When I tell people that I run my own business, they usually say, “I wish I could do that.”
My first thought is, “Why don’t you?”
I’m happy being an entrepreneur, and I’d like to see everyone as happy as I am! But, in reality, entrepreneurship isn't for everyone. It takes a certain kind of person to get out there and be a self-starting business success.
So, do you think you have what it takes? Here, in no particular order, are the top seven traits that an entrepreneur must have to succeed in business.
1. Passionate: I suppose this goes without saying, because why would you do anything without passion? It’s what drags you out of bed every morning, and pushes you to work late every night. And if you’re passionate about what you do, it won’t feel like work, will it?
Because who wants to work, anyway? To paraphrase an old saying, “Find a job you’re passionate about, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
2. Innovative: When you’re in business, it’s always a great idea to think of new ways of doing things, and then doing them. Coming up with new products and services will keep things fresh for you and your customers. Evaluate new ways of optimizing revenue streams.
Always be willing to learn new things that you can adapt into your business in innovative ways. Whether you’re optimizing your website or learning to tweet, the lessons never end.
3. Communicative: Sure, you can talk the talk and walk the walk. But do you listen? Paying close attention to your partners, staff, customers and service providers is paramount to your success. Ask them lots of questions about how things could improve or be made more efficient. Be sure to give valuable, constructive feedback as well.
You’ll learn a lot about the people you deal with, and get stronger relationships in return. After all, it may be your business, but it’s not just about you.
4. Dedicated: Yeah, I work 60+ hours a week. My desk doubles as a dining room table. My social life has turned into business networking time. But thanks to breaking out of the 9 to 5, my dedication to growing my business has paid off. Plan to be as dedicated and you’ll succeed, every time. You will need the work/life balance…..eventually. Give it some time. The more you put in now, the less you will have to down the road.
5. Independent: No manager breathing down your neck, reviewing your emails, or declining your holiday request. Sounds great, right? Well, also consider that you have no one pushing you except…you.
All entrepreneurs have to be independent and self-reliant to a large degree. Sure, you’ll take on partners to help you as you go along, but if you can’t work independently and without supervision, how far will your business actually go?
6. Confident: You’re about to go into that room to network with other business people. Or you’re about to shake the hand of the person who could help you pay all of all of your bills in one month. Or maybe you’re about to give your elevator pitch…in front of 100 people!
Whatever you do, you need confidence to see you through. Believe in yourself, and everyone else will too. You are in business for a reason. You have something that most people don’t. Convince people that you know what you are talking about. Allow them to see your value.
7. Flexible: Between juggling deadlines, meetings, and family obligations, you may find yourself doing laundry at 3 AM. Business never sleeps, and you may find yourself having a schedule that differs vastly from the norm. Embrace the new norm! Unexpected things happen, so you have to be ready to be flexible when they do. Besides, it keeps things exciting. And don’t forget your laptop when you go on vacation!
Can I tell you a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
I didn't have all these traits when I first thought of running my own business. But I developed them over time. Every entrepreneur starts out the same way, even the fabulously successful ones.
So if you didn't score very high with the seven traits, don’t worry. You will eventually. All you have to do is apply yourself and get out there. Then you can tell the rest of us how you made it happen.
We are always here to help bring these traits (and more) out in you to help grow your business. Contact us to learn how.