Great entrepreneurs are made, not born. Sure, a few are blessed with ridiculous talent and/or luck, but for the rest of us, talent just isn’t enough.
So in case you’re wondering, like we were, about the traits and qualities most successful entrepreneurs share, here’s our list of entrepreneur “must-haves,” “should-haves”, and some “big pluses”…
- Integrity: Do you follow through on what you say you’re going to do? Do you thoughtfully consider what’s right and wrong, and always choose the right thing? How about when no one is watching?
- Initiative: Passivity doesn’t work in the world of business. You need energy and motivation to get the job done. Do you seek out new opportunities? Do you face new challenges with fear or with initiative?
- Intelligence: Knowledge matters, but being a master in your industry isn’t enough. You need emotional intelligence. Are you able to control your emotions? Do you practice empathy?
- Confidence: Showing that you’re comfortable in your own skin makes other people want to be around you, listen to what you have to say, and follow your lead. Especially when it comes to your product or service: Are you bold, fearless, and upbeat?
- Coachability: At Supportedly, we’re big on always handing the microphone to the expert in the room. Spoiler alert: It’s not always you. Do people perceive you as a know-it-all, or as someone who’s willing to learn?
- Communication: Always be clear, concise, and err on the side of over-communication. Also, treat communication like the two-way street it is. Are you professional in your communication with others? Are you open to receiving constructive criticism?
The Big Pluses
- Humility: Failure, in some form, is inevitable in business. It not only humbles you, turning bravado into experience, it can also be your best teacher as an entrepreneur, helping to inform your future successes. Are you learning from your mistakes and then moving forward?
- Agility: Reacting deftly and confidently to challenges and opportunities makes all the difference when it comes to entrepreneurship. (We think this relates back to identifying your highest and best use!) When a problem arises, do you get bogged down easily, or do you identify and execute on a solution (and delegate if necessary)?
- Steadfastness: No matter what problems arise (and there will be problems!), it’s important to stay focused on your goals and remain firmly committed to your company’s mission or purpose. Are you perceived by others as reliable and unwavering?
If you’re considering starting a business, viewing yourself through this lens can provide plenty of valuable insight into how suited you are to the job.
But what if you don’t have all of these traits?
No worries. Most entrepreneurs don’t. Not at first, anyway. Consider using this as a guide to show you where to focus your attention and what to practice on your path to becoming a great entrepreneur.
Looking back through the above list, write down one trait you can improve on from each category. Then, underneath each trait, write down one thing you can do today to strengthen that trait in your own life.