Over the last 10 years, Guidant Financial has helped more than 12,000 entrepreneurs launch or buy a small business or franchise. Every one of the small business owners we’ve had the privilege of working with comes from a different background and have a wide variety of experiences personally and in business. We’ve seen time and again that if small business ownership is something they’re passionate about, anyone can be an entrepreneur.
So, what is it exactly that makes some entrepreneurs more prosperous than their neighbors down the street? While there’s no perfect equation, there are some traits that successful business owners have in common, which contribute to the long-term health of their ventures.
1. Intellectual Curiosity
Business challenges and obstacles develop over time. There will never be a time in your tenure as a business owner that you’re not faced with a new problem you must solve to keep your operation driving forward. Having the ability to learn, adapt and understand new information to overcome these issues is crucial. Even though you may have the final say in most of your business’s strategic decisions, don’t feel like you have to come up with all of the answers alone. Surround yourself with people who have expertise in areas you’re not as seasoned in and can teach you something new.
Guidant’s CEO, David Nilssen, has a favorite quote about resilience from Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Sometimes a hit to your business feels exactly like that. It’s important to put time and careful thought into building a business plan, but there’s a solid chance that parts of the plan, if not the whole thing, won’t play out the way you hoped. Good entrepreneurs take these disappointments in stride, and great entrepreneurs see them as an opportunity to learn something new and bounce back stronger.
Starting a business should be exciting! Staying enthusiastic about running your business is an important part of enjoying life as an entrepreneur, but finding success also means finding a balance between excitement and discipline. Consider some of the best sports teams in the world — they may have a few fancy plays they run for fun, but their long-term success is built on having solid fundamentals, which takes patience and discipline to develop over time. Business ownership works the same way; it’s easy to get distracted by shiny new offerings in the market, but disciplined entrepreneurs focus on the big picture.
Making the leap into entrepreneurship can be scary. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into running a company and making decisions that not only affect the future of your business and your financial health, but those of your employees. It’s normal to have a sense of fear or unease about running your own business. Keep in mind that fear can be a powerful motivator. As the old adage goes: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.