The 1 billion dollar question every young person aspiring to become the next Mark Zuckerberg asks themselves: “What makes a successful entrepreneur?” Is it a degree from an elite education institution? Is it having a Type-A personality? Or is it just good old luck?
There are examples of success stories that include all those traits, but Bill Gates is a perfect example of what a person can do while lacking all of them! He is a drop-out college student, which doesn’t account for a type-A personality and survived numerous failed attempts to later become the co-founder of world’s largest PC software company, Microsoft™.
We cannot safely pin down the “magical” abilities that make a person a successful businessman, but there are some qualities undoubtedly evident in the most stellar ones! Below we present the top 5 characteristics found in every successful entrepreneur:
Purpose / Vision
Everyone truly belonging to the entrepreneurial elite have a significant purpose they care about. Either it involves making the world a better place or catering for everyday needs, a successful business greatly depends on the devotion of the founders.
The ability to inspire the same excitement to new staff members and their audience is what makes them bigger and bigger!
Keeping that vision alive for as long as possible and finding new ways to nurture it, is the key element to achieve greatness.
Perseverance is a significant success trait, as well. In the course of a career, entrepreneurs may hit brick walls, face setbacks and be rejected repeatedly by potential investors or clients. A successful entrepreneur always sees the opportunity in every obstacle and never, ever, takes no for an answer. If you believe in your product, then you owe it to yourself to try harder and eventually win. Henry Ford went bankrupt 5 times before he could build the global empire we all know to this day!
Make as many mistakes as possible. When the right time comes you won’t have to guess, you will know…
Every entrepreneur, especially in their first steps, needs to employ all their resourcefulness and work with what is available to them at that point. Assets are really hard to get by, so being creative can greatly contribute toward getting your business off the ground.
Many successful entrepreneurs have turned a simple idea into a massive hit.
Take for example the creators of 3M’s Post-it Notes, Arthur Fry, and Spencer Silver. Their dead-simple idea for multi-purpose memo paper that you can stick on any surface hit the stores in 1980 and the company’s net sales reached $29.9 billion for 2012 (source: Wikipedia).
It is essential to be dedicated to your purpose, but as an entrepreneur, you will find out soon enough that other people’s opinions can be very useful too. If you have a great concept for a startup but have no idea how to capitalize on it, then you may need to re-evaluate your strategy and perhaps alter some of the project’s aspects.
Admitting your limits is a true entrepreneur’s trait. This will not take away your dream but will help you find a person that can give you solid advice. Hiring people that are more experienced or even smarter than you is key to success.
Steve Jobs once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Quick learning skills
Soaking in information about your trade is a fundamental entrepreneurial characteristic.
Before you even think of launching your startup, you have to learn every aspect inherent to it; from technical details to customer needs and requirements.
How else are you going to offer an integrated solution to a problem or fill in a market gap? The more you learn the more confident you’ll become. The more confident you get the more dedicated to your vision you become; the one constantly fuels the other.
Becoming an entrepreneur is nothing like a regular 9-to-5 job. If you have a good idea and believe in it, you should definitely give it a try! These are only a few of the traits that characterize a successful entrepreneur. And don’t forget that failure too, is a part of the game called “entrepreneurship”.