What does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? Choosing a career as an entrepreneur does not require writing essays, interviews, and someone to tell you what to do and not to do. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs must possess specific skills and traits and firmly believe in themselves to get paid for the goods and services they offer. Granted, that is a very different predictable path from going to school or college, graduating with a degree, and working at an office.
Successful entrepreneurs need to be educated; however, they need to gain skills and attributes that are not necessarily tested for in a school. Many entrepreneurs do not know if they have these characteristics and attributes until they take the leap.
Quite a few renowned and successful entrepreneurs today might have been underestimated in high school or college, so how did they break barriers? Consider a few characteristics that helped them.
Entrepreneurs are firm believers in their untapped potential. Without ambitious goals, they couldn’t sell themselves and promote their products. After all, every short time and second in the business world counts and makes a big difference between taking action and being proactive or not getting past the wishful thinking mode. To be successful, many entrepreneurs paid some serious dues, which makes the difference between an average regular entrepreneur and a 70-hours-a-week obsessive-driven, hungry, ambitious entrepreneur. For many, ambition wasn’t an option; entrepreneurs did not want to be successful; they needed to be successful.
When it comes to creativity, entrepreneurs have to be original thinkers. They need to think creatively; this differs from artistic creativity, which involves painting a picture or composing a song. Successful entrepreneurs often think ingeniously; their ideas and products sell because they stand out from their competitors. With so much competition today, entrepreneurs are often forced to develop original ideas. Thinking creatively can make a huge difference to entrepreneurs and their businesses. Creative thinking also plays a critical role in their problem-solving skills, which can help entrepreneurs find a relationship between two unrelated issues to solve a problem. By thinking creatively, entrepreneurs are constantly pushing their limits to think of unique solutions to business problems; traditional solutions are always not good enough for them.
Give or take, at some point, some business ventures will not be successful and will fail. An entrepreneurial magazine estimated that nearly 75 percent of new startups fail. Entrepreneurs know that the risk of failure is there, and the reasons for failure can vary. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs do not allow fear of failure to hold them back; instead, they think of the possibilities of success to propel them. When they view failure as a learning opportunity, they can grow. Throughout the process, they will undoubtedly encounter hurdles, but what differentiates a successful entrepreneur from one who isn’t, is their willingness to learn from their mistakes, to continue to question the status quo, and persist until they reach their goal.
Along with curiosity, entrepreneurs must have an open mind to experiment with new ideas. They must set aside time for each new idea to test it and determine if it will sell. Before considering selling a product, entrepreneurs need to study it well. If they have an idea for a product or service that fills an underserved market, entrepreneurs need to make sure that customers are willing to pay for it. They need to conduct a market search and run tests. If they are taking over a franchise, for example, and a department doesn’t have enough staff due to lack of finances, entrepreneurs need to learn the necessary skills such as accounting, finance, and marketing before they have adequate resources to build a team.
One can’t start a business without taking risks, and taking risks does not necessarily get easier over time. Taking risks could mean many things for an entrepreneur, from deciding to sell a new product or not acquiring more employees, getting the latest computers, and so on. It can also take on a more nuanced financial perspective; some can’t handle having a credit card balance, while others are more comfortable borrowing without hesitation. Whatever their pursuit, some entrepreneurs can obsess about everything that can go wrong, while others can make resolute decisions. Entrepreneurs who successfully manage the relationship between risk and reward are more likely to succeed. They do not undermine risks but also think of strategies to mitigate them.
Confidence is one of the most critical traits a successful entrepreneur must possess. When confident in their abilities and worth, entrepreneurs are more likely to move forward with their ideas and not back away from them. If entrepreneurs are confident in their abilities, it will be easier for them to convince others to invest in their ideas or hire them. When people trust you as an entrepreneur because you exude a professional, confident attitude, they are more likely to collaborate with you or your company.
David Messiha | Staff Writer