Data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics show that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years.
Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
Despite this, thousands of businesses get launched every year.
How are that 25% of businesses able to make it?
What are some qualities that they all share which set them apart from the crowd?
Because success in entrepreneurship isn’t just about your great idea, your million followers, and your money.
In the end, it always comes down to your personality, your approach to life, and your attitude towards success and failure.
Successful entrepreneurs have found to have a couple of personality attributes in common. They are confident and innovative. They are flexible and opportunists. They think outside the box and are open to change.
I have narrowed the traits down to the best 10. If you develop these ten qualities, you will certainly put yourself on the path to success (if you prefer to learn by video, I discuss the top 5 below).
#1. Visionary and willing to think outside the box (Destroy the box even)
A visionary entrepreneur can see what others cannot see.
He or she confronts problems in atypical ways, thinking creatively and freely, and challenges the status quo.
They want to change the world via their product or business and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that vision.
Because for an entrepreneur knowing their mission is not enough.
What a successful entrepreneur needs to possess, is a focal point, a commitment to their mission around which he or she generates innovative ideas, makes judgments, invents products and services, etc.
#2. Proactive – Takes action to make a change
A proactive mindset is considered an entrepreneur’s best asset.
Entrepreneurs who tend to be proactive have a disposition geared toward taking intentional action, helping them create their environment, future, and fate.
That means being proactive is all about taking a leap and jumping into action rather than waiting for the circumstances to change favorably.
An entrepreneur with a proactive personality firmly believes that they control the fate of their business.
Other factors – economy, competition, etc. – may influence it, but they are responsible for its success and failure.
#3. Is persuasive and possess good people skills
Studies have shown persuasion to be the #1 skill that serial entrepreneurs rate as being the most important for their entrepreneurial success.
Persuasiveness was rated higher than leadership, personal accountability, goal orientation, and interpersonal skills.
Why is that the case?
Because being a good entrepreneur means you are effectively able to convince an investor that you have a great idea, persuade partners that your approach is right, and convince potential customers that the solution is right for them.
Entrepreneurs should be people intelligent since their whole business depends upon their knowledge of people and how to persuade them to believe in their ideas.
Whether they are working alone or with a group of people they should be able to communicate clearly and persuasively.
#4. Knows how to take and manage risks
“Only those who will risk going too far can find out how far one can go.”
― T.S. Eliot
For entrepreneurs, taking risks and business growth go hand in hand.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t just take risks, they take calculated risks and they know which risk will pay off and which is going to harm them.
That’s why entrepreneurship is incomplete without taking risks as you’ll never know until you try and without risk, there is no innovation.
It is a chance to learn.
So another common trait of an entrepreneur is to have a high level of risk tolerance and resilience.
#5. Highly adaptable and open to experience
Things do not always go as planned. Being able to adapt to changes and challenges is crucial for any business.
An entrepreneur is always ready to welcome new trends, try a newer method, and twist and turn themselves when required to have a long-lasting business.
Whether it is redesigning a business plan to make it work better or to readjust their idea completely, entrepreneurs are flexible in their approach.
As the world is changing very fast, those who are slow in making adjustments can be at a disadvantage.
Also, entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes and are flexible enough to accept the consequences.
This helps them in making necessary changes and building a thicker skin against future setbacks.
#6. Good with managing money
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett is arguably the world’s greatest stock investor.
One of his most famous sayings is,
“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.”
When it comes to setting up or building a business from the ground up, certain expenses are inevitable.
This might need an entrepreneur to be involved in activities such as reading bank statements, tax forms, understanding credit, bookkeeping, etc.
So to be a successful entrepreneur you have to get good with numbers.
You need to familiarize yourself with basic bookkeeping and money management principles.
You should establish a budget and keep a keen eye on the comings and goings of every dollar.
This factor will set your entrepreneurial venture apart from the ones that crash after take off.
#7. Eager to collaborate and network with other entrepreneurs
“Going solo in a world of over seven billion people is a sign of subconscious arrogance” – Tai Lopez
A smart entrepreneur is the one who is consistently making new connections and forming alliances knowing that there is real power in building an outstanding reputation and developing long-lasting bonds.
Entrepreneurs know that sharing information and ideas to get fresh opinions and reviews makes it possible to unearth a brilliant idea or trigger their creativity.
While there are other ways to achieve this “two heads are always better than one” communication, sharing, discussing ideas will be more beneficial for their venture than going at it alone.
This approach to collaborative networking helps them bring the right people together to achieve their goals faster.
#8. Humble enough to ask for and accept help
“There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, but one should always make new ones. Repeating a mistake is a hallmark of dim consciousness.”
― Dave Sim
No one is immune to making mistakes – we are human.
But if you let your ego get in the way, you’ll never learn from your mistakes nor will you ask anyone to help you out.
What an entrepreneur should know is that they are not the smartest person in the room.
There will always be a smarter, shrewder businessman at your competition.
Giving and receiving help is part of the human social experience and it does not make you weak or vulnerable.
All successful entrepreneurs have multiple coaches and mentors to help them out in different areas of life and business.
#9. Competitive and has thick skin
Entrepreneurs understand that every business including theirs has competition.
An important trait of an entrepreneur is that they do not avoid competition.
Successful entrepreneurs thrive under competitive pressures.
Instead of viewing competition as an obstacle, they see it as an opportunity.
Entrepreneurs acknowledge that competition breeds innovation and complacency leads to stagnation which is the last thing they need when building a business.
In a market full of uncertainty, an entrepreneur who is prepared to tackle the competition is rewarded with profits and continued growth opportunities.
#10. Disciplined and knows how to manage time
To be productive and get things done without any hiccups an entrepreneur must be disciplined and possess good time management skills.
Having a disciplined outlook on life helps in accomplishing goals, becoming proactive, and helps you in improving your business.
Lack of time management and organization skills is not only stressful it is also the main cause of piled-up work, missed deadlines, unsatisfied customers, overdue projects, etc.
So to avoid this issue and to stay focused it is critical that an entrepreneur plan and prioritize all tasks, make a to-do list, delegate their responsibilities, minimize distractions and give themselves some break time as well.
To have a deep-dive on how you can be more productive as an entrepreneur and get things done, read my article below.
Further reading: Get Sh*t Done:10 Best Productivity Hacks For Entrepreneurs
Conclusion – Traits of an entrepreneur
These are some of the most important traits of an entrepreneur found to be common among all successful business owners.
So if you are going to delve into entrepreneurship or are already a part of it you should know that not all of these qualities will come naturally.
Most people have to work at developing at least some of them.
There are books, courses, and coaches to help you out.
Find out what trait you need to improve upon, get help, and start your journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
Which trait do you think you need to work most on?