What sets an entrepreneur apart from a ‘normal’ person? What makes them special and gives them the ability to come up with ideas the rest of us look at and say “I wish I’d thought of that”?
We could turn to the obvious conclusion; it’s in their genes – they’re born with an innate ability to dream up brilliant ideas that are capable of changing the world, and make them a reality.
The truth, however, is rather more encouraging, because it means we’re all capable of becoming entrepreneurs – providing we develop the right mindset and set of habits.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at ten traits of a successful entrepreneur. None of them require you to put your hand in your pocket and spend money, but they all require a significant investment of your time and the desire to achieve nothing but the best.
1. A willingness to fail
None of us are perfect. In fact, if we were, there’d be no room for improvement, and what a dull place the world would be if that were the case.
Entrepreneurs only succeed after they’ve failed multiple times; don’t believe anyone who tells you they struck lucky straight away. No matter how big or small the end goal, getting there will inevitably involve several slip-ups – sometimes of the biggest variety.
The best entrepreneurs embrace their mistakes. Although at times crushingly-painful, their failures inform their subsequent decisions which, as a result, will take them onto even greater heights.
2. A desire to stay organised
Although it’s fair to say that many entrepreneurs suffer from untidy desk syndrome, the most successful are always brilliantly organised – even if that never appears to be the case.
Following up actions on time; creating plans that result in promises being delivered when you said they would; retaining a detailed, working knowledge of the solution you want to get in front of as many eyes as possible – to become ultra successful in business, one needs to be relentlessly organised.
3. Acceptance that they’ll never know it all
On the surface, many entrepreneurs are ruthless in their desire to prove that they know best in their chosen field, but deep down, the best entrepreneurs know they’ll never become an oracle.
This is true in all forms of business; you can never stop learning. And nor should you, because there isn’t a person (or, for that matter, robot) on the planet who is capable of achieving ultimate knowledge within a given discipline.
What’s more, if you accept that you’ll never know it all, you’ll spend as much time as possible ensconced in learning via the many forms of content we’re now blessed with. The desire to continually read, watch and engage within social arenas (both digital and in-person) is what sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest.
4. The ability to think on the job
Entrepreneurs relish being thrown into the unknown. Prior to their role as an entrepreneur, the likelihood is they’ll have spent a good deal of time working jobs where they had to think on their feet.
5. The desire to face their fears
What are you scared of? No, really – why not face those fears head-on?
We’re all scared of something, and the world of work can be where the vast majority of our fears lie. Entrepreneurs know this, but they also know the value in facing and conquering their fears, because in doing so, they’ll learn that they’re capable of anything.
Running a business is scary at the best of times, but running something that has been your life’s work is petrifying. Why not show it what you’re made of by tackling every fear you encounter as though you’re capable of beating it (which you inevitably will).
6. Recognition that listening is more important than talking
The people you encounter in meetings who waffle on incessantly about themselves probably aren’t entrepreneurs. Likewise, the train passengers who spend the entire journey talking into their phones without pausing for breath are highly unlikely to have caught the entrepreneurial spirit.
We know this, because one of the successful entrepreneur’s greatest assets is the desire to listen. They elevate the importance of listening way beyond that of their own voice, and ensure they always lend an ear to anyone that needs it.
You can learn an awful lot by listening, but, equally, you can become an almighty leader by hearing people out, too.
7. A dogged determination to finish everything
When the chips are down and the end seems either too far away or barely in sight, entrepreneurs forge ahead, regardless.
Think of it like running a marathon. Most competitors will tell you that by the time you reach the late teens in terms of mileage, the desire to stop and walk is almost too much to bear. However, breakthrough that barrier, and the finish line soon fades into sight.
Running a successful entrepreneurial business is no different; it’s incredibly tough, and there will be multiple occasions where giving up and trying something else would be far easier, but the best are capable of ignoring that urge and continuing, unabated.
8. Focus on a singular goal
Great businesses are made up of lots of different goals, but there’s always one overriding purpose, and it’s that purpose on which the entrepreneur is always focussed.
The goal could be as lofty as building a rocket ship capable of sending people to Mars, or as small as selling more than one hundred units of a new widget, but whatever it is, it needs to be front and centre in the entrepreneur’s mind – no matter what else is going on.
9. A desire to find something unique
The ability to create something that forces everyone else to rue the day they failed to come up with the same idea is what sets entrepreneurs apart.
Again, it could be something hugely elaborate and game-changing, or simply a solution that will make people’s lives one percent better – the important thing is that your idea must be truly unique in order to put yourself within the entrepreneur bracket.
There will always be the next big thing, or an inventive take on a traditional solution – you’ve just got to be relentless with your desire to sniff it out, and then continue looking for the next idea once you’ve mastered the first.
10. An appreciation of and thirst for new technology
We live in a world that is digitally rich. There are apps and software solutions for virtually every walk of business life, and the ability to turn to the supercomputer in your pocket (which, handily, doubles as a telephone), means entrepreneurial tools are always within reach.
The best entrepreneurs understand how important technology is to their success, and even if they work firmly within a traditional, non-digital environment, they’ll quickly develop a deep appreciation of new technology.
The pace of change can be seen as one of two things: scary or liberating. Entrepreneurs will always opt for the latter mindset.
Ask yourself the following question: of the ten elements above, are there any that you can honestly lay claim to being beyond your reach? Of course not; with the right mindset, you can become a successful entrepreneur, whether that means launching a software platform that changes the world or opening you own boutique shoe shop.
When broken down, the constituent elements of a successful entrepreneur are perfectly attainable for us all. So, find that brilliant, unique idea, and don’t stop until you’ve made it a reality.