The Traits That Lead to Entrepreneurial Success
While no natural-born skill is a prerequisite, some characteristic are good predictors.
- In the trade-off between management experience and industry experience, the winner depends on the venture’s level of risk.
- Social capital – i.e., good connections – can help bring entrepreneurs to the startup stage, but only strong networking skills correlate with success.
- Entrepreneurs are generalists, not specialists – no single area of expertise can predetermine success.
What does an early-stage investor look for in a company? E. Keller Fitzsimmons, serial entrepreneur and angel investor behind the book Lost in Startuplandia, evaluates the founder themselves with a question of her own: “Do they have the ability to ride out the roller-coaster ride of entrepreneurship?”
“There is only one success: to be able to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley
Top 5 Barriers to Crush if You Want to Become an Entrepreneur
The satisfaction of running your own business and working for yourself is a dream for many.
Unfortunately, our own attitudes and flaws get in the way. This can keep us from truly reaching financial freedom and success.
Whether you’ve been dreaming of entrepreneurship, or already knee-deep, here are some factors that can prevent you from reaching that magic plateau.
Imposter syndrome is real. It can begin as early as high school. Some may not feel they’re on the same level as the other students. Even if they get good grades, they may believe it was a fluke or luck.
According to an article in Forbes; Imposter syndrome can be clear in both those who are just starting out and those who have already achieved success and feel like a fraud.
To conquer imposter syndrome, appreciate your successes. Acknowledge them even if you don’t believe in them.
The Building Blocks of Entrepreneurial Success
When you think of an entrepreneur, the kind of person that has started and grown numerous companies, what words come to mind describing them? Some that I think of include bold, creative, hustler…
In the development of the Entrepreneurial Edge assessment, we did a study to see how over 400 entrepreneurs compared with non-entrepreneurial professionals on 12 competencies that are important for entrepreneurial success. Of those competencies, three stood out as the biggest differentiators:
- Innovation:The ability to formulate and shape novel ideas.
- Risk-Tolerance:The level of comfort one has with taking calculated risks.
- Visionary: The ability to conceptualize an idea in order to develop plans and set direction.
In my work, I’ve been fortunate to work closely with several serial entrepreneurs. These intrepid business people have started and operated as many as four companies at a time and have all found success to varying degrees. I’ve gotten to see the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial experience from this perspective and learned some great lessons along the way.
“When in doubt, bootstrap. Using your own personal resources is the easiest way to start a business. You don’t have to convince investors about the merits of your idea. You just have to convince yourself.” -Ryan Holmes, Co-founder of Hootsuite
Entrepreneurial Success Requires Stamina
People who aren’t runners assume that they can’t perform at the level of trained marathoners. New entrepreneurs do look at experienced entrepreneurs and assume that they can perform at that level.
Experienced entrepreneurs perform at the level they do because they have years of training. We’ve fallen into enough holes to know how to climb out of them, we’ve learned how to pace ourselves for the marathon, and we have successful environments that keep us rolling when times get tough.
I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and few things have been more full-contact than being an entrepreneur. It tests your emotional resolve. It changes your social networks. It strips away the security you once had in a steady, predictable paycheck. You have to learn to embrace uncertainty and deal with what comes.
And that’s when times are good.
When times are bad, you will want to quit. You’ll start fantasizing about getting a job, showing up, doing what you’re told, and going home to have some peace and tube time. You’ll hate the plans, projections, gambles, and opportunity-making that you have to do every day.
Diversity In Entrepreneurship: What We Can Do To Create A Level Playing Field
What inspires someone to become an entrepreneur?
I’ve often wondered what gives some people the energy and focus to take their idea and turn it into reality. I know so many others who dream but don’t ever take action to venture out on their own. They love working and contributing to an organization as part of a team and enjoy the security that comes with it.
But for some of us, entrepreneurship is like an itch that demands to be scratched. For me, it’s the challenge of creating something that makes an impact on people’s lives.
Creating a viable business requires more than just a great idea. There are the long hours and a commitment to doing the work without knowing if your work is going in the right direction or not. Of course, it also requires capital, sound decision making, strategy, the right team and luck. Without these ingredients, the business starves and fails. And even with these, the odds are the business will not make it.
Despite all the roadblocks, obstacles and low likelihood of success, 93% of entrepreneurs ultimately believe the journey is worth it, according to a new study commissioned by NPR’s “How I Built This,” The Secret Lives of Entrepreneurs.
The Importance of Diversity in Entrepreneurship
It’s 2020, and the world is going to look very different in the coming decades. As of this writing, we are at the end of this phase of COVID-19 and countries throughout Europe as well as states across America are slowly beginning to reopen. The pandemic may have thrown the world for a loop, but the crisis did accelerate several trends already underway, particularly here in the United States.
While entrepreneurship has become mainstream the faces of those leading the business world have been changing (not fast enough according to some people), and now with Zoom and other digital tools at our disposal, communication gaps have been closed. When looking towards the next few decades in business, we will see leaders from a variety of nationalities and genders building the next generation of businesses.
We still have a way to go as the number of entrepreneurs who are female, African American, or of Hispanic American descent is not where it should be. However, there are encouraging trends, as fundera.com indicates that “40% of US businesses are women-owned”and that “64% of new women-owned businesses were started by women of color last year.”
Increasing the number of entrepreneurs from these backgrounds is important for several reasons we will explore below. Particularly when it comes to education, the great modern equalizer, we can all do our part in order to bring up and work with entrepreneurs from a variety of different backgrounds. It’s not a political statement or a good PR campaign to double down on diversity when looking at the entrepreneurship space, it’s simply good for business.
The Outsized Impact of Black and Latinx Entrepreneurs
Black and Latinx entrepreneurs are a major economic force. From mom and pop shops to multimillion-dollar enterprises, minority-owned businesses generated close to $700B in revenue last year. Over the past decade, Black- and Latinx-led companies started more than 1M new businesses across the United States, leading to millions of net-new jobs.
These dynamic Black and Latinx entrepreneurs are inspirational leaders. They defy systemic financial and institutional barriers to achieve their dreams. These trailblazers meet market needs, create their own destiny and help their communities thrive.
But too often their stories and economic contributions are not celebrated as they should be.
Let’s fix that and recognize the might of minority business leaders in the U.S. today – as well as the inequitable challenges they face.
Did you know…
Latinx entrepreneurs are leading the way. Over the past ten years, the total number of Latinx-owned business owners grew by 34% – outpacing any other ethnic group. More than 40% of Latinx entrepreneurs are millennials, and Latina women start businesses at five times the rate of their male counterparts (Who run the world? Girls!). Consider the grit and tenacity of these Latinx leaders, who strike out to be their own boss while paving the way for generations to come.
Black-owned businesses give back. Black entrepreneurs have 12 times more net worth than peers who work for an employer. Their donations of time, money and services further strengthen neighborhoods nationwide. They provide strength in numbers and power to the community.
10 Ways to Stay Motivated as an Entrepreneur
If you’ve just started on your quest to entrepreneurship, then you are probably finding it hard to set yourself tasks and goals without an employer or colleague supporting you. On the other hand, if you have been on this adventure for some time now, you have probably come in contact with some bumps in the road that have set you back. You may also find it hard to balance the multitude of entrepreneurial tasks you have with your personal life.
Either way, as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to lose motivation. The key is to not give up and to find ways with which you can lift yourself up on those longer, more grueling days.
You’ve probably created your business with specific goals in mind, objectives you want it to achieve, and of course, some core values you want it to live by. The problem is, many who start their own business forget to create their own personal goals. It is crucial that you write down your reasons for becoming an entrepreneur in the first place.
Whether it be on your computer, a piece of paper, or on your phone, have them handy so that you can read them whenever you feel you have lost motivation.
Entrepreneurs Define the Meaning of Business Success
Many new business owners start with a goal of “being successful.” But what does “being successful” really mean? The simplest (and most accurate) answer is that small business success is different for everyone. As with everything else for your business, it’s up to you to define success.
The journey to greatness is a different experience for each business owner. Hope Wilson, a senior marketing specialist at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, said she views business success as something larger than herself and her company.
“Success is running a profitable firm that conducts business with honesty and integrity, makes meaningful contributions to the communities it serves and nurtures high-quality, balanced lives for its employees,” Wilson told Business News Daily. “As business owners, we must think outside our own doors. We must think about the potential impacts we have on those around us as well as future generations.”
Growth to greatness: Smart growth for entrepreneurial businesses
Business growth is one of the most talked about subjects in the entrepreneurial world. Unfortunately, much of that talk is based on faulty assumptions or erroneous beliefs about business growth. For the past ten years, I have been on a journey, along with some of my colleagues, trying to discover the “science” of business growth. The purpose of this article is to share with you some of what we have found.
If you think about business growth, what comes to mind? Well, growth is good; in fact, businesses either grow or die. Yes, and growth is a nice linear function that depends in large part upon a business’s strategy. And growing bigger is always better.
Those beliefs are common. What do we know about them? We know that there is no basis in any science for those beliefs and that, in fact, they are not always true in the business world. At best, they are half-truths. At worst, they are pure fiction.