Much has been written about whether successful entrepreneurs are born or made and I’ve heard many arguments from both sides.
The discussion rages on but in my years working with early stage companies I think that it’s fair to say that most of the successful entrepreneurs that I’ve met share a number of common traits.
They are passionate.
You have to really believe in and care about what you are doing. Running a new venture is exhausting. It can be stressful; full of long hours and setbacks and you have to be able to handle the adversity with energy and perseverance. It’s well documented that most start-ups fail. The most successful start-ups solve a problem and the entrepreneurs behind those companies are driven by that need – It has to be about much more than money!
They are able to create and execute a plan.
It’s not enough to have a great idea. Winning entrepreneurs are also able to come up with a strategy to realise that initial inkling of a concept into a sustainable business.
I’m not suggesting that you devise a robust business plan and then set about to deliver it at all costs! True entrepreneurs are flexible and adaptable, understanding the importance of engaging customers (or potential customers) to refine their proposition based on feedback. They understand that this is what fuels success and drives action – and sales! They look for creative solutions to challenges but don’t lose focus.
They embrace failure.
… and learn from it. Running a new business is like riding a perilous rollercoaster but successful entrepreneurs are resourceful and motivated by the challenge. They are able to recover quickly, pick themselves us and move beyond temporary trials to keep sight of the end goal. All businesses encounter adversity but entrepreneurial individuals are not unsettled by problems. They view them as a means to re-evaluate their proposition and adjust accordingly.
They are not afraid of risk.
It’s a huge decision to start your own business – particularly if you are in a relatively secure position in your current role.
But the insecurity that is inevitable in a new business, if harnessed correctly, can be a fantastic motivator to drive business success. Successful entrepreneurs will take calculated risks to realise their dreams. But all entrepreneurs need to understand risk. You cannot be risk averse, but you have to be risk aware and explore all the possible implications of your actions before taking a leap of faith. In a young businesses cashflow is king and you have to be mindful of this in all your business decisions.
They surround themselves with great people and are always learning
It can be a lonely business being an entrepreneur. You alone may bear the burden of responsibility and it’s hard to balance the task of working in your business and on your business simultaneously, particularly if you are learning on the job!
Good entrepreneurs (even the seasoned ones) value input and advice from a strong network of trusted contacts to allow them to make informed decisions. They are self-aware enough to know their strengths and weaknesses and are not scared to employ individuals ‘better than them’ to build a strong team and fill the skill gaps.
TalentSpark, powered by Eden Scott, is a unique initiative to help address the skills gaps in young, innovative businesses. We have a trusted network of mentors, advisers and candidates with the right mindset and skills base to help drive start-up growth and scale up. If you need help getting the right people into the right roles in your business, let’s talk.