Eight traits of an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have an eye for innovative business opportunities and a desire to drive change, but they can also have a range of personality types and come from all kinds of backgrounds. So what defines a great startup founder? Find out which essential skills and characteristics every small business owner needs to become a successful entrepreneur.

1. Leadership

One of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur is the ability to lead. You’ll need to function as the head of your company, the manager of your team, and the trailblazer who keeps everyone moving forward as your launch approaches. You’ll also need to take the helm when it comes to pitching to investors or talking with the press. Be prepared to forge new paths and build a team of devotees as the face of your business.

2. Vision

Entrepreneurs who are truly blazing new trails always have a vision in mind. How will your company change the industry, and how will you improve the ways customers do business or live their lives? Most investors are seeking impressive levels of innovation, which could be improving on existing products or bringing something completely new to the market. Whatever you’re selling, you’d better be prepared to show investors and customers how much better things look in your vision of the future.

3. Motivation

The most successful startup founders are endlessly driven. They have a knack for motivating themselves to do more, work harder, and perform better virtually every waking moment. In addition to being self-motivated, they also know how to push others to accomplish ambitious goals and discover new opportunities. Staying motivated requires constant energy and the promise of substantial rewards, which great entrepreneurs know will be worth the hard work.

4. Positivity

There’s a fine line between being upbeat and staying positive, and the best entrepreneurs know how to walk it carefully. After all, positivity is about more than just being happy or providing constant affirmation. In the startup world, positivity means finding learning opportunities in failed experiments, asking questions instead of assigning blame, and being confident even when the going gets tough.

5. Risk-inclined

Building a business is rarely an easy process, and even the most efficient startup will face several bumps in the road. Whether there’s a steep learning curve involved, a huge fundraising goal to meet, or an impossible timeline to beat, every business has its fair share of risks. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take on those risks, but you shouldn’t do so blindly. Instead, do your due diligence and depend on your team of experts to help you get through the toughest parts of launching a company.

6. Creativity

Entrepreneurs rarely do things by the book, since they have the ability to see better ways of making products, doing business, and living life. As a small-business owner, you have to be endlessly creative and constantly strive to try a new approach or search for a different answer to a common question.

7. Adaptability

For entrepreneurs, creativity and adaptability go hand-in-hand. Your vision may not appeal to every member of your target audience, but being flexible could enable you to make key product updates that turn your launch into a success. By embracing your adaptability, you’ll also stay on top of important changes in the industry or new client needs on the horizon, which can lead to continued success.

8. Tenacity

Founding a company requires much more than just focus and drive. As an entrepreneur, you have to be tenacious, constantly redefining your goals and staying on track to meet objectives. As a small business owner, you also have to know what you want to achieve and be determined enough to make the impossible happen.

Skills all entrepreneurs should master

In addition to having key entrepreneurial traits, all aspiring business owners have to fully grasp essential skills and follow a few basic steps to build a great company. Along with important characteristics, here’s what you’ll need to succeed.

  • Communication: To head a business, one of the first things you have to learn is how to communicate effectively. Whether you’re emailing with customers, pitching to investors, or calling vendors, you have to understand and make yourself understood. To do this, you need to know how to speak and write clearly, as well as listen and read carefully.
  • Productivity: Many entrepreneurs may have reputations for being workaholics, but you’ll quickly learn that it’s more important to work smart than to work endlessly. Improving your productivity can actually reduce the number of hours you work, providing you with more time to innovate and make connections.
  • Organization: Any buzzworthy business has a ton of moving parts, and as the boss, it’s up to you to keep things in order. There’s no one-size-fits-all organizational method that works for every entrepreneur. Instead, find one that works for you so you can apply some level of structure to your many tasks, meetings, and goals.
  • Delegation: Few entrepreneurs can do it all, and those who try tend to burn out quickly. To avoid running out of steam before you even get started, get comfortable with delegating tasks to your team. You may have to do some mentoring along the way, but your efforts will pay off as your slate clears and your schedule opens up.
  • Networking: The best entrepreneurs don’t just have winning teams; they also have admirable networks that include colleagues, mentors, and experts in a variety of industries. Pour energy into creating a network that wants to see you succeed in your coworking space and beyond.
  • Promotion: Building your business is virtually impossible if no one knows about it, so promoting yourself and your company is crucial. That doesn’t mean you have to turn every conversation into a sales pitch, though. Become a company evangelist and master self-promotion in a way that wins over friends and investors alike.
  • Money management: Whether you’re in it for the money or you truly want to change your industry, you have to learn how to manage money wisely. Even if you delegate the bulk of this task to an experienced accountant, you need to have a sense of what’s coming in, what’s going out, and whether you’re meeting your goals.

How to become an entrepreneur

Starting a business might sound like a daunting proposition if you don’t know where to begin. Follow these steps to become an entrepreneur in any industry.

  • Become an expert: The best startup founders know their field like the back of their hand. Take the time to become an expert in your industry, whether that means taking classes, getting experience at other businesses, or doing market research. Develop a reputation as an expert by networking, giving talks, and writing thoughtful articles.
  • Make a plan: Startups don’t usually fall out of thin air. To get a startup off the ground, you’ll need to create a detailed business plan, complete with product launches and profit-and-loss projections for each stage. You’ll also need to illustrate how your company differs from competitors and set yours up to be the best in the business.
  • Seek out a mentor: Even if you think you know what you’re doing, you’re likely to benefit greatly from having a relationship with a business owner or an industry expert who has been in your shoes before. Not only will you have someone to bounce ideas off of or solicit advice from, but you’ll also have someone else in your corner, cheering you on.
  • Build a team: You’ll need much more than a mentor to create that code or launch that product. Get out there and build a team of dedicated workers and innovative employees who can help you shape your company’s vision.
  • Learn how to move on from failure: Almost every startup in the book has experienced both small and large failures. Doing something wrong is inevitable, so don’t try to avoid it. Instead, understand how to do damage control, learn from your mistakes, and move your company forward after a major glitch.

Not everyone is cut out to be a boss, transform the market, or launch a groundbreaking product. With a solid roadmap, important skills, and eight essential traits of an entrepreneur, you’ll have what it takes to become an effective business owner.

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