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15 Completely Vital Entrepreneurial Qualities

15 Completely Vital Entrepreneurial Qualities

Many, if not all, of us would much rather work for ourselves than someone else. However, being your own boss and sustaining your own business or products, is a challenge not all of us are ready to face. So, what does it take to truly stand out and be successful? Many current entrepreneurs have plenty to say on the topic, and others simply live by the habits one needs. To get an idea for the qualities you could cultivate, we gathered 15 absolutely indispensable entrepreneurial qualities.

You Have Passion

Passion is easily the most common of the entrepreneurial qualities. Whether you start off rich or poor, educated or not, every business leader must be passionate. Even if you’re starting off in an area you feel is not your calling, it is crucial you follow through with your goals with passion. Take Cameron Johnson for example, a multimillionaire entrepreneur who made his money creating websites.

“I realized after the printing business, as I moved on to other businesses, that it was a real passion of mine and I knew it’d guide me in life”, he says. Embarking on being an entrepreneur in any business will involve incredible levels of competition, and passion is often a deciding factor in pulling ahead. 

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    You Work Hard. Very Hard.

    Plain and simple, hard work is another completely pivotal ingredient to true success. While some breakthroughs might require timing or well informed decisions, nearly every challenge you face as an entrepreneur will require hard work. Don’t be afraid to truly immerse yourself in your goals, and get your hands dirty.

    You Are Confident

    Along the way to success, you are undoubtedly going to run into naysayers. Regardless of how intellectual or persistent your detractors are, an entrepreneur keeps going. Even if there are bumps along the road, confidence in an idea is among the crucial entrepreneurial qualities.

    You Persevere

    Hand in hand with confidence is perseverance. Another indispensable entrepreneurial quality, an entrepreneur must persevere under all conditions. Challenges are sure to arise on your way to success, but the ability to overcome them will set you apart from the rest. Entrepreneur Jan Koum, for example, is best known as the creator of WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. Jan created the app at age 33, but first had to overcome a childhood of scarcity in the Ukraine. Additionally, after going to university, Jan was rejected from working for Facebook, shortly before creating WhatsApp. This is proof that working through difficult circumstances often comes immediately before success.

    You Keep Your Mind Open

    If you are looking to cultivate entrepreneurial qualities, another necessary one is open-mindedness. Often times, entrepreneurs’ most successful ventures come from unexpected sources. As an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to look outside the box.

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      You Have Courage

      Sometime the challenges entrepreneurs face are downright terrifying. In order to succeed in an uneven, ever-changing atmosphere, entrepreneurs must be able to pursue good ideas and decisions, even when their gut screams no. Being able to overcome fear is a sometimes daily skill an entrepreneur must use.

      You Are A Forward Thinker

      Much like keeping your mind open, another crucial entrepreneurial quality is forward thinking. To be successful as a leader, one must pursue ideas that bring them into the future. Once a need is obvious, other businesses will be eager to fill it. By thinking into the future, entrepreneurs identify opportunities before others. Self-made mogul Jessica Huie, for example, felt typical card companies ignored racial diversity. She created a card company to fill the gap, and quickly found success. By identifying a need others didn’t see, Jessica moved forward. In pursuing opportunities first, an entrepreneur can start a step ahead of competitors.

      You Ask For What You Want

      Whether it’s an improved contract or a start up investment, entrepreneurs eagerly go after what they want. Don’t wait around for others to show interest in your ventures, entrepreneurs go after what they need. An entrepreneur must know what will drive their business forward, and actively pursue it. As an entrepreneur, by simply asking for what you want, you will be more likely to find it.

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        Vision

        Along with being forward thinking, entrepreneurs tend to have a strong vision. By knowing what you want, from beginning to end, you will be better able to break your venture down into achievable steps. Having a strong vision will also help inspire the people who partner with you and work for you. Just as crucial to a business’s success as a leader who knows where they’re going, are employees who eagerly pursue the dream too. Vision, and committing to your vision, are important entrepreneurial qualities.

        You Are Flexible

        Flexibility is another crucial entrepreneurial quality. As anyone knows, things don’t always go as planned. This is especially true in business, as leaders and entrepreneurs must be able to adapt. When something unexpected throws a wrench in your venture, an entrepreneur is responsible for getting things back on track. If you are willing to compromise and quickly adapt to new situations, you will be more likely to keep small bumps in the road small, instead of growing them into failures.

        You Can Throw Out the Rule Book

        While learning the rules is often the first step in becoming an expert, a successful entrepreneur knows when to break them too. A healthy disregard for the rules can sometimes make the difference between success and failure. Colin Thornton, a South African entrepreneur, started his successful company after dropping out of post-secondary school. Colin didn’t let leaving school hold him down however, and is now worth around $10 million. By ignoring the right rules when the time comes, you may be in a more advantageous position.

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        You Are An Expert At Money Management

        No business or venture can be successful if more money is spent than earned. It’s absolutely necessary then, that an entrepreneur can manage money well. Especially if an entrepreneur is starting out with little funding, it’s likely a professional accountant will be too expensive. If you’re trying to improve your entrepreneurial skills, money management is a necessary key.

        You Study 

        It doesn’t matter if you are formally educated or not, an entrepreneur never stops learning. The better a person is informed, the better their ability to make strategic decisions. Whether you feel knowledgeable about your venture or not, new developments happen every day. Keeping utterly up-to-date on new techniques and competition is often the difference between moving forward and falling behind. Studying is another one of the crucial entrepreneurial qualities.

        You Immerse Yourself in New Technology

        Oftentimes, the best entrepreneurial opportunities lie in emerging markets, where there is less competition. Pulling ahead of the pack is often best achieved by concerning yourself with new technology. No matter the industry an entrepreneur pursues, there is undoubtedly new ways of doing things. Experiment with new technologies to deliver your business to your customers if you want to gain an edge. 

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          You Are Ambitious

          Ambition is another essential entrepreneurial quality. Not only will ambition bring you new opportunities, ambition is crucial for overcoming challenges. If you don’t have established goals as an entrepreneur, you are more likely to grow comfortable and settle for surviving, instead of thriving. Ambition is an entrepreneurial quality that provides momentum to your ideas and passion. Let your drive move you forward, and there’s no telling what you can achieve.

          Featured photo credit: Philippe Put via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on December 5, 2018

          How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

          How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

          Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

          We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

          How do they do it?

          By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

          1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

          There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

          If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

          2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

          Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

          According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

          Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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          3. Demand Learning from Your Team

          CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

          “The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

          His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

          Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

          “We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

          Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

          4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

          Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

          Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

          • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
          • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
          • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
          • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
          • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
          • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

          5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

          Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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          Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

          • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
          • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
          • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
          • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
          • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

            “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

          Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

          6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

          The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

          Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

          You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

          7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

          Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

          But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

          On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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          • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
          • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
          • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
          • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

          8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

          Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

          When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

          9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

          The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

          What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

          Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

          10. Empower Your Employees

          Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

          They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

          Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

          You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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          If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

          11. Nurture Your Company Culture

          Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

          Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

          However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

          Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

          Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

          Be a Leader, Not a Boss

          Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

          However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

          In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

          Reference

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