Have you ever wondered what separates highly successful entrepreneurs from everyone else? Not every entrepreneur achieves success, but those who do possess certain characteristics of entrepreneurship that help them on their journey toward success.
Here are 20 characteristics of entrepreneurship practiced by highly successful entrepreneurs. See how you match up and use what you have learned to level up your performance.
The first characteristic of entrepreneurship shared by successful entrepreneurs is creativity. By nature, entrepreneurs love to create. Whether this means using their talents to invent some never-before-seen gizmo or finding a better and more efficient way to do something, these individuals have an innate ability to tap into the power of the imagination to make life easier, more enjoyable, or more prosperous for those they serve.
Imagine having a deep burning love for something and wanting nothing more than to be surrounded by it every single day. To the regular onlooker, it may only be a casual service or simple product, but to the entrepreneur, it has become an integral part of life. Their first thoughts in the morning are about the “work” they will do that day and they go to bed thinking about ways to improve the following day.
Highly successful entrepreneurs do not even view their business as work in the traditional sense, hence, finding the word in quotations above. They love what they do. It is no longer work. It is fun. It is life. It has become a part of who they are at their very core. There is never a dull moment when you do what you love every single day.
Another characteristic of entrepreneurship is confidence. In many cases, especially with service-based businesses and solopreneurs, the individual is the brand. Regardless of industry, it takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there every day.
Consider these names: Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Martha Stewart. All have enjoyed incredible amounts of success. Each has received tremendous praise for their respective works.
But it isn’t always praise and accolades. These business moguls have also received their fair share of criticisms and hardships, especially earlier in their careers. Despite the many early struggles and conflicts, they kept going forward, and only after years of hard work were these leaders able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. If these individuals failed to have confidence in themselves and their ability, they might have given up and we would never have heard their names.
In general, entrepreneurs are go-getters and achievers. Those that are highly successful epitomize this character trait. They are thinking big ideas, setting things in motion, and trying to make life better for those they serve. But they also realize that the only way their ideas will come to life is if they do the work to make it happen.
Highly successful entrepreneurs have a burning desire to get results and they can utilize specific drivers to keep going the extra mile. They do not require a cheering section to stay energized. These individuals allow their purpose and passion to fuel their actions until they claim victory.
Far too many entrepreneurs spend too much time worrying about the company’s well being and too little time looking after their own health. It may seem obvious, but failing to take care of your body and mind through a wholesome self-discipline will surely be your downfall sooner rather than later.
The human body can only deal with so much stress, and the long hours that most entrepreneurs work will inevitably be their undoing unless some downtime is scheduled in.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with self-management techniques which can enable you to make the most out of both your downtime and productive hours. Take caution not to approach your personal downtime like a business endeavor, however. Far too many entrepreneurs don’t know how to go into “off mode,” and refuse to gain the wholesome self-discipline sometimes required to force yourself to take a break.
Remember that too much stress can destroy your abilities to make it as a successful entrepreneur, and soon you’ll be approaching self-management with a new appreciation for its importance.
For many entrepreneurs, life is a take-it-as-it-comes adventure, wherein they roll with the punches instead of planning things out well-ahead of time. This is a dangerous path to tread, as countless business endeavors have failed due to a lack of foresight.
Furthermore, rapid changes to the market conditions you’re operating in can seldom be weathered without ample preparation. So focusing on your organizational skills now will surely help you later down the line.
Nevertheless, most entrepreneurs struggle with honing their organizational talents because they’re so caught up in the daily grind of running their company from the big-picture perspective, which seldom if ever permits you to plan the nitty-gritty details of your commercial future. That’s why it’s important to set some time aside for planning purposes or consider hiring an assistant to help you manage your hectic schedule.
Hiring someone to keep track of your calendar, meetings, and other crucial deadlines isn’t always easy for entrepreneurs trying to cut down on the operational costs of doing business, yet having a dedicated professional help you bolster your organizational talents will pay off in the long run.
You won’t be able to model the way for your employees without adequate organizational skills, so don’t let them fall on the backburner as you seek commercial success.
A defining characteristic of entrepreneurship that all highly successful entrepreneurs share is the ability to see with vision, not just sight. This means being able to peer into the future and clearly visualize what will be, seeing it in the mind as if it were already a reality.
Just as the master mason can visualize the magnificent cathedral while standing in front of blocks of stone or the artist who can see the beautiful portrait before the first brushstroke, the visionary entrepreneur can realize the profound impact of their work long before it comes to fruition.
Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of focusing on their goals. They know how to set proper goals and they can channel their attention and efforts towards attaining them. This characteristic is not exclusive to entrepreneurship, all endeavors require you to be goal-oriented to be successful.
Every day we are bombarded by countless shiny objects and distractions trying to steal our attention. These entrepreneurs know how to avoid distractions and have mastered the self-management skills needed to be productive and get things done. When you are the business owner, achieving company goals is a primary responsibility. Realize that nobody is going to do it for you. If you want to succeed, then you must be willing to put the necessary attention and energy towards achieving your company’s goals.
9. Specialized Knowledge of Product or Service
Stepping into the world of entrepreneurship means making the conscious decision to making your business the main part of your life experience. Successful entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of simply clocking in and clocking out each day, nor do they want to. To have a prosperous business, it is important to have specialized knowledge in your given area of expertise.
The most successful entrepreneurs immerse themselves in industry news to further their understanding, stay on top of trends, and get the edge over competitors. These leaders are always learning so that they can be of greater service and higher value to their customers.
Going into business for yourself is a risky undertaking because there are no guarantees. Even if your business is just a side hustle right now, there is a great investment of time, money, and resources that can strain personal and family relationships.
Despite the possible risks, entrepreneurs are willing to stay the course because they know that the potential for reward is that much greater. Some entrepreneurs even regard this as a thrilling experience in the way a rock climber might scale the side of a mountain.
Many people dread being forced to make an important decision. After all, what if you mess up and the consequences of your poor choice continue to haunt you for years to come?
While it’s perfectly natural to fear making a crucial mistake whenever a major decision must be made, entrepreneurs who find themselves incapable of being decisive when it counts the most are inevitably leading their business towards failure.
As the leader of the enterprise, it’s your role to make the tough calls when the budget starts dwindling and the deadline starts approaching. Some things can and should be delegated to others, but when it comes to being a decisive leader, all would-be entrepreneurs need to stand up and learn how to be decisive.
Entrepreneurs have a desire to solve problems. They know that people have pain points and struggle in certain areas of life and are looking for solutions. It is a deep level of curiosity that helps entrepreneurs find these valuable solutions.
In addition to solving problems, entrepreneurs also want to help find better ways of doing things and design more effective methods that yield greater results. They study how things work and then dream up ways to improve them.
A few years ago, if you wanted to rent a movie then you had to get into your car and drive down to the local Blockbuster to pick one out. But then, a few folks got curious and wondered if there was a better way to rent movies. Netflix was born, and the rest is history.
As noted above, there can be many uncertainties in business, so entrepreneurs need to be flexible in their approach.
Famed success author Zig Ziglar said,
“Be firm on principles but flexible on methods.”
Essentially, while it is important to be firm on what we want, we should also be flexible with how we attain it. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to adjust the course, take a detour, or try various approaches to find the best way to move forward.
SmallBizTrends found that only 80% of all small businesses started in 2014 made it to their second year. This rate continued to decrease dramatically in those early foundation years and dropped to a staggering 56% survival rate by year five. Considering these statistics, it is evident that there is no guarantee for business survival let alone achieving massive success.
Knowing that the odds are against them, how do the biggest achievers maintain such a high level of optimism? Whether innate or learned behavior, winners know that having an optimistic outlook will bring more opportunities and take them further than drudging in pessimism. They believe that things will work in their favor because they are confident in their skills and trust that they have the ability and resources needed to overcome obstacles that come before them.
15. Analytical Problem Solving
Far too many entrepreneurs dismiss the importance of analytical problem solving because they mistakenly believe that crunching the numbers is best left to someone else. True entrepreneurs, so this logic goes, focus on big-picture scenarios and don’t allow themselves to get bogged down crunching the numbers.
In reality, however, analytical problem solving is a key characteristic of the successful entrepreneur because we now live in a data-driven age where collecting and analyzing tidbits of information is an essential part of most commercial activities.
Whether you’re selling insurance, designing new software, or working in a myriad of other sectors, having analytical problem solving skills will help you make sense of the ever-growing flurry of numbers that pervades the business world. With big data analytics becoming an ingrained part of the market, these analytical skills will only grow more and more important towards the long-term wellbeing of your entrepreneurial pursuits.
Yes, even entrepreneurs need analytics, so don’t shun that which you don’t understand if you want to earn a profit someday.
Most businesses don’t start out because people want to turn the world into a better place, but rather, in the pursuit of profit so that you can earn an honest living for yourself.
For many entrepreneurs, honorable intentions and helping people must come second to profits because a failure to earn a buck means bankruptcy and an inability to help anyone ever again.
Nevertheless, it’s important that you don’t allow profit motives to consume your entire entrepreneurial personality, as those business leaders who find success most easily are empathetic and capable of connecting with people on a deep, emotional levels.
Empathy is worth speaking at length about, because it’s something that most entrepreneurs lack. By honing your empathic abilities and opening yourself up to the experiences of others, you’ll quickly find an ability to cultivate deep employee loyalty to your commercial cause. Furthermore, your workers will understand that they can approach you as a friendly source of inspiration when they’re down rather than treating you as a harsh boss to be avoided whenever there’s bad news.
Genuine empathy is good for business because it humanizes your otherwise robotic commercial operations and gives customers, workers, and investors alike plenty of reasons to have confidence in your leadership abilities.
If you’re struggling to lure in new customers, your inability to exercise empathy could be the root cause of your issue. Given that so many entrepreneurs struggle with empathy, making it a key characteristic of your personality is a fantastic way to stand apart in the marketplace while luring in the best and brightest of workers.