Who do you think of when you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’? Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Susan Wojcicki, Sara Blakely … or maybe power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce? Do you think of your friend who’s a stay-at-home mum of three boys and runs a successful online health and fitness coaching business? Or maybe your young cousin who works a nine-to-five job and then comes home to work on her side hustle, embroidering ‘lyrics and pretty things’ and filling a growing list of customer orders? All these people are from different walks of life and at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey … but they’re all entrepreneurs.
Despite these differences, there are certain qualities that every entrepreneur needs to be successful. You will need them too if you want your startup to succeed. So, let’s find out what you need to be a successful entrepreneur.
You need to wear multiple hats
In the early stages of a startup, you (and your co-founders) will be responsible for all tasks related to your business. While your focus will be on building your product or service, you can’t forget all the other responsibilities that go with running a business, eg. marketing, accounting, training, customer service etc. You will need to juggle these responsibilities and take initiative (even for those tasks you don’t like) to stay on top of managing your business. It’s on you. You no longer have a boss telling you what you need to do, nor do you have the luxury of focusing on one specific task.
You need to be decisive
If you are comfortable making quick decisions, often on limited information, then you may have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. You may not always get it right but you’re on the right path if you always put the company first, are transparent in your approach, consider stakeholders, follow the process and stand by your decisions.
You need to focus on others
Regardless of what product or service you are building, you are in the people business. If you don’t focus on people and building relationships with employees, customers, suppliers etc then you may not succeed in business. These connections will help you through good times and tough times.
You need to embrace instability and be good with money
You will need money to start and operate a business. You will also need money to live while you build your business. Your income will be dependent on the performance of your company. If your company is not making anything, then you will not make anything either. It may take years to establish a consistent cash flow. If you are not good at managing money or willing to make sacrifices in your lifestyle and cut back on spending, you may struggle to manage the finances of your business. You need to budget and spend money wisely and consistently, and not based on one or two bumper months, as your next month could be a shocker.
You need to believe in yourself
A study found that confident workers earn, on average, 10-25% more than those with low self-esteem. If you do not believe in yourself, then nobody else will believe in you or your startup either. This will have a negative impact on your ability to grow your company.
You need to be comfortable flying blind
If you are a person who needs certainty in your life and struggles to take risks, then you may struggle to live the up-and-down life of an entrepreneur and to own a business. It’s often hard to plan for tomorrow when everything you’ve planned for today has been turned on its head.
You need to be truly committed
Coming up with a great idea does not make a business successful. It’s about the execution of your idea and this requires commitment. You will need to be focused and committed to working day in and day out on the same thing. This often means morning, noon and night and seven days a week.
You need to be patient
Success is never easy and rarely happens overnight. It may not happen at all. But you need to be patient and believe it will happen to stay motivated and keep working towards your goal.
The reality is nine out of 10 startups fail. Those startups that experience continued success are often led by exceptional founders who possess a combination of qualities that not all leaders possess. For those considering the entrepreneurial path, make sure you have what it takes first.
Take our free survey to find out whether you have what it takes to be a startup founder and where you fall within the entrepreneurial range. If you are lacking some of these qualities or want to improve your performance as a leader, you might consider partnering with an executive performance partner or coach.
Resources and related topics:
- FREE survey: ‘Do you have what it takes to be a founder?’
- Lacking any entrepreneurial qualities or want to improve your performance as a leader? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch with our executive performance partner.