Many qualities are necessary to find success as an entrepreneur, but here are five that I find especially important:
You may have heard the statistic that half of small businesses fail in the first 5 years. And it’s true – most businesses do fail. Hearing this can be intimidating and may dissuade many new entrepreneurs from starting their businesses. Business is challenging, risky, and uncertain, and maintaining an optimistic mindset can make all the difference.
I have long considered myself a perpetual optimist, and I credit this mindset for helping me navigate challenges, take risks, stay motivated, and remain resilient. Having a positive outlook helps you view setbacks as opportunities, trust yourself to take risks and try new ideas, and remain motivated and persistent to achieve your goals. In terms of leadership, optimistic leaders inspire and motivate their teams. Positivity is contagious – and leading with an optimistic mindset will encourage your Team Members to do the same.
Entrepreneurship is full of obstacles, setbacks, and failures. That’s why resilience – the ability to bounce back from setbacks– is so crucial. For entrepreneurs, it’s often not one setback, but many. Setbacks can be discouraging, and it’s easy to give up. What sets a successful entrepreneur apart is their ability to look at them as learning lessons rather than a reason to quit.
In 1999, I moved to Boulder, Colorado to work on wholepeople.com. This online business revolved around Amrion, a vitamin company we had acquired in 1997. This venture ultimately failed because it was way too expensive to operate, and the market wasn’t ready for this type of service yet. I was very disappointed that the business failed, but it taught me the importance of deeply understanding the market. It also gave me a greater sense of humility, which was very important for both my personal and professional growth.
With resilience comes adaptability, meaning that to find success, entrepreneurs must be able and willing to pivot and adapt to new ideas and new ways of doing things. I think the trait of adaptability ties into the idea of balancing entrepreneurship and business planning. Business plans are inherently important – they provide a necessary framework for both tracking cash (when combined with a financial plan) and creating a business strategy. However, obstacles arise, and new ideas and innovations come forward that may not fit into the pre-established business plan. The market can be unpredictable – and therefore, business can be unpredictable. Having blinders on and failing to broaden your perspective can lead to overlooking new, emerging opportunities. That’s why it’s so important for successful entrepreneurs to stay open-minded and be willing to pivot and adapt.
I talk about the idea of balancing entrepreneurship and business planning in greater detail here.
Innovative and Creative
The business landscape is constantly evolving and changing, and being able to innovate and think creatively is what sets apart a successful entrepreneur. At its core, entrepreneurship is about creating value for people. Innovation allows entrepreneurs to stay ahead of the competition, solve problems, and meet evolving customer needs.
I’m a long-term advocate for leaders fostering a culture of innovation within their organizations. In my opinion, it is essential for the long-term success and growth of your company. Leaders who support, encourage, and reward innovation and creative thinking create a culture where Team Members can comfortably share ideas and think outside the box, which can lead to revolutionary breakthroughs for the organization.
High Energy and Purpose-Driven
A high-energy person is contagious, and this is particularly evident for leaders. When Team Members see their leader consistently approaching day-to-day projects with excitement and enthusiasm, it tends to inspire them to mirror this energy. In a high-energy atmosphere, both leaders and Team Members are energized and motivated.
This is even more powerful in a purpose-driven environment. When a leader and Team Members are focused on a shared purpose, there’s not much that can stop them!