or your business? Show yourself and the world why betting on yourself is a great decision!
As an entrepreneur, the need for a competitive spirit is great. In today’s society, it is hard to find a product or service that hasn’t already been invented. However, you can’t let this stop you from proceeding. You need to find the reason why people should lean into your business instead of someone else’s. This is where your competitive nature will come in handy. You want to be the best in your targeted market and won’t stop until you get there. It doesn’t matter how many businesses have come before you, none of them had you as their CEO. Being competitive does not mean that you need to engage in bad behavior to win. Competitiveness can be positively used and simply seen in your ability to push your business and believe in it fully. As an entrepreneur with a competitive spirit, you will look at competitors as healthy competition instead of hindrances that you won’t be able to get past.
Sometimes having too many options is a bad thing. As an entrepreneur, your ability to decide on something in a reasonable amount of time is critical. Indecisiveness causes time delays and breeds insecurity. You need to be able to consider the pros and cons of a decision and then make a well-informed one. If you are always juggling options or asking others for their opinions, you will come across as a person who is unable to make decisions for themselves. An entrepreneur with this label attached to them could be detrimental. Don’t rush to decide because you don’t want to come across as indecisive. You are still encouraged to take your time and consider the positives and negatives of a decision. What’s important is that you actually decide and stand by your decision confidently. As the leader of your business, you will likely face many challenging decisions, so you need to be prepared for these moments and know how to overcome them. If you end up having a team, it will also be important to show your employees that they can trust in your ability to make decisions without doubt.
Intuitiveness is a quality that is often overlooked. Have you ever gone against a gut feeling and regretted it? Sometimes we can’t explain it, but something just feels off. That subtle feeling that can be easily ignored is known as our intuition. As an entrepreneur, it may be hard to suspend logical reasoning and just go with your gut, but the payoff could be great. Entrepreneurs encounter many people, offers, and opportunities alike, and they need to learn how to deal with this gracefully. When it comes to interactions with others especially, your intuition can play a huge role if given the chance. A person may be telling you everything you want to hear but for some reason, you feel like they are being deceptive. In situations like these, if you aren’t comfortable trusting your gut and potentially throwing away an opportunity, see if you can delay a deal or find situations to observe the person in question. This may help you feel more comfortable and decide why your internal alarm bells may be going off. Your gut may not always be right, but it won’t always be wrong either.
16. Comfortable with Failure
With any business, failure is always a possible outcome. When you start a business, you need to accept this and force yourself to become comfortable with failure. Failures can hurt and make you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel, but you shouldn’t! If you’re open to it, most failures will teach you lessons that you can carry with you for life. You may learn how to do something better or learn certain areas that you should stay away from. Either way, you could leave a failure with more insight than you had at the outset. Accepting failure and the realizations that come with it can help you go back to the drawing board and make your business better.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paul Coelho
If you have integrity, you are considered an honest individual with strong moral principles. In business, there are many who turn to shady and fraudulent ways to come out on top. Being integrous is encouraged because people never forget who burned them. As much as you may think that you can scam your way to the top, it will always catch up to you. As an entrepreneur, maintaining a moral compass will help you make decisions that are honest and backed by good intention. If you follow this path, you won’t lose sleep over how you got there and you also won’t have the fear of karma coming to find you. It is easy to get lost in the world of business and entrepreneurship so stick with your anchor of integrity and trust that it will guide you in the right direction.
18. Financial Acuity
Starting and running a successful business is going to require funding. Whether that comes from your own personal pockets or from lenders will depend on the nature of your business. Having financial acuity is important in this circumstance. You need to be able to understand money, profit, income, debt, and expenses. Even if you plan on hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, it is still good to have your own understanding so that you can keep up and avoid getting swindled. You will be up close and personal with your finances so do your best to acquire as much knowledge as you can related to them. You can read books, watch videos, enroll in courses or seek advice from professionals. Over time, you will become more comfortable and confident with your finances and how they work for you and your business.
Although sometimes it takes a village, an entrepreneur needs to know how to be independent! You may need to start your business alone for various reasons, and because of this, you also need to be able to carry on by yourself as well. A successful entrepreneur knows how to conduct their business without the input or direction of others. Being able to work and execute your plans independently will give you an added boost of confidence and assurance. As time goes on, you will trust yourself more and realize how much you are really capable of. A seasoned entrepreneur also knows when to be independent and when to ask for help. Finding the balance between these two is key.
You likely started your business to provide a service or product to others. This is why being customer-focused as an entrepreneur is important. You cannot become so fixated on your own needs and wants that you dismiss the concerns of your customers. You need them! Always remember what is important to the success of your business and lead with that. You want your customers to be happy with your business and also come back. A positive review from a customer can go a long way, so always try to get one! Keeping the customer as your focus will also help you create/alter your business for the better. You will be able to reference analytics, market trends, and reviews instead of relying on your subjective opinion. The customer matters – always remember that.
Consistency is key! This phrase continues to hold true, no matter how many times it’s said. If you want to see any type of change, you need to remain consistent in your efforts. Consistency builds character and discipline, which are qualities that will aid in your ability to be a successful entrepreneur. Even when you’re feeling discouraged, try to remain consistent. Your efforts will always manifest into something positive, no matter how small your input is. Try and do one thing daily related to your business and watch how your success will grow. Results will always come from consistency, so try and remain steadfast. Your consistency will pay off.
If you are willing to put in the work, you can be become the successful entrepreneur you’ve always dreamed of. As an entrepreneur, there are qualities that you already possess or should try to possess down the line. This blog outlined the 21 best characteristics an entrepreneur should have – do you agree? Comment below with your thoughts!
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