If so, you’re not alone. Given the current economic climate and the vast technological changes more and more people are becoming their own bosses, from mumpreneurs seeking more flexible working conditions to redundancy forcing a fresh look on making an income, each day a new business idea comes to life.
What’s more, technological innovations, social media, and content marketing have arguably made it easier than ever for very small businesses to thrive and survive.
But what does it take to cut it as an entrepreneur?
Here are ten character traits that many successful business owners share:
To succeed in business you need to be able to generate ideas. You’ll want to think outside of the box to allow fresh thoughts and new solutions to emerge. And then you need to sift through these so you can pinpoint the opportunities that will translate into wealth.
2. Being an implementer
That said, ideas are nothing unless you actually make them happen. In fact, one of the big differences between an average business owner and a truly successful business owner is the amount of stuff they get done.
You can’t sit around talking about your plans. Instead, you’ve got to get on and actually do it! This requires planning, organization, and the ability to schedule and order work so you can deliver projects and ideas on time.
Your business is not always going to go well.
There will be times when you’ll make a mistake, upset a customer, or see an idea fail. The key is to accept that there will be ups and downs and then develop the resilience to deal with the emotions the journey will create.
Your mindset is also important. If you see mistakes as failures, you will struggle to move forward. But if you see mistakes as an opportunity to learn how NOT to do something and then change your approach as a result, that mistake could turn out to be very valuable.
Running your own business is not easy. And whilst it has its advantages over employment you’re likely to find yourself working ridiculous hours, especially in the early days. That’s because when you run your own business there’s a lot to do. Initially, you may try to do everything yourself to save money and that means a lot of the activities that you engage in will not be directly billable.
For example, you need to factor in the time needed for your marketing, your bookkeeping, and your invoicing. You’ll need to plan time for networking, social media, and securing new leads. There’s also the thinking and the planning time necessary to keep your business on track and to ensure it’s moving in the right direction.
This could mean that some of your relaxation and socializing time needs to be sacrificed in favor of your business. What’s more, you’ll need to keep a sound head and do what you can to secure that all-important homework balance to ensure you stay sane!
Business is all about relationships. After all, people buy from people they know, like, and trust, and it’s your job to make that happen for you. You need to feel comfortable talking with people, listening, understanding your customer, and encouraging them to do business with you.
You’ll find this groundwork in relationship building is critical. After all helping is often the quickest route to selling and by building relationships you will also create valuable business contacts. Good contacts are invaluable because they can help spread your business message on your behalf.
Business networking is another related skill to develop and hone. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start face-to-face networking. Such events are invaluable for building your connections as well as providing the opportunity to discuss things and share ideas and knowledge with other business owners.
And don’t dismiss online networking. Building your social media connections through the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can help your business grow beyond your immediate geographical locality. And when you meet someone who you really click with, you can use the likes of Skype and email to deepen that relationship further.
6. Number savvy
In business, you’ve got to be focused on making money and that requires keeping a close eye on your bottom line. Remember this is business and not a hobby!
Successful business owners are competent at making decisions. This means they’ll spend time weighing up the pros and cons of the various options and then choose the best course of action depending on what they know at the time. If you cant make decisions, you could find yourself spending too much time faffing. What’s more, delays could be costly – especially if you miss the boat.
Confidence is critical in business. It will help you get through the challenging times – and those times will come. Perhaps your bank balance is diminishing or your flow of new customers has dried up. Perhaps that idea you were banking on failed to meet expectations. After experiences like these, you need to be able to pick yourself up, re-group, and focus on your next move.
What’s more, if you feel confident in your business and your ability to deliver what you promise, customers will pick up on this and have more faith in working with you.
And don’t confuse confidence with an outgoing personality. I know plenty of introverts who still have what it takes. What’s more, confidence can be developed. You could work with a business coach or explore some popular self-help books. In addition, you’ll find that your business confidence naturally increases as your business develops. As your own boss you’ll learn very quickly and there’s nothing like some positive customer feedback to really uplift you.
9. Forward thinking
Take a look at the High Street. Some of the traditional brick-and-mortar businesses that have recently gone into administration have failed partly because they didn’t address the market trend and did not adapt their business appropriately.
To ensure your business stands the test of time it’s crucial you keep one eye on the future. Anticipate trends. Even better, set trends! If you become aware of a shift in your industry, it’s crucial you stay abreast so you don’t get left behind.
10. Being a marketer
Many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the day-to-day running of their business that they forget one of the most critical activities. Marketing.
If this is one of your weak spots sure you can hire some professional help. But you also need to take some responsibility. In fact, it’s well worth spending at least an hour a day focusing on activities that can help you find and keep customers. There are lots of scopes to do this. For example:
- Research your ideal customer and define their Buyer Persona
- Send some follow-up emails to potential clients
- Search out business opportunities on Twitter
- Write a blog post that offers a solution to your customer’s pinch points etc.
Over to you
Whilst these are all important character traits there will be some that I’ve missed. And if you currently don’t possess something I’ve mentioned above it doesn’t mean you can startup. Running your own business will teach you so much and if you have the passion and determination to succeed, you’ll find you’ll quickly develop a personality for success.
So what have I missed? What personality traits do you think are critical for business success? Please tell me in the comments below.
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