I’ve worked with hundreds of small companies around the world. Every one had something unique to offer. So why do some companies grow and some don’t?
The primary difference was the CEO, the founder, the entrepreneur that made something of the company.
Every successful company needed some luck but the most successful entrepreneurs had the same traits.
1. Persistence: Being an entrepreneur is never easy. To succeed every CEO has to have the passion and perseverance to achieve your goals over a very long time. It requires an incredible amount of stamina. It requires the perspective that building a company is a marathon and not a sprint. It means getting back up every time you are knocked down. Every. Single. Time. It requires the mantra of “never, ever, ever give up!” You will not get through the tough times without persistence, and there are always tough times running a startup.
2. Commitment: Related to persistence is commitment. I have never met a successful entrepreneur who didn’t commit EVERYTHING to the success of the company. They didn’t keep a second job, they didn’t try to build something on the side. They went all in, they maxed out credit cards, they pulled from their savings, they borrowed from friends and family. Some say these are the traits of a risk-taker but my perspective is that from the point of view of a successful entrepreneur they don’t see this as a big of a risk as others, primarily because they’re betting on themselves. So while it’s a risk, and they know it, it’s manageable. But it’s only manageable if they’re committed.
3. Curiosity: Successful entrepreneurs are actively looking to learn how to do what they do better. They’re asking for help and listening for feedback and input. If they can, they find an experienced entrepreneur-like mentor to help and guide them. They realize that it’s better to learn from the failure of others than from their own. This trait requires a lot of strength because it’s easy to ignore advice from others, to simply do things that we think are the right things and learn through trial and error. This trait manifests itself in the team the entrepreneur puts together. No one can build a company alone. They embrace the philosophy that company leaders don’t build the business. Rather, they strategically build a team that builds the business.
There are other traits highly touted by others as necessary for a successful entrepreneur, like Visionary, Confident, People Person, and Fear of Failure. But in my experience these traits are overrated.
I’ve known a lot of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t have any of these traits. They didn’t have a vision but they knew what to focus on – the very next problem to solve. They were more paranoid than confident. They were extremely shy and were not comfortable being a leader. And they were terrified of failure, that’s a big reason they were so committed and dedicated.
But none of them got to be successful without the 3 Key Traits listed above.
Let me know what you think are key traits to a successful Entrepreneur/CEO/Founder in the comments below, or by reaching out to me directly at email@example.com.
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