Being an entrepreneur is hard by nature. There are certain characteristics that you will certainly fail without. In this article, we attempt to define eight that we’re sure must be possessed by everyone trying to make it on their own.
The wild world of business can be daunting. As such, you must be prepared for just about anything to happen – especially failure. Much of this article will focus not only on the aspects of a person who will succeed, but also on a mindset that is bound to succeed. Success isn’t only a matter of perception, after all. It’s measurable – in business, you can measure it by the health of your bank accounts. Adopting the right mindset and building the appropriate character for business will get you a long way, but there is always the issue of good and bad luck, as well as larger cycles like the economy at large.
There are probably times that any business will fail trying to start, just due to the nature of the economy.
Even during these times, though, a healthy mindset and a clear approach could yield success where others might fail.
If you want to succeed in business, you’re going to have to believe in yourself, your enterprise, and your industry. People will pick up on a negative attitude, and it will scare them off. You have to remain positive, even when things aren’t going well – even if they’re going awfully. The only way out of a bad situation is by envisioning a better one and getting to it. A negative attitude typically won’t help you do that.
Entrepreneurship involves failure, often enough, among other problems. The bottom line with working for yourself is sacrifice. Things that employees enjoy aren’t enjoyed by people who strike off on their own. You can’t be sure that just showing up will be enough anymore, and that can be stressful.
But you must remember why you’re here: to succeed on your own terms. That means that you’ll need to keep your chin up, even when things look bad. Which they will, often, especially if you’re the kind of person with high hopes for your enterprise.
If you want to succeed in business, you’re going to have to take risks, and you’re going to have make decisions – fast.
Often enough in business, you’ll find yourself making decisions that could have either disastrous consequences or amazing benefits – depending on the outcome of the decisions themselves. Being decisive in moments like those descried means that you’ll be able to see yourself through. Lacking the ability to simply pull the trigger and make a decision can have more negative side effects that occasionally making the wrong choice. Making the wrong choice, after all, has a benefit: you learn from the mistake. Not making a decision at all can mean that whatever the problem is might stick around longer than it has to.
To be an entrepreneur is already a daring exercise. Taking risks and making decisions is a big part of the job. You need to be sure that you’re up to the task, because in starting your own enterprise you will frequently be called upon to make important decisions.
So, you’ve decided what you want to do with your life, and you’re now taking a little risk to get there. You won’t actually know you’re all in until you’re perceptibly taking some losses, and the opportunity to quit presents itself. There are definitely times that quitting will seem easier. There are even times it will seem to make more sense than carrying on.
Yet, quitting on the way to your vision will never feel as good as seeing it through. Yes, you will struggle sometimes, but if you possess this vital quality – dedication – you should find within you the strength to carry on. The times when quitting truly seems like an option are the times you have to fall back on your dedication to the goal. Being goal-oriented certainly helps in this respect – the satisfaction of reaching a goal means different things to different people.
Simply staying independent, or remaining your own boss, can be a goal in and of itself. Other goals can include income-based goals, and goals regarding sales or client acquisition. As long as you’re going to be your own boss, you may as well challenge yourself. At the end of the day, you can’t necessarily fire yourself, so you’ll have to learn from your own mistakes. Keeping yourself actively focused on various improvements to the business overall will keep you building your enterprise and growing your bank roll.
You’re going to need to be ready for the changing tides. You can’t have a rigid personality, or approach to business, if you expect to succeed as an entrepreneur. One of the key elements of survival is an ability to adapt – and that requires a flexibility that many don’t possess out of the gate. You may be surprised, but you will have to learn to let things go. You’ll notice that small things will begin to matter less. When this starts happening, you’re on your way. Being flexible doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll give up on your goals.
You may be willing to change your goals, or adjust your expectations, based on certain realities. But another core part of winning as an entrepreneur is maintaining a strict discipline to achieve goals. All the same, troubles will come and go in business. You’ve got to be prepared to take them as they come, and jump the hurdles that present themselves.
While being flexible doesn’t mean being a pushover, it also doesn’t mean being too headstrong. If something needs changing, a willingness to change it can translate into either profits or savings, depending on how important it is to the business.
What works in one business may not work in another. True to form, what works in one location of the same business may not work in another. The only way to find out what will actually work is to get into the weeds and experiment.
5. Constant Learning
Going into business doesn’t mean you know everything out of the gate. In fact, it should mean that you’re out to learn, and to learn as much as possible. If you take the lessons of one day and roll them into the next, your business will probably thrive. Just trying the same things over and over again is bound to yield the same results. If your goal at the beginning was to yield better and better results, it makes no sense to continue using the same methods. Suppose you run a sale one day and it does reasonably well. You notice that certain items in the sale did better than others. The next day, you run a second sale, with only the items that did well the day before, this time more of them. Now you make even more money. This means you incorporated a lesson you picked up from the day before. It required you to learn from the experience of running the first sale.
Being willing to learn is a primary trait of the true entrepreneur, and maintaining your curiosity will take you far in business.
6. Responsible Management
No business is safe without good and responsible management. It’s vital that you manage your business like you would another person’s – with duty and care. Just because you’re in charge doesn’t mean you should let yourself get away with a lot of nonsense. When you’re at your place of business, be at work. When you’re away, be away. One thing that separates a good entrepreneur from a bad one is the ability to discipline and push themselves. Good entrepreneurs find it within themselves to keep on task, while failures often find it “hard to focus.”
You can make excuses for yourself, or you can find and do the work. There’s never a dull moment when you’re actually running your business. There’s always more to do – find new contracts, deliver work, collect money. Or in the case of a more standard type of business, figure out which products will sell and offer them more aggressively, and so forth.
Ensuring that the business gets attended to is the most important part of being your own boss. Otherwise, you will certainly fail. Even being good and responsible doesn’t necessarily, on its own, mean you will succeed.
In the end, it’s important to note, you can do everything right in business, and still fail.
7. Good Planning
You won’t do much of anything in business without a good plan. It’s really as simple as that.
To succeed, you need to have a clear path to the finish line. It doesn’t matter what sort of business you’re in – any kind of business will afford you the ability to make a plan for the future.
If you’re running a brick and mortar business, for example, you have to ask yourself what your ultimate goals are. Are you going to expand, and open more locations over time? If so, where will they be, and how much will they cost? What are the current barriers to get there?
Questions of this nature will have to be answered, and then a plan can be based on the data. If you’re running a service-based business, the task is perhaps a bit easier. You have to ensure that you’re utilizing the best tools. That’s the first and foremost rule of contracting – use the best tools.
For physical contracting, that often means renting the best tools. For digital workers, though, it means using decent hardware and employing the best software tools. Finding work effectively means employing the best websites dedicated to that purpose. To do this best, you’ve got to employ characteristic number 5 – and be a constant learner. The sites that will give you work today may not be the sites doing so tomorrow. Even then, you’ve got to have a clear plan to get to your desired income level, and then get there. Over time, as you become more experienced, with more work to show for yourself, you can demand more money.
With more money comes a greater standard of living, but eventually you also have more relying on you. In this respect, it’s important to consider the angles with every move, and to move carefully.
Finally, the last skill you’ll need in business: the ability to keep your friends and peers close.
There are definitely times you will need your network. Using business-based social networks like LinkedIn is one way to keep in touch with people you meet in business. Another, simpler way is to maintain your contacts book, and always save numbers when it makes sense to do so. Keeping a vast network of people will come in especially handy when you find yourself, for example, in need of work. If you’ve got 1,000 or more connections on a network like LinkedIn, then you may as well post that you’re looking for a certain type of work, and see what happens.
Being an entrepreneur means trying new things, as well. Have you thought of advertising? Reading a book on the subject, and other subjects which could have an impact on your business, should never be out of the question, either. You have to remain willing to do whatever it’s going to take to keep your business flying. In some cases, that will mean hard work. In others, it will mean pure luck. Often, it will mean severe risk.
Staying in business isn’t always merely a matter of doing everything right. It’s not a science. You can certainly do everything right and still fail, but most businesses can scrape by when everything is in order. Keeping the basics in order is a minimum demand you should make of yourself. Don’t mix up your books, keep your costs in reasonable control.
At the same time, you’ve got to enjoy the work. Keeping a large network of colleagues and friends can help you remember why you enjoy the work, as they share their experiences, and you share yours. This is the ideal reason to be at least somewhat skilled at networking.