Starting a business is probably one of the most exciting things you can do but I am going to be straight with you (would you expect anything less?), it is probably one of the hardest things you can do too.
I could write you a VERY long list of great things that can and, hopefully, will happen to you on your business journey. I can also list all the things that you will learn as you grow, which is great.
But, equally, there will be some real challenges to face and days that will stop you in your tracks and make you wonder, ‘What the hell am I doing?’
Sound familiar? Of course it does!
Now let me tell you before I say anything else that feeling like that IS COMPLETELY NORMAL. You are definitely not the only person to have ever gone through the rollercoaster ride that you’re on right now and you certainly won’t be the last.
I would put money on the fact that every single business owner before you has gone through it too, including the most successful ones that you probably unnecessarily compare yourself to on a daily basis.
But we’re not here to talk about them, we’re here to talk about you and the skills/traits you need to have or develop to make your business a success.
Over the ten years I’ve been in business (with my businesses Hallmark Carpets & Flooring, Serenity Loves and now Jo Bevilacqua), I’ve been lucky enough to work with and socialise with lots of successful entrepreneurs.
Although they all have their own story, Successful Entrepreneurs have the following traits and skills in common:
You don’t have to be sitting at your desk 24/7 to feel and show commitment towards your business. Commitment is a mindset – it’s about being dedicated to making your business a success, deciding to see your journey through and promising to show up to do the work.
Some of the most committed people I know do or say the following:
- Don’t use words like ‘can’t’, ‘should’ or ‘maybe’. Instead, they can and will do what they’ve said they’ll do – they give their word and they stick to it.
- Visualise their goals and never consider not achieving them.
- State their commitment out loud because it makes them more accountable.
- Invest time, energy and money into their commitments and rework their lives to make time for them.
- Understand that there will be setbacks and see mistakes as opportunities to learn.
- View their commitments as fun and something they choose to do rather than a chore.
- Are passionate about their business.
The dictionary describes a person’s drive as “an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need”.
While it certainly seems as though some people naturally have more drive than others, I also think that drive tends to be fuelled by passion, commitment and finding something that really fits with what makes you tick as a person.
Starting and running a business can be challenging but drive brings together a combination of motivation, determination and competitiveness to succeed that can stop you falling at the first hurdle.
Perseverance is “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”.
Successful entrepreneurs understand that you will make mistakes sometimes, that things won’t go to plan and that you may hit roadblocks. They also recognise that you would never have learned to walk without falling over and that every mistake is an opportunity to learn.
With perseverance as a trait, someone will keep failing until they succeed, and they’ll have the resilience not to be put off by failures. They understand that a failure is just a chapter, not the whole story.
If they need to come at things from a different angle, they will.
4. Support from family and friends
Although I’m sure many successful entrepreneurs have managed without the support of their family and friends, it definitely easier when they’ve got your back.
Your family and friends will act as your cheerleaders and sounding boards, believing in you when you’re struggling to believe in yourself. They may also be able to help with practical things like keeping the kids entertained over school holidays and bringing you cups of tea (or something stronger) when you’re working late.
5. Peer group
It helps to have a peer group of fellow entrepreneurs who understand something of the journey you’re on, even if their businesses are very different to your own. I set up the She Lead Community Group to bring together women who are running businesses around their families because this comes with a specific set of challenges.
Successful entrepreneurs look to their peer group for support, advice, strength and inspiration.
When you run your own business, self-motivation is crucial.
Until your team grows, you’ll probably be personally responsible for bringing in new clients, delivering your products and services, doing your marketing, keeping your books in order and much more.
You won’t have a boss giving you tasks or deadlines, which means that you need to be self-motivated to succeed.
7. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses
All of the successful entrepreneurs I’ve known or read about are excellent at recognising their own strengths and weaknesses. They then build their business to play to their strengths and bring support on board for the tasks that they find tougher (or they invest in education to minimise their weaknesses).
It’s OK to find some aspects of running a business tough – you can’t know everything or be strong in every area because that just isn’t real life. Owning your strengths and weaknesses though means that you can create a business where your talents are able to shine.
I briefly mentioned resilience when I was talking about perseverance as a trait.
Successful entrepreneurs quickly dust themselves off every time they fall over. They don’t let challenges deter them, they don’t doubt themselves or their purpose, and they don’t easily change their path. If they hit an obstacle, they look for a way under, over or around it rather than seeing it as a dead end. They show up, they bounce back and they keep learning.
9. Good money management
Although it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, successful entrepreneurs are people who understand that a business is dependent on a sound financial plan, knowing the numbers, and keeping on top of the cash flow.
They’re also not afraid to make money because they understand that it’s OK to succeed from doing something well and that, in fact, money can enable them to make a positive difference in the world.
Do you recognise these traits in yourself? Don’t worry if they don’t all come naturally – many of these skills and traits can be learned and developed with practice and the right mindset. It helps if you’re passionate about your business. I always find that drives me, keeps me motivated and makes me more resilient. Are there any traits that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.