“Entrepreneurs aren’t born, they’re made” – this phrase has become almost as ubiquitous as the age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” While the nature of entrepreneurs can be argued endlessly, there are a few qualities that an entrepreneur must embody in order to be successful. Here are 5 must-have attributes that facilitate entrepreneurial success.
1. No Fear
All the comforts of entrepreneurial life—from being your own boss to working from home—overshadow the drawbacks. Heavy workload, long hours, and inconsistent cash flow…this all sounds frightening, but an entrepreneur will deal with these aspects rather than live in fear.
In Start-Up Nation, authors Dan Senor and Saul Singer attribute Israel’s economic boom to its entrepreneurs’ non-aversion to failure. This fearless mentality produced a nation of entrepreneurs, some more successful than others but none afraid of failing. The more prepared you are for failure—not just financially, but mentally—the easier it will be to recover. Entrepreneurs, above all else, understand what it means to fail: learn from your mistakes, pick up the pieces, and try again.
2. The ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’
Entrepreneurs have to be many things at once: visionaries, leaders, accountants, business developers, marketers, writers…the list goes on. Given the many roles an entrepreneur must play, flexibility is crucial to succeed in today’s competitive start-up landscape.
However, it takes more than flexibility to be a successful entrepreneur. The ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ is embodied by a passion like no other. An entrepreneur is a risk-taker, a go-getter, armed with a can-do attitude and a perseverant mindset.
Many entrepreneurs struggle with clarity. What do we mean by ‘clarity’? Focusing your efforts. In order to do this, you need to clearly define your product, your target market, and establish goals.
Entrepreneurs can easily get carried away with ideas. Chances are your idea truly IS groundbreaking and creative, pushing you to take it in many different directions. However, in order to succeed you have to be practical. Define your product well, select a proper target market, and focus your marketing efforts efficiently.
Don’t forget to set goals and milestones as well. Without them, you won’t have any clear direction. Goals will help you stay focused on a specific path, and although you WILL hit several bumps along the way, your target destination will help you stay on the right track.
4. Differentiating Yourself
According to the Kaufman Institute, 2009 marked a 14-year high for entrepreneurial activity. While this is definitely an exciting moment to be launching your own enterprise, it is also a very competitive one. The market is likely to get saturated with start-ups seeking venture funding, which has unfortunately seen a decrease as of recently.
Your product offering may be unique, but it’s not the only one. Stand out from the crowd by using dynamic marketing techniques, like social media. This will engage potential customers and boost your brand’s visibility, basically for free! Keep in mind that social media is a time-consuming task that requires dedication, much like building a strategic partnership.
Networking shouldn’t be about schmoozing or collecting as many business cards as possible during a one-hour event. This will come off as annoying and, quite possibly, desperate.
While networking is all about building an expansive network, you need to be selective about who you’re contacting. In the short-run, this will make it a lot easier to cultivate strong relationships that in the long-run will provide you with the greatest value. If you spread yourself too thin, your relationships might crack and buckle under the slightest bit of pressure.