You have made the big decision that you want to start your own business. Congratulations and let me offer up my sympathies at the same time. It’s an exciting and freeing choice be in that moment. You feel independent, like you are taking charge of your life, and in some ways you are but you are also in for the biggest education of your life and also a roller coaster of ups and downs. Don’t let me scare you, rather let me prepare you instead. Entrepreneurs are a different breed. Are you part of that breed? Do you possess the qualities that every successful entrepreneur has? If you identify with the likes of Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Martha Stewart or Sara Blakely, you might have what it takes to succeed in business. Here are 11 traits that all successful entrepreneurs possess:
1. PASSION – Passion for what your doing. Do you believe in your idea? How did you come up with it? Most business owners had a passion for the way their business was created. Either it was a family business, or the idea was created out of a need, or a personal experience. Your passion and your love for your idea is what is going to get your through the tough times because there will be more tough times than good times, at least for the first few years.
2. GUTS – If you quit your job to start your own business, consider it done. You have guts because that’s a scary decision to make especially if your job was a stable and well paying one. I have known many fellow entrepreneurs’ that have done just that. You look at them with admiration and bewilderment at the same time. If you have done this, you might just be crazy enough to be able to pull it off so Kudo’s to you!
3. SEE THE SILVER LINING – You must possess the ability to see the silver lining in all situations. This is a must have quality. Debbie Downer didn’t write Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling did while she was raising a child by herself and living on governmental benefits.
4. PERSEVERANCE – By definition means to be steadfast in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Most people will quit when things get tough. It’s easier to quit than to carry on under unfavorable conditions. If you do not have this quality, you won’t survive the hard times.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS – The best of business ideas were made on instinct. Its great to have advisors, but the decisions will always need to be made by you. Get used to relying on your gut feelings rather than listening to everyone and their uncle for advice. Those will be the best decisions you will ever make.
6. BE A GOOD PROBLEM SOLVER – If you find yourself always searching for answers, than this is you. As the big chief, you will constantly either be putting out fires or learning how to prevent them. When you are running a staff, there will inevitably be problems so be prepared to have the book of answers with you at all times.
7. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GREAT MENTORS – This one I cannot stress enough to you. Find business owners that have been successful in their own businesses and have the experience that you might lack to help you. Being around your peers is essential to your success. Confiding in friends and people who have no idea what your going through or lack any experience will surely end up in disaster.
8. LEARN HOW TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHERS – In the start up community this is vital. Most start ups actually started sitting around a table of some sort just blurting out ideas. The late Steve Jobs said that even in the later years of Apple, his team would collaborate and work on ideas rather than him dictating as a hierarchy. Giving people in your business the ability to contribute and make decisions will not only strengthen your business but allow it to grow in ways that you could never imagine. It takes a village to raise a child but it takes a country to start a business.
9. BE A GREAT NETWORKER Shameless self promotion. Get used to it. You are your own best billboard and no one can sell your business or idea better than you. Your passion will shine through as you speak of your product and that is what will make it sell and make people believe.
10. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE – I never knew exactly what this saying meant until I started my own business. I am now 100% clear on what this means. The ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in someone. Easier said than done, however there will be a lot of waiting that goes along with starting your own business so be ready to watch the grass grow.
11. DON’T HAVE A PLAN B – If you truly believe in your idea and think you have what it takes to make it work then don’t have a PLAN B. Why? Because it distracts from PLAN A. Don’t even associate yourself with people that ask you if you have a PLAN B. Do not entertain any thought of your business not working. Make it work. Figure everything out. Do your research and plan accordingly. Plan B’s are safety nets and I have never known a successful person that has ever had one.