Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey – what do they all have in common? You guessed it: All are extremely successful entrepreneurs. But before you assume you aren’t born to be an entrepreneur because your last name isn’t Jobs, Bezos, or Schultz, let’s discuss the qualities that help an entrepreneur find success, as well as what you can do now to discover the characteristics of an entrepreneur in yourself.
Just because you didn’t set up a lemonade stand as a kid doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful small business owner or franchisor. In fact, while you can find research to support either stance that entrepreneurial spirit is inherited or gained, Guidant Financial CEO David Nilssen says, ”I worry that it’s caused smart people with great ideas to step back from the plate and not take their best swing because they’ve been told they aren’t ‘wired’ for success.”
Keep reading to find out how you too can join the ranks of top entrepreneurs – or at least find success in your own way, no matter how you’re wired.
The Top 3 Qualities of an Entrepreneur
Opinions abound regarding the qualities of a successful entrepreneur. But one trait that shows up consistently is confidence. While most business builders have found incredible success launching their companies without fitting into every stereotype perfectly, many of them do have a good number of entrepreneurial qualities. As you read through the list, consider your strengths and focus on leveraging your specific talents. And if you don’t inherently embody all of these traits, don’t worry. Use the traits you have and remember it’s never too late to work on the others.
You can pretty much guarantee you’ll hit obstacles on your path to business success. Confidence is what will help you navigate those bumps in the road. You’ll need to be confident in your ability to carry a concept into a real venture. Staff and investors will be able to see your confidence and passion for your project, and that can be contagious. The other side of that equation is that intuitive coworkers, staff and investors can also feel your insecurities or self-doubt, so make sure you’re self-assured in your plan before you start. And once you’ve convinced yourself that your concept or idea will work, translate those emotions and sense of certainty to others with an engaged presence, an energized voice, strong eye contact, and fluid delivery.
You will need to be able to not only start a project, but get through all of the initial phases, and in some cases, even see it through until the end. A strong work ethic is comprised of five key elements: honesty, humility, hard work, respect, and responsibility. So it’s not just how hard you work; it’s how you work. Earn trust with your prospective buyers by being honest and respectful.
Leadership scholar Warren Bennis claimed, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” An entrepreneur should not only have a vision and confidence, but she or he must also be the principal trailblazer that turns that idea to a reality. This one ties back into the confidence trait, so remember to lead with clarity and purpose.
In addition to those traits listed above, Lex Sisney, CEO, coach, and author of the book “Organizational Physics – The Science of Growing a Business” says it’s important to find what’s called your “genius zone” and build your business around it. Sisney says your genius zone is your unique talents plus your purpose, and when you spend more time in your genius zone doing things you’re good at – and that give you meaning and direction and purpose – your capacity to work increases.
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Streamlining for Entrepreneurial Success
Even with the aforementioned qualities of confidence, work ethic, and leadership abilities, you’ll face challenges on your entrepreneurial journey. You may need a reminder on where to focus your efforts. The following tips can help you improve your chances of success.
Focus on innovation
It can be disheartening to come up with a series of ideas and have them flop but continue to brainstorm, even when you feel down and out. Innovation is the name of the game when it comes to entrepreneurship, and constantly looking for ways to improve can increase the chances of your business succeeding. Guidant CEO David Nilssen adds to innovation what he calls, “maniacal focus,” stating it’s easier to stay focused on the right things without being distracted when we build our business from our strengths.
In addition to constantly seeking ways to innovate your business, remember to move rapidly when you think you have a good idea. If you fail to act on an opportunity, another company may pick it up – this means your competitors are gaining an edge on you, making it tougher to stay afloat.
Take advantage of social media
The internet can be your best friend when it comes to everything from customer relations to advertising, and social networking can give you a leg up in the industry. When starting or buying a business, your first focus should be to spread the word about your company to immediately start driving sales. Creating a page for your business on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can help you quickly gain buzz.
Keep your business plan simple until your company is financially secure and stable. This might mean sticking to a small budget and releasing products one at a time early on to avoid losing control by expanding too quickly.
Get to Know Your Entrepreneur Self (Seriously)
This may sound silly as you probably think you know yourself pretty well. But sometimes we are so focused on doing that we forget one of our greatest tools: introspection. We all have blind spots – it’s part of being human. But entrepreneurs must cultivate an attitude of purposeful self-awareness so you can not only view your strengths but also your weaknesses, too. Some people are more naturally inclined toward introspection than others, but that doesn’t make self-awareness a superpower that the rest of us will never possess.
Check out the following tools to help you assess yourself candidly and offer strategies for managing your strengths and weaknesses:
- The DISC Assessment identifies your style and behavior in the four areas of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The tool helps you understand how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems.
- The Predictive Index™ is a science-based assessment that provides accurate, actionable data about your behavioral drives and motivating needs. It’s a quick test that predicts your behaviroral and managerial style and also offers strategies to help people manage you better.
- The PSUI Assessment analyzes how the four PSUI forces – Producing, Stabilizing, Innovating, and Unifying – shape your management style. It maps how you are, how you want to be, and how others want you to be in your work.
Becoming a Genius Entrepreneur
Now that you know a bit more about which qualities and tips will help you succeed as an entrepreneur, remember that you don’t need to embody all the traits or know all the answers right now. Focus on the talents you do already have, work on the ones you don’t (or seek help from experts), and try to use the tips to stay on your entrepreneurial game.
If you’re ready to get started as an entrepreneur, Guidant Financial can help. Use the simple calculator to see which types of financing work best for you and your business venture. You’re going to work hard on your journey, but don’t forget to have a little fun along the way, too – after all, happiness and success go well together.