What makes a person, successful entrepreneur? Is he being born a prodigy? Is he having a Type-A personality? Is he being an extrovert who spends all his time experimenting with new projects?
While some entrepreneurs have those traits, they rarely define the characteristics that make most of the entrepreneurs. All are not born with the intellect that will change the world. A college dropout, like Bill Gates, is more likely to succeed than the top rankers.
So, if you’re not a born genius or top ranker, what personality make-up entrepreneurs? Here are eleven common personality traits of the successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs see opportunities everywhere. They’re innovators who are always on the lookout to either develop a new idea or improve an existing product or service. And, chances are that’s the main reason why they became an entrepreneur in the first place. At some point in their lives, they noticed something that could be better. But, instead of just saying that something could be better wasn’t enough. They actually put a plan in motion. In other words, entrepreneurs have the ability to see the future before it happens. I always say Entrepreneurs are inspired by things that have never been seen before, things yet to be discovered. You must have the vision that nobody else does. Then the vision to see it through.
Passion is the most important characteristic of entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs are driven by passion, rather than the promise of fortune or fame. Passion fuels the drive and determination required to be successful, whether you are building a company from scratch or buying an established business.
You have to thoroughly enjoy what you are doing because there will be long days and nights, and at some points, along the way, your business will consume you. If you aren’t fully passionate about what you are doing, the added stress and obstacles on your shoulders will build up and eventually be responsible for your collapse. A successful entrepreneur is passionate about his business. It is hard work, and putting in long hours will be tough if you don’t love what you are doing. People with a passion know what it is that drives them to keep working to achieve their vision.
When you set out to become an entrepreneur it will require you to set very clear goals along the way. Growing your business, increasing sales and hiring new employees require several micro-goals within them to be executed successfully.
This type of workload and challenge is enough to stop many people from pursuing the entrepreneurial career path. You have to be determined from the beginning to be successful — before you even start. If you aren’t fully determined to make it, there is a good chance you will crumble under the pressure.
The life of an entrepreneur is a risky one. Entrepreneurs know that their chance of any business failure is higher than its success. They cannot depend on a regular wage or regular work. That does not mean that entrepreneurs are fearless, but that’s not entirely true. Ask any entrepreneurs who’ve faced the threat of losing a home or who came close to bankruptcy, and they’ll tell you they’ve certainly been fearful. However, entrepreneurs seem better able to manage fear because they are willing to take risks. They understand that with great risk comes great reward. That potential payoff helps entrepreneurs push through their fear and ensures they don’t succumb to this emotion.
Some might call it gambling. Some call it ‘crazy brave’. Successful entrepreneurs are often confident risk-takers armed with a business plan, which can be irresistible to like-minded investors. Many would assume it isn’t possible to start a business with very little money, but those who aren’t afraid to take risks don’t see limited funding as a handicap.
Entrepreneurs who have a high level of confidence can get the job done even under the most stressful conditions. They understand that big challenges breed big rewards. This is the same mentality that allows successful entrepreneurs to spot an opportunity when others just see an obstacle. Where most focus on that challenge, a successful entrepreneur focuses on the finish line and the end reward.
Don’t confuse this self-belief for blind faith. Instead, think of it as task-specific confidence that comes after entrepreneurs have carefully researched the market and other logistics. Once they’ve done the work, entrepreneurs can feel confident that they’ve reached the right decision. Unlike the rest of the population, entrepreneurs can stand behind their convictions without second-guessing them.
6. Stay updated
You have to stay sharp, and that requires that you be constantly learning. Industries constantly change and evolve; only those that are also growing through constant learning will stay ahead. You will always have competitors breathing down your neck trying to surpass you. There will always be someone claiming to be the next greatest thing.
Staying sharp through constant learning will enable you to stay ahead and avoid getting passed. Read books and wake up earlier in the morning to read industry news – do everything you can to constantly learn and absorb new information.
Even the most successful people have failed at some point or another. The biggest difference between successful people and others is that successful people don’t let being rejected keep them down. They’re resilient and determined. Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Real-world experience, even failure itself, will teach you more than you would ever learn in a classroom. No matter how successful your business, there will be bumps along the road. A successful entrepreneur is resilient and can bounce back from a setback. They use setbacks as an opportunity to learn and grow. They understand that failure is part of the game.
8. Highly adaptable
The ability to adapt to changes and challenges is crucial for any business. In fact, idea or business plan of most entrepreneurs is totally different than when it began. An idea may be brilliant, but in reality, it isn’t effective. Entrepreneurs are flexible enough to make adjustments to make that idea feasible. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are prepared and willing to modify their plan when new information arrives and when there are changes in circumstances.
If entrepreneurs had the ability to see what was hiding around each turn, that talent would make those challenges much easier. But unfortunately, that is not the case. There can be surprises around every corner, even with a well-thought-out plan and strategy. If you are extremely adaptable, that characteristic gives you the ability to respond quickly in any situation. This allows you to make decisions that will help you navigate out of trouble and allow you to thrive in environments that would sink those who aren’t adaptable.
9. Money management
Successful entrepreneurs are good money managers. They prudently invest in overhead and always keep track of the money and manage their cash flow. It doesn’t matter if you are bootstrapping your business, using personal credit cards or have millions of dollars from investors — you must have excellent money-management skills. Poor financial decisions, such as overspending or allocating funds to less important tasks, can quickly ruin a business.
So, you should have a clear financial plan for your essential monthly expenses and obligations. Stick to your plan and make sure all founders and shareholders are on the same page. Money problems can destroy a business the same way they can ruin a marriage.
A large collection of business cards and a huge contact list don’t make you an expert at networking. Building value-based relationships that are truly meaningful is what networking is all about. These are the relationships that lead to business opportunities and long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial.
I am constantly networking with people who can not only help my business at the current time, but also have the potential to help me in the future. Don’t be selfish when networking. You should always know how you can help someone and provide value to him or her before you even think about how the relationship will be potentially beneficial to you.
11. Ability to sell
An entrepreneur must be comfortable selling. Even with a sales team, the leader must be an expert at networking and be able to promote themselves and their business to bankers, customers, suppliers and staff. If you watch the TV show Shark Tank, you have certainly heard Mark Cuban tell entrepreneurs on multiple occasions that knowing how to sell is an absolutely essential part of being a successful business owner. You should be able to express what it is that makes your product or service a solution to a problem. If you are the creator, only you can explain it, others can’t.
Entrepreneurs work harder and put in longer hours than their employees, while taking on much more risk. Running your own business can be tremendously rewarding, but entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Before taking the leap into entrepreneurship, ask yourself if you have what it takes to be successful. Entrepreneurship is the road less traveled. If you do, enjoy the journey.