So what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur?
If you want to know then you might as well learn from the best. I can vouch that she is one of the best because Guest Blogger Kathy McShane is the author of “The Survivor’s Guide for Female Entrepreneurs,” the founder of Kendrew Group, Ltd. (an award-winning, multi-million dollar business), the CEO & founder of the Ladies Launch Club and created the nonprofit Exceptional Woman’s Series offering mentoring and networking for women in career transition or starting a new business.
PLUS she was the mentor and business coach that personally helped me in my entrepreneurial career. I am forever grateful for this lady in my life. Have to give respect where respect is due.
Get Kathy’s insight below on how how you too can become a successful entrepreneur.
Many studies have been done and many articles have reported on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. What researchers have discovered provides valuable information for anyone hoping to launch a business or any person who is an already-established entrepreneur. And the information gathered by pollsters correlates with what I’ve found in my time as CEO of Ladies Launch Club, Connecticut.
For instance, a recent Gallup poll examined the talents driving entrepreneurial success, and they’re a good gauge to see if you have the right stuff. What Gallup discovered is that, across the board, successful entrepreneurs have 10 main talents: a focus on business, confidence, creative thinking, delegation, determination and independence, functioning as seekers of knowledge, promoters, relationship builders and risk takers.
Successful entrepreneurs have been goal setters from a young age. Even as kids, they thought like successful people, willing to work toward what they wanted to achieve. Who among us hasn’t mowed lawns, babysat, delivered newspapers, worked in a supermarket or run errands for others?
Young entrepreneurs always find ways to make money so they can get that new bike, dress or car. These budding businesspeople set goals and stick to them. They are not afraid of hard work; rather, they embrace it.
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be extremely opportunistic. While that may seem like a harsh assessment, they are always on the lookout for new opportunities regardless of where they are in their entrepreneurial journey. A favorite example is a young record label executive who failed to recognize the potential of the Beatles and turned them down. Instead of beating himself up when he realized his mistake, he made an aggressive push to find “the next Beatles” and discovered the Rolling Stones. The rest, of course, is history!
Although successful entrepreneurs are opportunistic, they aren’t impulsive. They view their surroundings objectively and unemotionally. They frequently ask themselves the hard questions before they move forward in taking their ideas to the next level.
Successful entrepreneurs constantly keep tabs on the market, evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses and observing their competitors. They are smart enough to know that some of their most formidable competitors might be young, nimble and flexible companies or individuals who may not seem like much of a threat on the surface.
One of my favorite examples is Blockbuster. At one time, Blockbuster believed they had the video market in the palm of their hands. But then Netflix came along – a newbie competitor that gave Blockbuster a run for its money, rapidly growing into a large online video subscription service before Blockbuster even knew what hit them. In the end, Blockbuster failed to keep pace and eventually ceased its subscription operation and closed its remaining stores in 2014.
Gallup suggests that success comes from working with “dominant natural talents.”
According to an article on their website, “Training and education will certainly help you achieve excellence in an entrepreneurial role, but success will come easier if you have an inherent talent for the role. This means that identifying your entrepreneurial potential is critical. After identifying your potential, you need to apply systematic and continuous effort to nurture your innate ability and to manage your areas of lesser ability.”[i]
The majority of the studies and articles about entrepreneurship emphasize the importance of being a risk taker. Successful entrepreneurs push themselves out of their comfort zone, knowing that without a tenacious spirit they won’t achieve their goals. When they face obstacles, they know how to overcome them: they assess the situation, determine a plan of action and execute it. They never shy away from confronting the problem head-on. In most cases, their clients appreciate their efforts. And as Gallup points out, determination is a key quality of successful entrepreneurship.
Gallup also discovered in its research “a tremendous variety of behaviors among successful entrepreneurs.” They “effortlessly cultivate deep relationships with customers and employees,” “are laser-focused on business outcomes,” “are creative problem solvers” and “are the best spokespeople for their businesses.”
Above all, successful entrepreneurs have fun, but they don’t think of their businesses as playthings. They are focused on building for their future, and in the beginning are willing to wear many hats to achieve success.
So the question for you is – do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?