6 Traits Every Entrepreneur Needs To Build a Successful Business
We certainly live in the most entrepreneurial era since the inception of the humankind. And since there’s no clear blueprint or path to "make it", there’s a lot of conversation about what makes an entrepreneur successful.
I want to preface this by saying that each person’s journey is different & there's no right or wrong answer. However, after a decade of working with a vast array of entrepreneurs, I’ve come up with the 6 traits that I believe will help you maximise your chances of doing well in any kind business.
Let’s get into the meaty stuff already. Failure is an inevitable part of business, regardless of what stage you’re at or what industry. You should be ready to keep failing, but learn to fail fast and get up just as fast. Don’t take failure personally. Focus on what you can learn from it, note that down and move on.
Especially for people early on in their journey, it’s easy to get demotivated if things don’t quickly work out but remember that there’s no such thing as an easy entrepreneurial journey. Unless you have a trust fund a team of 10 to start with.
The easiest way to improve your resilience is simply learning to continuously try new things and detach yourself from the outcome. Do your mindset work first & know that failing is just another key step to success.
“ Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
Keep this in mind next time you find yourself procrastinating. Discipline is another pillar that differentiates a “wantrepreneur” from someone who makes s%*t happen. In today's society. self-discipline is not sexy. I mean who likes doing hard things?
Waking up at 6 am and being on calls with potential clients from 8 am to 7 pm with a short lunch break? That might be your life right now. Maybe other times one of your clients will have a crisis and need to call you in the evening. Or maybe you’ll be working weekends in the first year of your business. It's all part of the journey, whether you like it or not.
Here's another perspective though: it’s your choice if you want to go all in on your business or go work for someone else until you’re 65. Self-discipline is all about putting the work now knowing that you’ll reap the rewards later on ( and usually not much later if you focus on the right things - more of that later!).
Maybe your goal is to spend more time with your family in the future, retire before 50 or simply have an easier life and work less 20 hours a week. Whatever that looks like for you, it won't come without self-discipline and choosing what you want most rather than instant gratifications.
3. Never stop learning
All successful entrepreneurs that I know are lifelong learners. And that doesn’t mean that they have any sort of formal education or an MBA. Actually, only 67% business owners went to university and a lot of them dropped out, with only 9% of them studying business (find the study here). However, the ones that thrive have taken initiative, based on their own curiosity and business needs.
With the internet, you have unlimited options for learning. Here are a few: taking online courses, reading books and studies, working 1:1 with consultants, networking & becoming part of certain associations etc.
Personal and professional development is an important step in building a business because it will help give an edge and also build self-confidence & base knowledge in a variety of topics that can come in handy later on.
If the thought of taking a risk makes you sick to your stomach, you might want to rethink being a business owner. An important element in starting and then growing a business is taking calculated bold risks at the right times.
The first risk you’ll have to take is leaving a steady job. Plus you'll always have the risk of having your business fail, which is why this is not for everyone.
However, the big upside of risks is that they’ll be the biggest lessons you learn. Think of a time in your life when you risk something that at the time seemed “big” or “dangerous” - I bet 9 times out 10 you’re happy you did it.
Plus if you’re a risk-taker, you won’t have the dreaded “what if?” questions later on in life. Believe in your own resourcefulness and that you’ll get back up no matter what.
When starting a business, there’s no blueprint, roadmap or list of steps to take next. It’s all on you and what you come up with. Which means you must start and continue down this road with a bold yet flexible vision.
Every business is either inventing or improving something in the world- do you know what category you’re part of? You must have a clear vision for your business and help others see it - and that includes your customers, your team and the market.
Think of Apple ( cliche, I know, but still valid!). They didn’t want to just build & sell devices. They had a much grander vision of the lifestyle they’re selling which put them at the top of their industry. If you want to run a business or an entrepreneur already, ask yourself: “ What am I selling here? How are my products/services impacting lives?”. Fall in love with your vision.
Lastly, but definitely not least, being an entrepreneur might be the craziest journey you embark on. You might go from feeling desperate to thrilled to overwhelmed all within a few hours. To keep yourself sane, you must learn to be laser-focused. The biggest traps I see people fall into, regardless of the stage they’re at are:
Getting caught on admin tasks like chasing invoices/emails/reports
Perfectionism which means they want to do it all themselves/be involved 100% of the time
Not knowing what strengths are, so they don’t know where they could add the most value
Multi-tasking and giving each thing 60% of their attention max
Saying “yes” to thinks that they don’t need/want to do
Allow others to control their calendar
The list could go on, but the main idea is that the most successful entrepreneurs understand their strength and weaknesses, they know their business needs and apply 100% of their resourcefulness and attention to one thing at a time, they get help with things that could be done faster/cheaper and they say “no” more often than it makes them comfortable.
I want to end by saying that building a business can be the most rewarding job in the world, so don’t get discouraged, wherever you are on your journey. If you find yourself now thinking “Damn, I’m not great at this thing or that thing!”, don’t worry. You have time to learn. All you need is a desire to do so. Make a plan and take the first step towards greatness.
If you enjoyed this article and you would like to learn more about how to build an inspired business & life, sign up to my newsletter below so I can send you weekly actionable tips & stories.