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Last Updated on May 28, 2019

10 Key Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

Countless millions dream of one day achieving their commercial dreams by making it as a successful entrepreneur, yet most people who foray into the business world for the first time often do so without adequate preparation.

Despite the many allures of becoming a successful entrepreneur, you’ll have many hurdles to surmount before you can claim victory. And entering into the market without doing your homework is a surefire way to doom your prospects before you even really get started.

So, what do you need to make it as an entrepreneur in a tight market? And why do so many fledgling business gurus fail to achieve their dreams?

Here are 10 key characteristics of an entrepreneur to review before starting your own company:

1. Organizational Skills Are Key

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.

2. An Innovative Mindset Is Mandatory

Some entrepreneurs who think their organizational skills are highly refined may be breathing easy, but the truth of the matter is that, there are other key characteristics you’ll need to possess if you want to succeed, too, such as an innovative mindset.

Being able to foresee and tap into disruptive changes which are hurtling your way is more important now than ever before, especially since digital technology has rendered virtually every industry ripe for operational overhauls. Whether you’re a small business, budding corporate empire, or small time crafts shop, there’s a good chance innovation is heading your way for better or for worse.

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It’s thus imperative to master the art of appealing to emotions[1] in an effort to help your ideas cut through the noise and receive the attention they deserve.

An innovative mindset is insufficient in and of itself unless you have the savviness to pass off your innovative ideas as being desperately needed. So spend some time honing your appealability if you want innovation to be a friend rather than a foe. This is why it’s also crucial to focus on…

3. Empathy for Everyone

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.[2]

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.

4. Interpersonal Communication Skills

You don’t have to be a business mastermind to understand that a strong communicative arsenal is needed to survive and thrive for long in the cutthroat commercial marketplace. What too few entrepreneurs realize, however, is that some forms of communication are more valuable than others, and that interpersonal communication must rise above all else if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Interpersonal communication is face-to-face communication, which is crucial to remember. There’s such thing as technologically intermediated interpersonal communication, wherein you’re talking face-to-face over video services, but the real deal entails you and the person you’re communicating with seeing one another in the flesh.

Entrepreneurs who don’t actively labor to refine their interpersonal communication skills will find themselves struggling to succeed in a number of crucial commercial areas, not least of which include employee recruitment and retention.

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You may think your employees are dreading a face-to-face sit down with the boss, but the truth of the matter is that human beings need human contact if they’re to remain happy, healthy, and productive. Introducing yourself to your workers in a normal human fashion and frequently engaging them in a face-to-face manner will bolster your personal ties while making it easier for you to read body language and other important cues that are lost in the midst of tech-intermediated communication.

In other words, try to remember that digital communication skills aren’t the only thing that matters.

5. Self-Discipline and Management Skills

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.

6. You Must Be an Avid Reader

Lots of struggling business owners laugh at the idea of reading books in their downtime, mostly because it’s a time-consuming process that takes them away from their commercial pursuits. Even those who would love to pick up a book every now and again confess that the hectic nature of their daily schedules often prevents them from turning the pages of their favorite novel, magazine, or short story.

It’s nevertheless imperative for entrepreneurs who want to achieve success to read as often as possible, as a voracious appetite for the literary word is one of the common denominators of success in any walk of life.

There are two major reasons to read more in your everyday life: the first is that it will broaden your horizons by introducing you to new and exciting perspectives, and the second is that it will likely increase your overall lifetime earnings.

While most people understand that reading makes you more intelligent, few of them appreciate the extent to which bookworms out-earn their non-reading colleagues. An extensive study found that boys who were surrounded by books from a young age grew up to become men who earned more, on average, than their peers who didn’t have such robust literary roots.[3]

Besides bolstering your paycheck or accounts on bitcoin, becoming a bookworm will also help you hone your writing skills and ability to analyze complex texts. What’s more, reading is incredibly cheap and easy; with a free library card being the only thing you need to enjoy what’s essentially a limitless volume of classical texts and modern marvels of the literary world.

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Finally, books just make you appear smarter than the average bear, and those who have a hefty leather companion tucked under their arm give off an intelligent vibe. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, start bringing a book with you wherever you roam.

7. Learn How to Delegate

Another key characteristic of entrepreneurial success is the ability to delegate, as even the savviest business owners can’t do everything by themselves.

If you’re incapable of learning the hidden talents of your employees so that you can delegate specialty work to them when the need arises, you’ll fail to ever maximize the potential of your workforce, something all successful business owners must do sooner or later.

Delegating isn’t always easy for entrepreneurs, especially those who started from the bottom by themselves before clawing their way to the top of the dogpile. But a failure to let someone else take control every now and then can lead to stress-related burnout.

Avoiding burnout is essential if you want to make it as a business leader, as there won’t be anyone else ready to take the reins of your company if you suddenly find yourself overworked and incapable of leading.

Learn how to cultivate talented workers and turn them into clever managers, and your job as an entrepreneur will be much easier than if you tried to do everything yourself.

Take a look at this guide and learn how to delegate: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Being Decisive Is Key

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.

These tips can help you make better decisions: 5 Tips for Lightning-Fast Decision Making

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9. 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,[4] so don’t shun that which you don’t understand if you want to earn a profit someday.

10. Eagerness and Spirit

Finally, entrepreneurs can’t discount the importance of eagerness and sound spirit when it comes to pursuing commercial success. As the entrepreneur, an important part of your job is to inspire others and lead the way by example, so having a spring in your step everywhere you go is important.

It’s not always easy to smile when the world around you is full of misery, or when new business hurdles. But remaining optimistic in the face of adversity is the quintessential characteristic of any successful entrepreneur.

Don’t let temporary setbacks put you permanently behind. Eagerness and high spirits are often the last weapons to which entrepreneurs resort to in their darkest hours, yet remaining confident and bold at all times is the real key to success.

Whether things are looking sunny or sour, a positive disposition will carry you far in the commercial arena while inspiring your employees to take heart and keep working their hardest.

The Bottom Line

Entrepreneurs must be self-disciplined, flexible, and capable of relying on others when it’s necessary to delegate. Above all else, however, the key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is an ability to roll with the punches without ever losing the smile on your face.

More Articles About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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Chris Porteous

The CEO of Grey Smoke Media / My SEO Sucks, helping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide) 11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs 12 Effective Time Management Skills for Managers How to Start a Startup Fast: 5 Essential Steps 10 Key Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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