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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

More by this author

Chris Porteous

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

11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs Effective vs Efficient: What’s the Difference Regarding Productivity? Effective Employee Onboarding (The Complete Guide) 12 Effective Time Management Skills for Managers How to Start a Startup Fast: 5 Essential Steps

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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