Connect with us

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

6 Attributes of Great Entrepreneurs

It’s impossible to nail down what makes most people successful, but they usually have a few common themes.

Brian Hamilton

Published

on

successful-entrepreneur

I was slightly reluctant to write a piece about the common characteristics of excellent entrepreneurs.

Despite having strong opinions on the matter, most times, for obvious reasons, these pieces do not include enough data points to support the conclusions that are made by the writer. However, I truly do believe that it’s important for budding entrepreneurs to understand what will be required of them to successfully start a business.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 7 Attributes of an Extraordinary Entrepreneur

And even for existing entrepreneurs, I hope this piece may provide some insight into the things that you want (and need) to focus on in leadership.

1. Great entrepreneurs blend vision with execution

entrepreneurial-vision We tend to think of successful entrepreneurs as big-picture people and visionaries. This may be true, in some cases, but the best ones I’ve worked with can blend their “vision” with the ability to get things done.

In fact, I’d even advise aspiring entrepreneurs to avoid spending too much time on developing business ideas. Most ideas are going to have to be heavily revised when you get out to market. Successful entrepreneurs are highly goal oriented, blending their big-picture strategy with a laser focus on execution and results.

2. They have an ability to find backdoors

Good entrepreneurs tend to be skilled problem solvers and analytical, but they also approach problems in a creative fashion.

The very good entrepreneurs that I have met are not trying to be eccentric or unconventional; they simply tend to think a little bit differently and creatively. Without question, there’s a “cult of the entrepreneur” in this country. Part of this involves assigning an almost mystic quality to individuals who start successful companies from scratch. I’m very reluctant to do this.

Successful entrepreneurs are not sages or mystics. They are resourceful and creative folks who burrow a little bit further and try different angles than other people. They tend to be good at finding backdoors and keys to locks that other people don’t see.

3. They’re willing to work the long hours

Facebook went from an idea in a dorm room to a billion dollar company in a flash. That is the exception not the rule. The truth is that the task of building a successful business is a thankless and grueling one. The hours are intense. The rate of success is relatively low.

It takes a long time to generate momentum. The amount of work involved is unfathomable for those who haven’t tried it yet.

I don’t mean to trivialise the success of great American entrepreneurial stories like Facebook. But the story behind entrepreneurial success seldom resembles “The Social Network.” It’s probably closer to “All at Sea.”

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 10 Life Hacks From a Millennial Millionaire

4. They can either sell or build

building-scaffoldsGood entrepreneurs tend to fall into one of two buckets: Those who sell stuff or those who can build great products. Some of them, a rare breed, can do both. Companies live or die on the strength of their products and their ability to market and sell those products.

To successfully lead a company, you have to be able to drive at least one of those pillars. Steve Jobs was a good communicator, but his skill lay in products. Even though Bill Gates had technical expertise, he was actually a sales and marketing specialist.

Scott Cook at Intuit is a product entrepreneur. Donald Trump is a sales entrepreneur (among other things).

5. They can reduce complicated data into something manageable and actionable

Even extremely complex business problems usually reduce down to three or four important components. Good entrepreneurs are able to identify the few key factors that are important to a decision or a business.

Shark Tank is an entertainment show, without question. But notice how the judges on the show (all of whom are successful entrepreneurs) really know what they are talking about.

They rapidly get to the success or failure points of the business almost every time. Regardless of the industry or product, they can almost immediately home in on the two or three key points that the business’ success depends upon.

6. They are very effective with people

As Americans, we tend to admire people who are out on the edge a little bit. At the risk of getting too philosophical, I think this goes back to the founding of our country by revolutionaries.

We tend to admire people who represent fringe elements, even while we may criticise them. Entrepreneurs fall into this category. The popular media representations would make you believe that entrepreneurs are successful in spite of, or because of, their antisocial, “outlaw” tendencies.

This results in an inaccurate portrayal of the entrepreneur as a loner or malcontent. Let’s briefly dissect this. Growing a business is a matter of getting people to work together; the probability of being able to build a business, without working well with others, is very, very low.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 10 Things Great Talent Always Does

This does not mean to say that good entrepreneurs, like the rest of us, do not have personal foibles, because they do. However, if you look a little bit more closely, it is obvious that the truly great entrepreneurs are very effective with people, or else they would not have achieved the same level of success.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Brian Hamilton is the chairman and co-founder of Sageworks. He is the original architect of Sageworks’ artificial intelligence platform, FIND, which is the leading financial analysis technology for analyzing private companies and is used by thousands of accounting firms and financial institutions across North America. He has dedicated his life to bringing greater clarity to financial statements and to increasing financial literacy among businesses. Hamilton regularly leads discussions on private company performance, the financial strength of companies preparing for an IPO and entrepreneurship in major business and financial news outlets such as CNBC and The Wall Street Journal.

Advertisement
Comments

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

(Podcast) Being An Entrepreneur Is Painful

There is a pain attached to running your own business. It’s time to discuss how tough it is – address the reality and you might just be one of the successful few.

Nicholas Haralambous

Published

on

nicholas-haralambous

Entrepreneurship is fun. But on the whole, running a business is hard. Far fewer business owners succeed than fail. Statistically your business is going to fail. Those are the hard numbers.

There is a pain attached to running your own business. It’s time to discuss how tough it is – address the reality and you might just be one of the successful few.

Listening time: 5 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Playing To An Audience Of One

Continue Reading

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

3 Dangerous Entrepreneurial Myths You Need To Ignore

This terrible advice won’t actually get you anywhere.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

Entrepreneurial Myths

We’ve all heard the numbers about how hard it is to build a long-lasting business. While there are many factors at play to get there, without effective marketing and sales a business cannot survive.

Unfortunately, there is a multitude of dangerous and destructive marketing advice swirling around the heads of vulnerable entrepreneurs. Like vultures seeking their next meal, “gurus” pontificate nonsense that these hard-working business owners follow, only to discover that what they tried doesn’t work.

Often, once the damage is done, it is too late for them to do anything else about it.

If you want to not only survive, but thrive, here is some of the terrible advice you need to start ignoring:

1“You need to be everywhere”

I’m sorry, but how do these people sleep at night without the use of narcotics? “Experts” spew out dribble to make headlines saying you need to get on Snapchat, get on Periscope, do YouTube Live … be everywhere! They’ll say you need to get on this platform or that social media network. Oh, and use LinkedIn Live! And make sure to post on Instagram three times a day and Facebook twice a day. And don’t forget those Facebook Lives. Make sure to do them every day.

Related: The Journey Of Entrepreneurship: How The Tough Get Going

ACK! Just writing that paragraph stressed me out. How the heck are you supposed to be on all of those channels, never mind doing it all effectively, and still run your business? Of course you can’t. And you shouldn’t. (Unless self-torture is your thing, in which case have at it. There are books about that, but I’m not giving any titles because I’d have to Google them and then I’d be retargeted by the ads and that would just be gross.)

It is impossible to spend even half an hour on each major network and still get any work done. Forget about focusing on measurement, profit and return on investment. They don’t mention that on purpose, because then these crazy-pants suggestions would really make no sense. But, then these “experts” would stop making the headlines, so they keep serving up spoiled advice for the poor folk who chow down and then get sick on it.

Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to their plots of deception. Demand strategies that value your time and produce results in a significant and measurable way quickly.

2“It takes money to make money”

cash-flow-management

I didn’t take the easy way out. I am part of a group of scrappy entrepreneurs who have a lot of hustle and heart and little/no/negative funds. I didn’t come from family money, and the big banks certainly weren’t lending to businesses like mine.

The only way I was going to get a big pile of cash was if I won the lottery. And since I’ve only played about four times in the last decade, the chances of that happening were slim. What I had to find was the same thing you most likely want – a solution to predictably bring in customers when there is no marketing budget to play with.

3The Schmo-bags

The worst are who I call the “Ferrari Marketers.” They rent a sportscar for an hour or two, hang out in front of it and then sell us shiny object strategies that they haven’t even used in their own business.

Related: 6 Timeless Strategies That Drive Successful Entrepreneurship

They are abhorrent, hideous and dangerous. Not only are they crooks stealing the money of the people who are seeking a solution from them, but they may prevent really talented people who have a gift/service/product/offer to share that can help someone else from ever reaching them.

Did I mention they suck?

But, once you discover a game-changing system, you are responsible for implementing it. You can’t be distracted by shiny objects any longer.

As Jack Welch says, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Don’t allow yourself to be enticed or distracted by fads or the “latest and greatest/not greatest” new social media strategy, channel or tactic.

Once you uncover how to truly get results, be strong-willed and stubborn. Repel any idea, strategy or initiative that requires you to keep spending money to make money. If you keep throwing dollars and time at a goal, hoping and wishing that it will work, yet not tracking or measuring the results and scaling accordingly, then you cannot expect results.

Start measuring, tracking and demanding results from your time and money, rising above others and landing in the successful minority that thrives instead of survives.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

5 Mindset Changes You Must Make When Going From Employee To Entrepreneur

As one prominent author wrote, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

Sujan Patel

Published

on

entrepreneurship-mindset

Thousands of people dream of the day they can quit their jobs and escape the 9-to-5 life. In fact, Gallup found that 87 percent of the employees it surveyed worldwide did not see themselves as engaged.

But quitting your job and starting your own business is only half the battle. You need to prepare to be an entrepreneur. Besides getting your finances in order and having a plan in place, you also need to prepare your mind.

Your habits dictate your success, and if you’re still stuck in that 9-to-5 mindset, your endeavors will fail. You must adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and start thinking the way the world’s top leaders do.

Being an entrepreneur is very different than being an employee, and the way you envision it may be completely off base. Here are five changes you must make to your thinking in order to prepare yourself for the realities of being an entrepreneur.

1Train your mind to think outside the box

Once you leave your office job, you’re no longer confined by corporate life. That means you need to open your mind to new possibilities – possibilities that may not have been an option in your old life.

Related: For Shatty Mashego Success Lies In Maintaining A Positive Mindset

In an article for TIME magazineWarren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said, “People will always try to stop you doing the right thing if it is unconventional.” In short, others may not see your vision, but you can’t let that stop you. You need to be creative with your business, offer something new and be different to be successful.

2Develop both short-term and long-term vision

Albert Einstein once told the New York Times, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels.”

That new type of thinking needs to be focused on a strategic goal. You must have a vision for your company – an idea of where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

As an entrepreneur, you are the leader of your company, and your team members are looking to you to show them the path to success.

What’s your plan? You should be able to see the big picture as well as all of the steps it will take to reach your main goal. Then, you must communicate that vision to those on your team and ensure they each understand their individual roles in the plan.

3Let it all fall on your shoulders

stress-on-shoulders

Becoming an entrepreneur can be scary. Your success is now completely dependent on the work that you do. You can no longer fall back on a salary or benefits.

As an employee, if you had a bad day at work, you were still paid your salary, regardless. But as an entrepreneur, if your business isn’t successful, you won’t make any money. Plus, you now have others relying on you for their livelihood.

Ryan Farley is a typical example of corporate employee-turned-entrepreneur, quitting a fast-paced finance job to start lawn care marketplace LawnStarter Lawn Care. “I was used to working extremely long hours in the corporate finance world,” Farley told me. “I thought that would have conditioned me well, but nothing can prepare you for this amount of stress.

“It’s pretty common for founders to have the stress get so bad it affects your physical and mental health,” Farley continued. “But you have to press on, and you’re better off for it.” Prominent entrepreneurs like Brad Feld and Mark Suster, have expressed similar sentiments.

Working for yourself also means you need to be your own motivator. You no longer have a boss hounding you to get your work done. You need to stay organised and focused, and you’re going to have to be comfortable with hard work and long hours.

Related: 8 Mindsets That Will Set You On The Path To Success

4Get ready to be a jack of all trades

As an entrepreneur, you can’t say “That’s not my job.” Every job is your job now. There’s no one else to pick up the slack but you. You need to make sure everything in your business continues to run on track, and that may mean doing work you aren’t used to doing. You may need to be the accounting department, IT, marketing and more in addition to leading your company.

Entrepreneurs wear many different hats and are constantly learning new skills and working hard. If you think becoming an entrepreneur means you get to sit back and kick your feet up, you’d better stick to your day job.

As entrepreneur, author and investor Robert Kiyosaki has written on Twitter, “Entrepreneurs don’t finish when we are tired. We finish when we are done.”

5Be flexible, focused and positive

Attitude is everything in business. You can’t let challenges get in the way of your dream. Entrepreneurs need to be optimistic and stay focused on their goals. Your passion must drive you.

Related: An Entrepreneurial Mindset – Why And How To Develop One

As Steve Jobs once said in an interview with the Smithsonian Institution, “Unless you have a lot of passion about this, you’re not going to survive. You’re going to give it up. So, you’ve got to have an idea, or a problem or a wrong that you want to right that you’re passionate about; otherwise you’re not going to have the perseverance to stick it through. I think that’s half the battle right there.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​