Not everyone is cut out to own and run their own business. And with only 40% of small businesses in the UK surviving past their first 5 years (Office of National Statistics), it takes a pretty special kind of person to keep the momentum going and drive their startup to success.
Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? Here are the most common characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
They’re Creative Problem SolversWe probably don’t need to tell you that the best business ideas are the ones that solve consumer problems.
They take a good hard look at their local community, or even society and general, and they can identify problems or pain points. Or they see how other companies are doing it and think, ‘I can do better than that’.
But as well as the big lofty ideas, this ability to solve problems trickles down into the entrepreneur’s day-to-day role, from improving efficiencies in a production process to coming up with new and creative ways to market a product.
Entrepreneurs are problem solvers by nature, and it’s something that’s prevalent in every aspect of their lives.
They're Open-MindedIt’s important that you believe in yourself and your ideas, but it’s equally important to be open to new ideas and even criticism.
Listening to different people’s opinions, whether that’s through customer research or just asking a fellow entrepreneur what they think, can help mould a great idea into a successful business.
They Can Tell a Persuasive StoryFounder and CEO of Likeable Local, Dave Kerpen lives by the adage, ‘tell, don’t sell’. In an article for Inc, he explains that “nobody likes to be sold to, but everyone loves a good story.” And a good entrepreneur has the knack for storytelling.
The best brand stories trigger an emotional reaction, especially stories that are personal or prove that your product makes a real difference to someone’s life. This emotional reaction helps to create a memorable connection between a brand and a customer.
They Think About the FutureSuccessful entrepreneurs can spot issues and opportunities from a mile away, and they’re always two steps ahead. Being able to future-proof your business by working proactively is a common characteristic of the business-savvy.
Being able to look ahead comes down to how well you can plan, organise and track your goals. Want to change your mindset to be more proactive? You can start by setting long and short-term goals and plan out how and when you’re going to track them!
They're DeterminedThere are going to be plenty of blunders and bad days when starting your own business, and you will want to give it all up and quit. What makes an entrepreneur different is their ability to fight the urge to quit and see their business plans through.
instantprint Co-Founders Adam & James shared some of their startup struggles along with top tips and working through the lows and making the most of the highs. As part of this interview, they told us:
“[Running a business is] an emotional roller coaster. If you compare working for someone else versus working for yourself, the highs when you’re doing really well are absolutely amazing, but equally, when everything’s going wrong, things are not so good. But you stick with it. It’s all about having faith that it’ll come back around. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go and do it again.”
They Know Their LimitsAs important as it is to be positive and optimistic, the most successful entrepreneurs are keenly realistic – they know what will work and what won’t, as well as what they can and can’t do. And if they can’t do some things? They surround themselves with a highly skilled team who can!
They Love a ChallengeBeing realistic doesn’t mean sticking to your comfort zone. In fact, business owners will generally spend the majority of their time outside of their comfort zone, which for most of the population is employment (as opposed to self-employment).
If an entrepreneur is launching a business that no one’s ever thought of before, it can be hard to predict the outcome, but the challenge and satisfaction of completing the challenge will drive them to take the leap of faith in their ideas – that, and their incredible confidence! Which brings us nicely onto our next characteristic…
They're Confident in Their Ideas and ActionsTo start a business, the most vital ingredient for success is confidence that you can pull it off and that people will love it!
This doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert to be a successful entrepreneur – in fact, some of the biggest founder success stories feature famous introverts. Take Microsoft Founder Bill Gates for example. He says of himself:
“If you're clever, you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert, which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can, push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area. Then, if you come up with something . . . you'd better learn what extroverts do, you'd better hire some extroverts and tap into both sets of skills.”
They're CompetitiveHaving a sense of rivalry, whether that’s with competitors or with yourself and past achievements, isn’t necessarily a bad attribute, especially if you’re looking to start a business.
Many entrepreneurs use their competitive streak to their advantage. Even if they’re competing with other businesses, they use it as a way to make their business progress, and get bigger and better.
But they don’t have the mindset that to win, someone else has to lose – what’s the fun in that? They want their competitors to keep challenging them so they can set even higher standards for their own business.
They're Passionate - And It's Infective!One of the most inspiring qualities that entrepreneurs have is their passion. A passionate business owner doesn’t only inspire themselves, but they inspire their employees and, most importantly, their customers. And when you’re doing something you love, it shows!
If you have or are working towards these 10 key qualities, you’ll have the perfect recipe for entrepreneurial success! For even more insider info, check out this daily routine of a successful entrepreneur.