If you’re a professional, whether you own your own business or you work for someone else, I’m sure you come across people during your professional life that somehow stand out for their unique drive to innovate and produce results. And I’m not talking about the Steve Jobs of the world, but rather, about every day self-made entrepreneurs that seem to have a special gene that other people lack.
A lot of people believe that entrepreneurs are “born” and not made. Maybe that’s just a convenient excuse for those who do not want to follow the entrepreneurial path, and if that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with that. I wasn’t born an entrepreneur and I can assure you that nobody in my family was an entrepreneur either. But if you believe that a successful entrepreneur is made, you already have the right mindset to approach your life differently than most of your peers.
It is also common to associate the word “entrepreneur” with the Type-A personality individual that needs to be constantly searching for the next ‘big thing,’ and must possess a workaholic and extroverted attitude to achieve success at all costs. Yes, there are some entrepreneurs that would fit that mold, however, that’s not usually the case. There are numerous examples of successful entrepreneurs that are college drop-outs, even high-school drop-outs, average students with low GPAs, introverted, and in essence, individuals who didn’t originally have any of the “traits” that you would consider required to become a successful business person.
Entrepreneurs do develop (notice that I said “develop” since it happens over time) a number of qualities and disciplines that steer them to become leaders in their field. Twenty-three research studies compiled under the title “The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Entrepreneurial Status” concluded that that entrepreneurs do possess special personality traits that separate them from typical corporate managers, scoring much higher on qualities such as openness to experience (curiosity, innovation) and conscientiousness (self-discipline, motivation) and considerably lower on neuroticism, which allows them to better tolerate stress.
Without further ado, here’s the list of the 7 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs. Enjoy!
Starting a business and making it a successful business is a long distance race, not a sprint. You can’t take a break when you want to and you can’t just wait for things to happen for you. You’re the rain maker and Tenacity will be a key attribute if you want to succeed.
You don’t need to follow your passion when you start your own business but you do need to become passionate about your business. It may sound contradicting, but it’s not. I was (and still am) passionate about cars and auto racing, however, I didn’t think any type of auto related business would make a successful business for me. Instead, I become passionate about Internet Marketing and rapidly saw the tremendous opportunities for growth in this arena. It’s not even about money. It’s your own passion, and nothing else, that will make you get up in the morning excited about your day.
I think this is very self-explanatory. Entrepreneurs MUST take risks. You can call them “calculated” risks, but risks nevertheless. You will understand that any risk could lead to a potential failure. To put it simply, if you are afraid to fail, entrepreneurial life is not for you. You will take a number of risks and you will also fail a number of times. And that will be fine. Eventually, you will succeed and all of those past failures will just be part of your path to success.
You are the leader now. You have a vision that you need to materialize into a plan so that those who follow you, can help you turn your vision into reality. A vision alone will not take you far. The execution of your vision will. You have the ability to imagine things that other people can’t, but you also need to be able to sell your vision to others for it to become successful.
This is another trait that I’m sure doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody. If you don’t have confidence in yourself and your own abilities, nobody will. A lot of people tend to mistake self-confidence with arrogance, and I understand that sometimes, the two may be closely related. However, you must be massively self-confident in order to take any risks to stand behind your product, something that if you’re simply arrogant, you will probably not do once risk becomes part of the equation. Arrogant people don’t take risks. Self-confident people do.
“Survival of the Fittest.” But did you know that the original expression was not about being in great physical shape but rather about adapting or “fitting” to most situations? Business survival, like that of any species, requires a lot of adaptation. You must be constantly evolving and adapting to new situations, new demands, new technology. Being flexible will allow you to respond to any changes faster than your competitors can. In today’s business environment, “First to Market” is always better than “Best to Market.” Recognize –fast- what works and what doesn’t and adapt accordingly.
I always tell my son that Discipline is “doing what you have to do when nobody is watching you.” This is not about pretending to be busy when your boss walks by. Now, you are the boss. It’s no longer about jamming your schedule with worthless minutiae to make you feel good about how ‘busy’ you are. We’re now talking about pure Discipline. You have to do what you have to do, regardless of whether you feel like doing it or not, or whether it is a weekend, after hours or your own birthday. You become naturally disciplined when you don’t have to think about “discipline” anymore to get things done.
How many of these qualities do you think you have? Think about it. You may already have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)