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5 Important Traits Needed to be a Successful Entrepreneur


Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was some secret formula to business success? A tweak to a business strategy here, a change to a management style there, and voila! - you can enjoy sustainable growth and increased revenue.

Of course, as much as we may wish that it was that simple, we know that success in business is virtually never the result of a single, decisive factor that overshadows every other consideration. Instead, effective entrepreneurs have to put in long hours of work, and wear many different hats, to start and then maintain a successful business.

However, research, experience, and common sense all tell us that there are certain traits that play a key role in determining whether an entrepreneur, independent contractor, or otherwise self-employed individual will enjoy sustainable success in his business endeavor. This article will examine 5 of these important traits which are so vital to an entrepreneur's success.

​1. Passion

Why is passion so important for an entrepreneur? Passion for a certain business, for a product, or even for the freedom that self-employment offers is what drives an entrepreneur to persevere through the bad times and seize each opportunity for growth during the good times.

While logic is an essential aspect of good decision making, it must be balanced with passion in order to motivate your team, refocus on core values, and attract prospective customers to your brand.

Passion for success, and a fear of ultimate failure, may even cause you to step outside of your comfort zone, to the benefit of your business. For example, what if you see the value in promoting your brand through public speaking or writing? While these may not be particularly enjoyable activities for you, your passion to succeed might drive you to take that leap, with an unexpected level of success as the result.

2. Discipline

An orderly, disciplined approach to business is absolutely essential, especially for entrepreneurs overseeing new businesses or startup companies. It's just a fact of life that we have to prioritize what's truly important to us. This holds true in our personal lives, and also for our businesses.

Resources are typically limited, particularly for newer businesses. For example, compensation survey administrator PayScale reported several years ago that "small business owners with more than 10 years experience ... earn upwards of $105,757 per year." In contrast, small business owners with 1 year or less of experience earn a median income of about $55,000 per year; some more, some less. It stands to reason that newer entrepreneurs need to be highly disciplined with their allocation of resources.

As an example, a new restaurant owner may face this choice: "Should our menu offer a wide variety of options to attract customers with different tastes, or should I limit the number of items to ensure a consistent, quality experience for each customer that does come in? What will my current resources allow me to do?" In this instance, and in many others, a disciplined approach and a keen awareness of present limits are so important for continued success.

3. Adaptability

Circumstances can change in the blink of an eye. It's important that an entrepreneur isn't confined to rigid, inflexible guidelines, but instead has the ability to adapt to new and unexpected situations. What are some potential scenarios in which adaptability could play a key role?

  • Perhaps there is an upcoming special event in your local community. Even if you already have established advertising processes in place, could you use this event as a promotional opportunity?

  • Would the addition of more employees allow you to expand your current product selection, and grow your customer base? For example, in the above-mentioned scenario with the restaurant owner, would the acquisition of 2 new chefs make it easier to comfortably expand the menu to include a wider range of items?

  • Technology standards are constantly shifting. What was cutting edge today is obsolete tomorrow. Is your implementation of technology up-to-date, convenient for your customers, and adding real value to your business?

In this fast-moving business world, keeping an open mind to the limitless possibilities available to grow your brand is a critical aspect of successful entrepreneurship.

4. Resilience


While the journey of owning your own business can be a rewarding one, there are bound to be some trips and stumbles along the way. A determined, resilient spirit is so important for an entrepreneur to keep focused during those difficult times.

Moreover, entrepreneurs often use mistakes and failures as priceless learning opportunities. Sometimes the deepest insights are gleaned from what seems to be an entrepreneur's or a company's darkest hour.

Thomas Edison famously remarked about his 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb: "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps." Successful entrepreneurs share that same attitude towards inevitable missteps.

5. Communicativeness

Yes, "communicativeness" is an actual word. It refers to "the quality of being willing, eager, or able to talk or impart information." The ability to effectively and persuasively communicate with others is essential to starting and maintaining any long-term business endeavor.

Interestingly, some studies have indicated that certain personality types which tend towards strong communication skills frequently enjoy more success in terms of business and finance than other types. While these studies are by no means conclusive, it is clear that cultivating communication skills such as clarity and conciseness, along with more generalized interpersonal skills such as friendliness and politeness, typically lead to better outcomes.

For instance, a willingness to listen to a customer complaint, respectfully acknowledge the customer's feelings, and then follow through with appropriate action can often change a disgruntled customer into a loyal client. Clearly and patiently training employees can lead to increased morale and better customer service.

In the final analysis, good communicators are very often excellent entrepreneurs.

While there is no secret formula to achieving sustainable business growth, if you put effort into cultivating these 5 traits of successful entrepreneurs, then you'll be that much closer to your ultimate business goals.