Becoming an entrepreneur, and a successful one at that, is not an overnight journey. It takes hard work and perseverance because, unfortunately, there is no business-startup fairy who magically bestows success upon small businesses and their owners.
So, what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? There are hundreds of online articles and published books that claim to have deciphered the secrets of success in business. But, for the most part, they boil down to these 10 basic characteristics that most successful entrepreneurs share. Cultivating these attributes will go a long way in an entrepreneurial journey:
Love what you do. Half-heartedness in an entrepreneurial endeavor will chip away at your drive to succeed. Perseverance is the one thing that’s guaranteed to move anything over time, whether it’s a person, a job or an entire company.
Take baby steps
There are success stories about people who invested everything once and came out winners after a short period of time, but those are extremely rare. Jumping all in is rarely every successful. Risk management is a crucial factor in any startup, and balance is imperative. By taking smaller risks early on in a startup, you can absorb losses more easily. Those will provide essential and productive lessons.
Learn from others
Successful entrepreneurs are learners. They often worked for others in their field of choice before venturing out on their own. Spending a certain time in the industry under an excellent mentor, someone who is willing to teach, will provide a good launching pad. Learn from your predecessors’ mistakes and brainstorm about how to improve upon their model. Think about starting your business elsewhere when you leave.
Learn the art of self-promotion
Confidence and a good elevator speech can take any pitch to the next level. The first marketing any company experiences comes from its founder. Spend time learning how to share your vision without sounding “salesy”. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale, but remember: the client is always the focus.
Be on the move. Entrepreneurs can’t afford to evaluate every detail or they’d never get anywhere. Procrastination has no place in a startup. It’s a 24/7, no-vacation-or-sick-days kind of job that demands focus and constant forward momentum. Make a brief assessment at every step and move on it. Trust your guts.
Formulate a plan
Read about successful business. Take in the treasure trove of knowledge that’s been provided by successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs. A successful business plan does not have to be a book. A 10-page plan is digestible yet long enough to include everything you need to start.
Build a reputation
For most successful businesses, networking and referrals are both the least expensive and most effective forms of marketing. Reputation is the currency of networking and referrals. Whether it’s reviews and recommendations on websites such as Yelp and LinkedIn or the vaguer “Yeah, I’ve heard they’re great” of face-to-face conversation, a positive reputation is one of your most valuable business assets. According to Brandi Bennett at HostGator.com, maintaining a blog on a well-hosted website, or volunteering your time and skills, shows instead of tells the community, and thereby builds expertise and trust.
It’s never too late
Many successful entrepreneurs and celebrities failed in their early endeavors and many started later in life. Abraham Lincoln failed at most of his efforts in his life, but he never gave up. J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter and Sam Walton (Wal-Mart) all started their wildly successful brands after they were comfortably along in their lives. Having the experience that comes with age can give you a unique outlook on your business. Life experiences bring depth that the most educated young adult, by their nature, is less able to foresee.
Build your “A Team”
Finding the skill sets and attitudes that support the culture of the brand you want to promote will foster innovation and enhance your reputation. Include folks from outside the company for the people you rely on. That will start a free marketing chain reaction that can build confidence and revenue.
Success is all in the attitude
The attitude of the founder will set the tone for the business. Negativity, laziness, and entitlement waste time and money while they tarnish your reputation. Success mostly depends on making mistakes and accepting blame in stride. Owning up to and facing hardships head-on is what makes a mere business owner a leader.
While all the above-mentioned tips are essential to become a successful entrepreneur, it is equally important to take care of your mental and physical health because starting a business can (in most cases, it will) wreak a havoc on the owner’s personal life. Exercise, sleep, and diet play a central role in ensuring you implement these policies successfully. All of them drive attitude, motivation, and relationships.
Striking a balance make take a while, but working toward this list as a goal for starting your enterprise will make the difference. How an owner feels about progress and how quickly a business can be up and running will swiftly feel the impact.
This article is a reiteration of an article by Larry Alton for Entrepreneur. Click here to read the original article.