“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Jedi Master.
Often, entrepreneurs and business owners are characterized as the “rock stars” of the business world. This romantic vision is appealing but like most stereotypes, it’s a far cry from reality. So what makes a good entrepreneur great? There’s no entrepreneurship gene. Here are some common traits that are part of a successful businessperson’s DNA.
- They’re made, not born.
I once read in the Harvard Business Review that 58% of entrepreneurs surveyed had “transitioned” to entrepreneurship, and 33% said their experience as an employee enabled them to build a successful enterprise of their own. In other words, everything you’re learning now will help along the way.
- They believe knowledge should be shared.
They value the lessons learned from these relationships, and they pass that knowledge on. Collaborating like this benefits the teacher and the student.
- The best realize there’s no ‘I’ in team.
Good entrepreneurs surround themselves with good people who have the technical and business skills to take the company forward but also share the leader’s values. Survey respondents said finding people who share their vision is challenging but critically important.
- Success can mean choosing between being rich and being a king.
All founders of growing companies face a central decision: do they desire wealth or hands-on involvement? The ability to make big picture decisions like these makes or breaks entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs navigate this carefully and move according to their ultimate goal.
- Some see opportunity where others see disruption.
Success lies in the way entrepreneurs view the world. Even disruptions like the financial crisis of 2008 generated opportunities for entrepreneurial leaders willing to take them. Successful business owners have at their core a unique way of viewing the world around them and acting on that view.
- Failure is best worn as a badge of honor.
The extent to which a culture celebrates or stigmatizes failure can make a difference in how entrepreneurial leaders see risk. Early business failures should be seen as providing vital experience for future successes.
- True entrepreneurs are architects of their own vision.
Vision is the top quality of successful entrepreneurs. Those who succeed have helped people come together around a common purpose to achieve a goal. This comes from a vision owned not only by the people in the business, but also by investors, customers, suppliers and all those the organization touches. The entrepreneurial leader must be the architect of that vision in order to succeed.
- Entrepreneurs succeed by seeking to be better.
Although innovation is important, filling niches and market gaps does not need to involve new and radical solutions. Often, an entrepreneurial business can simply fit a better business model or a more effective way of delivering a product or service. Pushing products, services and people to be better is at the core of the entrepreneur’s being.
- They balance blue skies with the bottom line.
To be an entrepreneur, you must not only be an opportunist, but also be an optimist. The world’s best entrepreneurs see opportunities and truly believe they can create ways to profit from them. Maintaining a deep-rooted sense of optimism doesn’t mean you are unrealistic. But it does allow entrepreneurs to push their ideas harder, sometimes giving them a competitive edge.
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