Whether you look to the characteristics of tech startups, best-selling authors, or the latest designers, these entrepreneurs seem to share personality, work approach, and character traits that help make them successful. These 10 traits are a mix of tangible traits and more abstract characteristics that weave together into a pattern for successful entrepreneurship.
- They embrace digital marketing.
Digital marketing is no longer the “new” approach to reaching clients and consumers. From Facebook to Twitter to blogs and more, digital marketing enables entrepreneurs to reach potential and current customers, without waiting for the copy shop to complete the brochures. It is now considered the standard method for reaching target audiences, and entrepreneurs can often employ marketing strategies in-house or outsource, especially on a small scale. As a bonus for many startups, several standard platforms are free to use or require minimal investments.
- They are questioning.
A questioning mind leads to innovation – key for entrepreneurial spirits. Questioning entrepreneurs consistently ask themselves: How can I do/make/provide this in a better way? The answers to these questions lead to innovative products and services. Successful entrepreneurs also ask questions of others, especially potential customers to determine their true needs. They ask their customers questions such as: What would make this product meet your needs? How did this product make your life easier? How did this service leave you wanting more? When entrepreneurs really listen to these answers, they help both their customers and themselves.
- They face finances head-on.
Whether you outsource or do all the books yourself – it’s one of those details that just has to be done and done right. While the finances are often the least exciting and glamorous aspect of the startup world, successful entrepreneurs know that caring for those small details and staying on track – or even ahead – can make or break the business. If you are not experienced with finances, you can look for community groups that offer classes, professional training, or reliable sources to assist with this essential aspect.
- Networking is their other job.
Successful business owners know that networking does more than just connect one person to another. Networking promotes confidence, speaking skills, and offers opportunities for learning, growing client bases, and marketing. It truly is the epitome of the phrase: It’s not what you know, but who you know. You can find peer group circles in your geographic community, online communities of entrepreneurs on similar paths, and groups such as small business organizations. These types of groups are effective outlets for recommendations for things such as marketing specialists, advisors, technicians, and potential employees.
- They turn failures into forward progress.
Mistakes or failures are inevitable. How you handle them is what matters. Successful entrepreneurs see failures as opportunities for growth and learning. They don’t wear the failures as marks of disapproval but as badges of courage and tenacity. A common trait of prosperous startup owners is that they are able to accept when something just doesn’t work, and start asking questions about why so that they can use that failure as a stepping stone. Sometimes this means looking to others, asking advice, and being vulnerable to critiques.
- They are all ears.
Successful entrepreneurs listen to their customers and clients, in both practical and intangible ways. They respond to inquiries promptly, taking care of the concerns and questions of their customers. Being all ears includes responding to emails and phone calls, as well as being attentive to the changing needs of the clientele base. This builds trust and turns a one-time-customer into a loyal customer. Truly successful small business owners also don’t pretend to have all the answers, but they take steps to find the solution or answer.
- They embrace a little uncertainty and chaos.
Entrepreneurs are a special breed – they have to be able to be OK with a certain level of the unknown. Uncertainty comes from all corners of the startup business world, from fluctuating income levels to scheduling and waiting for patents or manufacturing timelines. Patience is more than a virtue, it is a necessity. Entrepreneurs who reach success don’t talk about how easy the road has been or how everything is always under control. Instead, they speak of endurance, strength, and even the bravery required to set aside ego, preconceived ideas, and control.
- They have self-motivation.
Two major forms of motivation exist: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is what drives many employees where they seek such things as a paycheck, promotion, or other tangible goal. Extrinsic goals could also include the intangible, such as a sense of social acceptance or worthiness. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is motivation by which there is no reason other than the desire to do the task. Successful entrepreneurs have a healthy balance of both kinds of motivation, and they do not need someone else dangling the carrot at the end of the stick for them. They have to be able to manage their own time, set their own goals, and critically assess whether or not these goals are being met.
- They are passionate about their business.
When business owners love what they do, it shows. Successful startup owners have passion for their products and want to impact the world – or at least their corners of it. They want to see every client, customer, or consumer positively impacted because of their service, product, or innovation. Entrepreneurs who are passionate about what they do by extension have increased motivation, take chances that are not encumbered by fear, and accept the chaos that is a part of getting their product or service to the customer base.
- They enjoy their adventure.
Entrepreneurs who truly enjoy what they are doing have contagious enthusiasm. When they enjoy what they are doing, it makes all of those other less enjoyable tasks more bearable and less daunting. Entrepreneurs can be passionate about their products, but they also need to embrace everything that comes with the road to business ownership with sincere enjoyment. When they do, all of their connections, from marketing to networking to the last customer out the door, will all be positively impacted by that enthusiastic dedication.
Perhaps one of the best things about the traits successful entrepreneurs share is that they can be adapted and adopted – you don’t have to be born with them or fail without them. From finding ways to manage finances to networking and seeking ways to embrace the uncertainty of the startup world, entrepreneurs are students of their industries. There is always something to learn, always something to teach, always something to gain.