No two people are identical, just like no great tennis or basketball champions are ever the same. What they do have in common are certain characteristics that set them apart from the rest.
It’s these certain skills and traits that allow them to surpass the average sportsperson and become the best. It may be amazing hand-eye coordination or incredible athleticism, both of which are vital to be a great sportsperson. I believe the same can be said for entrepreneurs. The art of being an entrepreneur might not involve skills as tangible as athleticism, but there are consistent characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs must possess. Below are the 6 skills and traits that separate the entrepreneurial greats from the rest.
1. Invest in self
The most lucrative investment one can make, financially or otherwise, is investing in their ability and knowledge. Many of the great entrepreneurs of our time stress that success in business is not based on academic credentials, but instead achievement through self-education. Entrepreneurs often define it more broadly as a burning desire to continuously better themselves and always being proactive in improving their skills and knowledge.
All great entrepreneurs invest time in reading, learning and mastering their skills in their field of work. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin said “I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new”. They realise that every piece of information learnt is an opportunity, and passing it up may just give the competition the edge they need to get in front.
Continually educating yourself by reading books, online blogs (like this one), academic articles and, most importantly, learning from other successful people will keep you ahead of the game. Remember, YOU are the most important asset of your business.
2. Self confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Most entrepreneurs agree that at the start of a venture no one will see your dreams and ideas as you will. Yet they ignore the naysayers and have confidence in what they truly believe they can achieve. No one will sit behind you telling you what your vision will look like and how you should strive to achieve greatness except for yourself.
3. Time Management
The ability to manage your time is essential for any entrepreneur. This is especially true in small businesses or startup ventures. It’s about managing your time to create space where you might not have originally thought possible.
A common problem that all entrepreneurs face is not having enough time. People assume that everything has to be done by themselves when in reality, there won’t be enough time to do so. Especially in the early days when you may be trying to juggle a full-time job, family and other commitments.
“Entrepreneurs understand that one person cannot do everything themselves.”
Being able to delegate tasks to others, when you may not have the time or the skill set to do is also the main component in time management. A good entrepreneur realises that they will not be the best at everything. Being able to identify strong points in others and delegating them tasks where they might be more efficient than you will free up time to be able to focus on other important tasks.
Your ideas are only as good as your pitch. You have to sell your concept and ideas whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or negotiating business direction with business partners or other stakeholders. It’s no good having the answer to one of the world’s problems if you can’t sell your solution to the people you need to win over to make it happen. You also have to create a need for the customers to buy your product/service and it has to show a clear solution to a problem they pose.
Not only do entrepreneurs have to create the sale they also have to be able to keep everyone happy. Research shows that for most businesses, revenue comes from about 80% of recurring customers and only 20% from newcomers. This is certainly true for mobile apps.
The apps that generate the highest revenue are free to download and the revenue often comes from small subscription fees, in-app purchases or ads designed to continue users to spend. This is why customer satisfaction is the highest priority in business because, in the end, it’s the customers that dictate whether you succeed or fail.
A good entrepreneur sees their vision with crystal clarity and never lets failure or naysayers get in the way. Failing is a part of life and most definitely a part of the business. You may learn some of your greatest lessons by failing and as long as you have the perseverance to keep going each failure will become a stepping stone closer to success.
Business is a long distance marathon, not a sprint. If you have ever had the chance to speak with someone who participates in long-distance running they will tell you that it’s your mind that will try and give out on you first, not your legs. The same can be said when it comes to entrepreneurship.
6. Inner Drive
Entrepreneurs possess a passion for success beyond that of the average person. Whether they had a tough childhood, coming from a household where money was a rare commodity or they were given all the tools from a young age to do well in life. Entrepreneurs have a deep inner drive that pushes them past the expectations of that of an average person.
No one can tell you to dig deeper and push harder than the next guy. Well, they can, but probably to no avail. It’s the true passion for their work or the crazy idea that they can change the world and make a difference that is the driving force that keeps an entrepreneur’s inner fire burning. Consistently striving to better themselves and their businesses.
One day you’ll look back on your life and ask yourself these questions: What did I contribute to society? How has my existence affected the people I co-inhabited this earth with? Will the mark I leave behind hinder or improve the world for generations to come? True entrepreneurs are answering these questions at work every day.
So do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? If all these points resonate with you then you are already on your way to entrepreneurial success! If not, there’s still time! You’re reading this blog because you want more from yourself. Above all else, it is your inner drive that truly defines your success.