Characteristics Of A Successful Entrepreneur

18 Jan 2022


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According to Google’s Year in Search 2021, more people searched for the phrase ‘how to start a business’ than ‘how to get a job’.This shows there’s a real hunger for being your own boss, and 2022 looks set to be a bumper year for entrepreneurs

If your New Year’s Resolution is to go it alone and set up your own business, congratulations! But don’t worry if you’re one of those people who suffers from imposter syndrome – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ description when it comes to entrepreneurs. When we think of entrepreneurs, our thoughts tend to turn first to hugely successful business people like Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, Jacqueline Gold and Deborah Meaden. However, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who are successful in their field – they’re just not famous. Though you probably know quite a few from your own networking! 

The dictionary definition of ‘entrepreneur’ is: “A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” So this could be anyone who owns their own business, whether they’re just working for themselves or employing staff. You don’t need to have the ambition of being the boss of a multimillion-pound, multinational company to be a successful entrepreneur – ‘success’ isn’t necessarily defined by a massive bank balance. In fact, the vast majority of entrepreneurs who consider themselves successful have modest local businesses that provide them with a great work/life balance and a comfortable living. They define their success in many different ways, such as providing others with employment, playing a part in their local business community and doing their bit by making a difference, rather than by how many yachts or luxury cars they can buy. 

So entrepreneurs run dog-walking businesses, recruitment agencies, retail outlets, consultancy practices, financial services consultancies, IT services companies, marketing and PR agencies… the list is endless. As long as you’re earning money by running your own business, you’re an entrepreneur! 

While what you do doesn’t define you as a successful entrepreneur, there are a number of characteristics that are shared by almost every person running their own successful business. Here are some of them: 

They’re always challenging the status quo 

Successful entrepreneurs are always questioning how things can be done differently or better. They’re always looking for new ways of doing things and new business opportunities. In business terms, there’s no such thing as ‘good enough’ for entrepreneurs, because there’s always something else they can do in order to move forward. So even when their business is flying, they’ll never accept it as the status quo – rather, they’re always looking forward to the next thing. 

They don’t dither 

Entrepreneurs don’t have all the answers, but they know their business can’t move forward if they think about something for too long. Being decisive is key, and successful entrepreneurs are the ones who make quick decisions and have confidence in those decisions.

They aren’t afraid to fail 

Leaving a steady job to set up their own company is the first risk an entrepreneur will take, and yes, there is a possibility of failure. But if they hadn’t taken that risk, they’ll definitely never have succeeded as their own boss. It could well be that an entrepreneur’s decisiveness leads them to make the wrong call, but as one-time CEO of IBM Thomas Watson put it: “You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” 

They’re persistent 

Successful entrepreneurs don’t let failures get them down. Too many people are prepared to give up at the first hurdle, but entrepreneurs don’t allow themselves to dwell. They’ll learn from their failure, then bounce right back and try again. It’s useful to think of this in sporting terms. As American basketball player turned successful entrepreneur Michael Jordan put it: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” So even though he may have missed many shots, he’s still considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time. 

They understand the need to adapt and survive

The ability to adapt to challenges and opportunities is vital in business, and for entrepreneurs, this is something that can mean the difference between success and failure. Businesses were sorely tested over the lockdowns, and while some went out of business, others adapted extremely quickly and survived. Think back to the pub landlords who, faced with having to close their doors, sold fresh fruit and vegetables to sustain their income. Or the restaurants like Hertfordshire’s own Lussmanns that operated a click-and-collect service so we could continue to enjoy lovely food without the bother of cooking. It was incredible how quickly so many small businesses adapted to remote working in that time. They were led by entrepreneurs who weren’t prepared to sit back and blame their failure on circumstances beyond their control – rather, they made quick decisions to look ahead, be innovative, and take the risk of doing something different in order to stay in business. 

They’re passionate about what they do

If entrepreneurs aren’t passionate about what they do, they aren’t going to be motivated enough to make it work. Successful entrepreneurs have a different work/life balance than the average employee because, for them, they’re doing what they love. That’s why they thrive on working such long hours and put so much thought and effort into their business. With that kind of passion, they’re able to pass on their enthusiasm and motivate their staff to succeed too. 

If you’re about to set up your own business and are looking for cost-effective office space from which to operate, take a look at our Hertford and St Albans business hubs. They’re the perfect place for meeting and networking with other entrepreneurs, idea makers and go-getters!

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