10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

It takes a special kind of person to have a business idea and to make it work. The following characteristics are common among successful entrepreneurs - do you possess them too? 

1. Ability to identify fertile ground for market opportunities: You may have a great idea, your buddies think it’s awesome and everyone wants to get on board. While there is probably some serious merit in your idea, make sure that you have done your research. Identify which market segments you are after and narrow it down to small bite size chunks. Identify where your product or service is likely to get the highest / fastest uptake so that you can build a solid base. Ask questions, test your ideas with a broad base, and research your market.

2. Have a compelling value proposition:  Understand what makes you different and what sets you apart as this is what will win you customers and investment. Understand what gap you fill in the market: Do you provide efficiency? Are you the first? Is it your social and environmental credentials? Or is that just an added bonus? Whatever the reason understand your value proposition, own it and communicate it.

3. Know your audience:  Preparation is important. Make sure you understand who your stakeholders are, what they want, and how your offering benefits them. Engaging and understanding your audience is what will get you new customers, networks to promote your social enterprise, and your investment pitch over the line. By sympathising and truly understanding their pain points, your audience will feel a connection to your enterprise. Being open and honest with them will help your audience be your greatest advocates.

4. Successful navigation of unchartered territory New ventures require the ability to be adaptable and make your own path. Think of it as a ‘choose your own adventure’ rather than a ‘tried and tested fairy tale’.  Evaluate the cross roads and do what feels right for you. Regardless of the outcome plough ahead without regrets and take the bumps along the road as useful learning experiences. Be comfortable in being uncomfortable.

5. High performing teams As a founder of a social enterprise it’s important to employ people that can help you achieve your vision. Look for people that are results driven, self motivated and lateral thinkers. Make sure to do skill gaps analysis before deciding what type of employee you need next. Don’t be afraid of hiring people who are smarter than you to drive your enterprise’s growth. Ensure that all employees are aligned with your organisation’s purpose and its values.

6. Self belief and drive to succeed   Starting your own business is far from smooth sailing. Be hungry for success and persist to obtain the results that you deserve. Many successful entrepreneurs have had to push through tough times. Elon Musk almost sold Tesla to Google, but his persistence and drive helped him realise the dream of having an electric supercar on the road. His story is not as unique as you may think repeated by entrepreneurs in many other industries. Believe in yourself and keep striving towards success. It doesn’t happen overnight.

7. Be persistent Keep striving towards your goal. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and there will be some stumbling blocks along the way. Solutions may not come easily, but if you keep trying there will be a way around the problems. The Wright Brothers (who successfully flew the first aircraft) had worked for six years with three versions of human-controlled gliders before finally getting a flight off the ground. So keep trying because the next attempt could be the one that catches on.

8. Always be closing Don’t miss an opportunity to pitch what you do, engage a new customer or just talk about what you do to engaged audiences. If you see an opportunity seize it and don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. If this doesn’t come naturally don’t worry, engage someone who can help you refine your skills. Remember the old adage “practice makes perfect” so just keep promoting and discussing because you never know who could be the person that helps you take your business to the next level.

9. Build a support network   Look for people you can turn to for guidance. These may be technical experts to bounce ideas off of, successful business owners who’ve already done the hard yards, and family and friends for some much needed emotional support along the way. Look towards where you want to go and find people that can help you get there.

10. Establish a winning culture A can do attitude and celebrating success are essential to creating and maintaining a winning culture. It is the kind of environment where employees are inspired to go above and beyond because they are motivated by the purpose of the business and want to drive results.