“Entrepreneurs are born, not made.”
I’ve heard this quote many times before. Do you agree with the statement? I’m not sure if I do. I’d have to say that, like anything a human being decides to do, becoming an entrepreneur is a conditioned response created by our culture or upbringing. However, entrepreneurs share some of the same traits, and whether they were genetically predisposed to these traits or whether they cultivated these traits does not matter. What does matter is the fact that successful entrepreneurs all share these same qualities.
1) They’re Adaptable
They can adapt to the team because they’re teachable. I once watched an interview with Russell Simmons. He mentioned that, even though when he started his business he didn’t write the business plans, he knew how to hire someone talented enough to write one for him. And eventually he learned enough from them to guide the business plans that were created for his future ventures.
You have to be emotionally secure enough to adapt. If you are offended because a team member disagrees with an idea that you thought was the best idea ever then creativity and innovation will be stifled. Entrepreneurs are service minded. They present ideas as a way to serve their target market, when an idea does not serve the target market appropriately, they have to adapt in order to come up with the best idea to serve the market.
2) They’re Committed
There are no half-hearted champions. Michael Jordan admits that he had many more failures than successes, but what set him apart from those who were not seen as successful was his ability to try again, even after he failed.
Sometimes a string of events will come from one decision. When you make that decision to try again and persevere through your adversity that just may be the time that you set off a sequence of positive events for your life and your business. Follow through with the right attitude and be professional.
3) They’re Dependable
Every team has a go-to player. This person is always the one who has the answers, and if they don’t they know how to use their resources to find that answer. The go-to player is proactive in finding solutions. They are not just going to let the team fail because of one single problem, they have pure motives and they put the team first.
When I was in 4th grade my teacher, Mrs. West, had a word spelled out onto the wall. It was printed on banner paper and large black letters. Every time I got into trouble, and I often did because I was the class clown, she would make me repeat and spell this word.
What was the word?
Responsibility. I still remember spelling it, RES-PON-SIBI-LITY. She reminded me to take responsibility for my actions and even to this day I remember the lesson she taught me. Being dependable means being responsible for yourself and your team.
4) They’re Disciplined
Where there’s a will, there’s a win. Stay focused. Sometimes you have to do what you really don’t want to do so that you can do what you really want to do. You might not want to make copies as an intern, but when your boss sees your discipline to complete that task, you will find yourself presented with more opportunities to show off your discipline and work ethic.
Successful entrepreneurs should be disciplined in three major areas.
▪ Disciplined Thinking
Have an active mind. If you find your thoughts running away with you bring them back to the task at hand so you can accomplish what you’ve set out to do.
▪ Disciplined Emotions
Master your emotions. You can ruin a friendship or a business relationship by expressing wild emotions.
▪ Disciplined Actions
This is the one characteristic that separates winners from losers. A person lacking discipline is in a prison without bars.
5) They’re Prepared
Successful entrepreneurs mentally walk through any process ahead of time. They are able to anticipate any possible obstacles and take advantage of opportunities. They are ready to become an expert in their chosen field by constantly learning what it takes to succeed.
6) They’re Relational
There are certain characteristics that every business owner looks for in a candidate when they are building a team. They want to team with people who not only will contribute greatly to the team, but who will also create that relationship. A strong relationship between the team is cultivated with respect, shared experience and trust. Respect for one another and respect for the team will build a strong relationship. The relationship also grows with every shared experience, when you and your team has been pushed to the limit, there is a bond that is created from that shared experience. Trust is the last thing that will build a team but it is also one of the most important characteristics to have in a strong relationship.
7) They’re Self-Improving
To improve the team, you must improve yourself. As a leader, your team is looking to you for the next step. Your team will model your actions or your lack of action. To improve yourself and become a more successful leader, improve your preparation and contemplation. Your success is hidden in your daily routine. Did you monitor your time and eliminate unnecessary tasks?
Have you taken advantage of each opportunity that has been presented to you?
When you prepare yourself for great opportunities, those opportunities will see you out because you are ready to take advantage of them. Contemplation is also important to becoming a successful leader. Time alone is essential to self-improvement. We all need time free from distractions in order to recharge our internal battery and maintain our creativity.
8 ) They’re Tenacious
Successful leaders work with determination. They begin with the end in mind. Don’t be afraid to try making that sale again, even though you might have been turned down 9 times before. One of my favorite books is The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino.
It’s a recommendation of mine if you are in need of motivation to pick yourself up and try again. In the book, the main character aspires to be a great salesman and he is charged with the task of selling a single item. He tries over and over and over again to sell this one item. After being turned down each time he finally receives his reward for his persistence. You’ll have to read the book for the conclusion of the story, you will find the motivation you need to be a successful leader.
9) They’re Action-Oriented
None of these characteristics by themselves can create a successful entrepreneur. They must be utilized to make a difference. The time is now to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that await us. Complacency is unacceptable for successful leaders. An idea without action behind it is just a wish. In summary, take action! Don’t be afraid to step out there and take your ideas to market. Evaluate yourself and the abilities that you were born with. And if you don’t possess these qualities yet, then surround yourself with people who do, and learn from them. Just as undesirable behaviors and characteristics can be unlearned, desirable behaviors can be learned.