To become a successful entrepreneur goes much deeper than just coming up with that unique idea or being passionate beyond reproach.
True, these characteristics can make it a lot easier to start a business but there are more fundamental qualities that budding entrepreneurs will have to possess in order to achieve and maintain success in the long-run.
Fortunately, we have the benefit of being able to learn from the people that have gone before and that have already achieved huge success in their various business ventures.
When studying these successful entrepreneurs, there are a number of qualities that come up time and again.
Ability to overcome adversity and failure
In many instances, an entrepreneur becomes successful either because they develop a novel product or service, or the actual delivery in providing existing products or services might be unique in itself.
This will often require out of the box thinking to come up with new and innovative ideas. The problem is not everybody will be comfortable with challenging the status quo, especially if it is still a work in progress and success has not been proven.
People are therefore likely to come against the idea to try and discredit it.
In fact, when Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, was asked what his number one tip is for all aspiring entrepreneurs he said, “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”
With this he is basically saying that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to have a thick skin and not let the inevitable adverse criticisms stop you from achieving your goals.
It is very clichéd and in practice, a lot easier said than done, but if you do end up failing, dust yourself off and get back up on the proverbial horse. You will struggle to find a successful entrepreneur who didn’t have to go through this at some point in their journey.
Amazon finder, Jeff Bezos said, “If you want to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”
Succeeding as a first-mover and thought-leader in an industry is already a difficult task but doing it in the face of adversity can be the difference that makes an entrepreneur, a successful entrepreneur.
Oleg Boyko, Chairman of Finstar Financial Group, who built up a business empire from scratch and more recently unveiled a $150 million Fintech investment plan, describes risk tolerance as an essential quality to achieve success.
“To achieve success, an entrepreneur needs several qualities. They must have a certain risk tolerance and feel comfortable in a situation where there are so many kinds of uncertain parameters. Risks caused by these uncertainties can make it difficult to make important decisions, but it is necessary to be able to tolerate these risks and state of stress. A comfortable feeling in a state of uncertainty and stress primarily distinguishes the entrepreneur from the non-entrepreneur.”
It will inherently be part of an entrepreneur’s journey. The difference between success and failure will be in how risk is tolerated and whether or not it can be absorbed in a responsible manner.
Learn to trust
One of the very first things successful entrepreneurs have to do is to learn to trust the people around them. This is not always easy as would-be entrepreneurs are usually perfectionists, a major inhibitor of delegation.
But if you are to become successful, you have to realize that you won’t be able to make your journey to the top all by yourself. You need like-minded people around you, not only to help you but to motivate and push you along the way when things get tough.
According to Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson, this is a very important quality to embrace.
“As much as you need a strong personality to build a business from scratch, you also must understand the art of delegation. I have to be good at helping people run the individual businesses, and I have to be willing to step back. The company must be set up so it can continue without me.”
He also stated that being good to the people that work for you can instil trust and loyalty. “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Finally, unwavering perseverance to reach identified goals and to continue on the path set out upon, no matter who or what is trying to distract you, is another characteristic of successful entrepreneurs.
This focused perseverance can range from something as simple as making sure deadlines are stuck to, to fighting for the best possible outcome in business negotiations, and everything in between.
Oleg Boyko from the Finstar Financial Group calls it an ‘internal woodpecker’.
“A person persistently achieves the result independently of anything, and does not drop his hands until the result is achieved. A successful entrepreneur can wait and has a high enough emotional intelligence to convince others, including counterparts, employees and partners. The risks are of course that you can lead to failure. But do not lose heart, do not lose your enthusiasm – this is an important component of success.”
Entrepreneurship has perhaps been over-romanticised by mainstream media where individuals fall in love with the idea of being an entrepreneur more than the work itself. Saying that, although it won’t be a walk in the park (the worst boss you can ever work for is yourself, right?), it can be one of the most rewarding journeys you ever set off on.
Any entrepreneurial journey can be given the best possible chance of becoming a success story by leveraging the knowledge of those who have walked the path before and by learning to apply these qualities to individual situations.