If there’s anything all those countless lectures, self-help books on entrepreneurship and TED Talks have taught us, it’s that entrepreneurs need to possess special traits for their ventures to be successful.
There are lots of traits an entrepreneur must have, including a sense of self, product knowledge, industry knowledge, belief in their product or service and exit preparedness. But which ones are a must have? Which ones can make or break a venture? We listed 4 of them below.
Far-seeing, Open Minded, and Risktaker
Failure to see the future and plan for it has made decade-old, much-loved companies such as General Electric lose their way. That’s how important the ability to see beyond the present day is to an entrepreneur. It’s important for making decisions, and for identifying trends that could hurt or support the business.
Farsightedness goes along with open-mindedness because one line of thinking isn’t always enough. To be successful, an entrepreneur has to keep an open mind and consider every idea for all its pros and cons. Sometimes, it’s the ideas that one has the least hope in that result in the biggest transformations.
Being a risktaker is expected of an entrepreneur because business is essentially a minefield full of risks that could either make or break a business. It’s safe to say that an entrepreneur that isn’t willing to take risks might as well strip the ‘entrepreneur’ badge off completely.
Still, what makes successful entrepreneurs is not jumping on to every high-risk business or running businesses into avoidable debt, but identifying which risks are worth taking and which ones are more likely to cause more loss than profit. That’s when risk-taking becomes a worthy trait.
Proper planner and flexible
When people hear planning in business, they routinely think its all about making sure every minute detail about a product or service is ready before final display or sale. To be sure, that’s the wrong interpretation of planning. A good entrepreneur must be a good planner, not an obsessive.
Successful entrepreneurs use their effective planning skills to make do with limited resources, including cash and time. Effective planning starts with the business plan. While business plans highlight a business’s foundation and chart its journey, successful entrepreneurs don’t focus so much on it. Instead, they use their effective planning skills to continue looking out for possibilities that might come from somewhere else.
Flexibility is another trait all successful entrepreneurs must possess. Take Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as an example. He started Amazon as a small online bookshop, but has since expanded the Amazon brand to clover audiobooks, clothing, furniture and even movies! His flexibility has always been in tune with changing trends in consumerism, and he has reaped big bucks and business longevity from it.
The power of flexibility is that it enables an entrepreneur to take bigger risks because they know they can always change course in case of terrible results. Flexibility is what enables an entrepreneur, and his/her team alter a product or service in the development stage countless times until its finetuned to audience needs.
Passionate and motivated
Even the smartest ideas tend to flicker out fast if the entrepreneurs behind it lack the passion and motivation to back them. We would have had no Apple if Steve Jobs had not woken up in the night to work on his first prototype.
The power of passion and motivation is that allows an entrepreneur to keep faith in their idea even when no one else gets it. And since most entrepreneurial ventures take long to make a profit, the same passion and daily motivation are necessary for keeping the venture running until an ROI is seen.
It’s passion and motivation that get an entrepreneur off the floor after a huge fall and back on their feet because they’ve learned from their mistake and aren’t giving up.
Good money manager and disciplined
It’s hard not to correlate lackluster money management and indiscipline with most of the businesses that fail today. Both traits are so important in an entrepreneur that their absence is bound to send a business off the rails within its first month. That’s because most business ventures start with a limited capital (especially cash), and they need to use it smartly but sparingly to run along until they receive investor funding.
Most entrepreneurial ventures take months before seeing a profit too, which means that the entrepreneur in charge must know how to allocate money wisely to keep the venture afloat. Money management skills call for an entrepreneur to understand how to prepare for emergencies and know how to manage cashflow.
As for discipline, what better way to gauge it than through how an entrepreneur handles a venture’s money? Discipline is also manifested in other forms, especially during decision making and personal presentation. An entrepreneur that runs around without discipline finds themselves breaking the rules and losing the trust of investors and customers.
One live example is former Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick. His lack of discipline resulted in his decisions to forcefully enter the ride-hailing service into cities that hadn’t accepted it, and later supported a culture of sexual harassment that nearly ran the company under. His decisions hurt Uber’s prospects so much that he was ousted from his own company.
There are many other traits an entrepreneur must have in order to forge a successful path for themselves, but the ones listed in the article below are those we consider the most necessary to keep a business on its feet. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted, but these traits are sure to make the path easier to navigate.
If you’re worried that you don’t possess some or all of these traits, you shouldn’t worry. Entrepreneurs are always learning and growing, and so can you. Consider getting a mentor to coach and guide you as you run your business.
Joe McLean is a business consultant at a leading hedge fund. He is an avid blogger who contributes part-time to a leading name providing essay writing service. He focuses on balancing valuable information related to business needs – but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read.