What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common?
Most entrepreneurs are like a Lady GaGa song: they’re just Born This Way. Yet even the most attuned business owners have challenges that can potentially hinder them from reaching their potential and creating a successful company.
All business leaders have something to learn. Below, we look at some of these lessons that have refined some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. These are common threads that bind them and set them apart from the pack.
1. They Cast a Vision for the Purpose and Direction of Their Company
Entrepreneurs always know why their company exists and where it is headed. They have a deep understanding of these two concepts either because they know them instinctively or they have learned them through both their successes and failures. They can communicate both the purpose and the direction of their company in a clear, succinct manner to their board, company executives, and the entire team on all levels. They inspire both the entry-level workers and the CEOs by casting a vision that is both practical and powerful.
What does it mean to cast a vision? In a nutshell, the entrepreneur communicates what the company is about, the culture that the leadership will create and the team will cultivate, and what the end game is. The vision is a roadmap that consists of dreams, goals, benchmarks, and assessments for performance. The vision gives everyone a clear understanding of their role in the organization and how their personal objectives align with the company’s aspirations.
2. They Seek Out Opportunities for Business Growth and Success
Entrepreneurs don’t just allow things to happen. Rather, they make them happen. Business leaders plan, scheme, organize, discuss, research, and innovate. Their intentional leadership sets the pace for the entire company. They are always moving forward and never satisfied with the status quo.
Successful leaders ask:
What are the gaps in our company’s performance?
What tools can we utilize to improve our processes?
What new products or services can we create or sell?
Who do we need to hire to lead this segment of our company?
How can we improve employee satisfaction and performance?
How can we best serve or connect with our customers?
How can we boost our reputation or image in the industry?
What is the competition doing that we need to be doing?
3. They Recognize and Address Failure Head-On
Even the best entrepreneurs are not immune to mistakes and failures — neither are the people in their company. Successful entrepreneurs embrace failures as much as they do successes because they recognize both as teaching tools that strengthen the company.
Some of the greatest failures can lead to some of the best ideas and solutions if everyone in the room is willing to accept responsibility for the failure — starting with the company’s owner, the entrepreneur.
The question every successful entrepreneur asks is: What did we learn from this mistake?
A careful and honest analysis of the defeat opens up a world of possibilities for doing it better the next time. It does not matter if…
The company went bankrupt.
The product did not sell.
The current system is not working.
The employee had to be fired.
The business fell prey to a PR disaster.
What matters is what comes next. What is the entrepreneur’s reaction? What is the very next step that he or she will take?
4. They Recognize Great Talent and Know How to Utilize It
Some companies only hire within. Other companies only seek fresh new employees to bring new life into the organization. Both are great strategies. However, an entrepreneur’s guiding principle is neither. Rather, he or she is on a relentless pursuit to discover and utilize the best talent on the planet regardless of where that individual resides.
Question: Are you making the best use of the talent within your organization? Are you seeking the best talent in your city, region, or nationwide? OR are you settling for mediocrity just to fill a position?
Successful entrepreneurs continuously assess talent and redistribute abilities as needed. It does not matter that a person was hired to perform a function. If the entrepreneur discovers abilities in this person that would be best suited somewhere else in the company, then it’s a win for everyone to assign the team member if that person is willing to take on a new role.
Entrepreneurs hire HR managers who are resourceful recruiters and know how to attract ridiculously talented individuals to work for their company. They are willing to pay a little more, add a few perks, and provide a favorable working environment to retain employees that demonstrate exceptional abilities.
5. They Embody a High Level of Discipline and Maturity
Entrepreneurs are willing to do things that no one else will do so that they can receive the benefits that no one else will get. They immediately recognize what is important and what is a distraction and respond to both accordingly.
Entrepreneurs get up early, stay up late, go the extra mile, and demonstrate exemplary behavior. When everyone else is whining and complaining about the industry, their income, their circumstances, or how unfair life is, and people are, successful entrepreneurs take full responsibility for everything around them, take control of their circumstances, and make life happen.
Question: What areas of your life do you lack discipline? How is this lack of discipline affecting your personal life, and, in turn, affecting your company?
Entrepreneurs don’t look at the positive or negative side of things. Instead, they merely see cause and effect. They don’t rely on belief. Rather, they rely on action. They are rarely governed by their emotion. Adversely, they rely on their knowledge, intellect, and common sense. How they feel on any given day is likely to pass. What they do in spite of how they feel, however, is likely to have lasting consequences.
They can cut through the crap to see what needs to be done and not hesitate to do it.
6. They Create Healthy Relationship with Others
Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to work with a jerk. Nobody wants to be around someone who is highly critical, manipulative, controlling or fails to see the good in others. Even worse is trying to work with someone who lies, cheats, and steals to get what they want.
A successful entrepreneur has a sincere and authentic desire to develop healthy personal and working relationships and will do what it takes to see those relationships flourish. What does this mean from a practical standpoint?
Are always honest, yet know how to communicate their honesty.
Do not think twice about apologizing when they’ve made a mistake.
Reward and praise others for doing a good job.
Use motivation — not manipulation — as a tool to stimulate action.
Learn to laugh…a lot!
Find solutions for conflict — not play the blame game.
7. They Know How to Have Fun
Believe it or not, successful entrepreneurs are successful because they DON’T WORK ALL THE TIME. They understand the balance between work, family, and personal fun, and they respect that balance. Within the organization, entrepreneurs know when and how to give their workers time off. They throw company parties, outlandish contests, and — when it’s appropriate — spend time with their team outside of work.
Entrepreneurs go home and spend time with their family and friends. They veg in front of the TV and watch the game or spend a Saturday on the green. They have a hobby that takes their minds off the cares of the world. They cherish time spent with others, and they don’t apologize for that occasional moment when they do nothing at all.
In short, entrepreneurs understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. They study from other successful business owners, read books about entrepreneurship, attend leadership seminars, and find out all they can about their lot in life. They learn the most important concept of all: how to lead an organization without self-destructing.