What are some of the key characteristics that are common among successful entrepreneurs? And how can you predict that an entrepreneur will become successful?
Successful entrepreneurs require a rare mix of skills; let’s call this mix the “entrepreneurial spirit.” Too much of one skill and you can tip the cart over and ruin the business. Too little of another and your ideas may never get off the ground.
Even having limitless money isn’t enough to make up for not having the right balance of characteristics, as we’ve seen with countless startups over the past decades. So which skills are the most important to success as an entrepreneur? Let’s take a look.
1. Entrepreneurs Need to Be Passionate
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This might be the single most important trait for entrepreneurs and for fairly obvious reasons.
Starting a business, pushing your ideas until they see fruition and keeping the whole ship going in the right direction is going to take almost all the time and effort you have. If you’re not passionate and driven, your will and determination are going to give out faster than you can say “bankruptcy.”
2. Entrepreneurs Need to Be Optimistic
Anyone who runs a business will tell you — it’s filled with ups, but it’s got its fair share of downs, too.
The highs can be super high and the lows can be super low. Being able to stay positive in the face of tough circumstances can give you (and the people around you) the resolve to keep going when the waters get choppy.
This can take some doing because it’s easy to give in to the “doom and gloom” outlook, but having a bit of irrational confidence can go a long way.
3. Entrepreneurs Need to Have Strong People Skills
When it comes down to it, entrepreneurs usually go as far as their team of people takes them. One of the keys to success is knowing how to motivate those people. This means understanding how to read people, how to communicate well, when to back off and when to press harder.
Having people skills is not as much a science as an art; you’ll need to “conduct” your team the way a conductor directs an orchestra — when everyone is playing in harmony, the result is something beautiful.
4. Entrepreneurs Need to Be Creative
Creativity is the thread that runs through the art of entrepreneurship from start to finish. For starters, coming up with a marketable idea takes overwhelming amounts of creativity. Then, as you grow, you’ll need to get creative to meet the many challenges the company will face.
Entrepreneurs are never satisfied and that’s a good thing; they need to keep their minds pliable to come up with outside-the-box solutions and out-think their competitors.
5. Entrepreneurs Need to Be Decisive
There’s no room in the business world for being wishy-washy or procrastinating. When problems arise — and they will arise — businesses need leaders who can make tough decisions and make them quickly. Hesitate and you might miss out on an opportunity. Make a half-decision and it could spell disaster for the company.
Once the decision is made, successful entrepreneurs take responsibility for it; if it was wrong, they need to take the blame and be ready to fix their mistake and learn from it.
The good news is these skills can be developed through hard work and proper training. Some of these skills may come naturally while others take a lifetime to perfect. This is one reason many entrepreneurs suggest getting a business degree.
A degree program teaches invaluable practical skills like managing money and staying compliant. But, more importantly, it teaches communication, people skills, decision-making, creative-thinking and other soft skills that ultimately spell success in the business world.