It's a common debate amongst entrepreneurs "“ are they born or made? Regardless of the answer to this age old question (I believe it's a bit of both) there's a set of character traits that all successful entrepreneurs share in common.
As the chair of over 28 companies, I've had my fair share of entrepreneurial ventures, both negative and positive, which helped me to identify the traits I needed to be successful. Fortunately, many of these skills can be practiced and perfected.
From my observations, all successful entrepreneurs possess the following 6 character traits:
As an entrepreneur, being confident in yourself, your business, and your abilities as a leader is one of the most important qualities you can have.
People are going to constantly tell you that you can't achieve your dreams and you need to have the confidence to repel those doubts.
Having confidence also means having a good sense of self; you must be sure of yourself and know your worth, because the life of an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. You also need be able to stick to your morals and value set, because people can (and will) try to talk you out of whatever is best for your business and into whatever is best for them.
Obviously, entrepreneurs need to be passionate about what they're doing, or else they wouldn't start a business. However, all too often people become an entrepreneur for the wrong reasons "“ for the money, which realistically, they won't be seeing for a while.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be passionate about the work you are doing and have the sense that you are working towards a greater good. It's also helpful to focus on adding value "“ to be as valuable as they positively can be at any given time, and having this mindset will create success.
I didn't get involved in sustainable aquaculture to make money, although it certainly was a factor, but I did it to make a difference.
Many people have romantic ideas about entrepreneurialism and becoming the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but it's not easy starting a company. And when hard times come, it's the passion, not the money that will get you through.
Many entrepreneurs don't have a formal education and attribute much of their success to their intuition, or "gut feeling."
I got my MBA after I was already a successful business person and I must say, when I have a gut feeling about a business decision or a person, I'm usually right.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to learn to trust your intuition. Find loyal people that work well with you, for you, and cut the people that are bringing your business down.
The ability to trust your instincts and to cut one's losses is an important, but deeply undervalued character trait that all entrepreneurs should possess.
Being an entrepreneur is daunting and you need to be so determined to succeed, that there isn't a chance in the world that you could fail.
When I was first starting out in my 20’s, I was working in two different time zones. Working around the clock isn't exactly appealing to any age group (let alone 20 somethings), but I set out on the path that led me to where I am now.
You've got to be determined and have the resilience to get knocked down, get back up, and try something else.
As I've said before, fear has no place in business! Entrepreneurs need to be absolutely fearless in their ventures in order to succeed. Never operate from a place of fear, as it will not end well.
A little fear is natural in the beginning, but there must come a point where the entrepreneur overcomes fear and is motivated by the endless possibilities within reach.
And if you fail? Well that leads to my next point.
Finally, successful entrepreneurs need to be flexible. You must be prepared to change course if that's where the market is going, and be agile in your pursuit of success. Have the ability to overcome obstacles, and failures, because none of us knows where life will take us.
There you have it "“ the 6 character traits that I think make for a successful entrepreneur. Do you think I covered them all? Comment below and let me know.
And if this has got you thinking about starting a company, but you're in need of a little more guidance, read my top 10 tips for first time entrepreneurs.