Everyone around you says that they think you're going to be running your own business some day, but you're never quite sure, yourself. Successful entrepreneurs tend to have certain traits that help them succeed, sometimes against long odds. It may not be their first business in which everything works just right, but by the time they come to the second, third, fourth, or more, they know exactly what to do and how to get it done.
But how do you know if this is going to be your destiny, or if you're going to be back at your 9-to-5 in just a few months? Let's look at some of these entrepreneurial traits and see how you measure up.
Great entrepreneurs are often labeled obsessive, rebellious, or troublesome when they're young. They tend to ask why, and be unsatisfied with answers that don't make sense to their logic. If they think there's a better way, they don't quit until they prove themselves right, or find that they're incontrovertibly wrong.
When you just can't walk away from something you know you can make better, you just might be an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs tend to see details that others don't in everything, from customer processes to hobbies to supply chains. For better or worse, those who are destined to be great entrepreneurs sometimes have to remind themselves to look at the whole picture, because they're so caught up in how this tiny piece fits into the larger perspective.
When you have to remind yourself to look at the forest and the trees, you just might be an entrepreneur.
Great entrepreneurs get excited. They come up with an amazing idea or a new way to solve an existing problem, and they find themselves tapping into what seems like an inexhaustible supply of energy while they plan out how to put their idea into play. Their enthusiasm is contagious. As they explain their concept to people around them, whether friends or family, potential investors, or employees, there's a sense of positive well being that spreads out from them.
When you can't contain your enthusiasm for your new project, you just might be an entrepreneur.
One crucial trait of great entrepreneurs is that they don't wait for other people to give them criticism. While they're receptive when they get it, those who are destined to succeed in the world of business don't rest on their laurels; their continual quest for improvement extends to themselves. They're constantly striving to do more, be better, develop skills that they don't have, and they ruthlessly demand more of themselves than they do their employees. They understand that if they expect their employees to give their all to a business, then they must lead by example.
When you're always examining your process to see how you, too, can do better, you just might be an entrepreneur.
There are disappointments in the world of startups. Businesses don't always succeed, even when it seems like absolutely everything has been set up for success. Maybe you didn't adequately communicate with your audience, or you didn't have adequate cash flow. Whatever the reason, successful entrepreneurs recover quickly from these failures. They conduct the post-mortem, learn from their mistakes—and then they move on. They find the next passion, the next project, or the next iteration, and they dive in head first. They don't spend weeks miserable about what went wrong; they pick themselves up and dive in again. That irrepressible courage to try again is a huge part of what makes a great entrepreneur.
If you think "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" is the truest advice ever written, you just might be an entrepreneur.
When you're an entrepreneur, everyone wants to give you advice. Some of it is incredibly powerful and deeply helpful for your business. Some of it is useless and unhelpful. Some of it is somewhere in between. Some of it would be helpful, but only if you made certain changes first.
Great entrepreneurs have the ability to sort through the advice they're given and determine what exactly they need to do with it. They don't get overwhelmed—or if they do, it doesn't last—and they're able to accept mentorship without letting someone else's vision eclipse their own. Of all these skills, this is the one that most entrepreneurs have to learn and develop over time, though some inherent talent is of course hugely beneficial.
If you're able to say "Thanks for that, I'll take it under advisement," and mean it, you just might be an entrepreneur.
Strong People Skills
Great entrepreneurs know how to encourage their employees to offer up their very best work at each and every opportunity. They know how to develop their skills, educate them as to branding, and challenge them to exceed expectations.
This behavior isn't about being manipulative or self-serving, but is informed by an honest sense of "we're all in this together," and as such, creates a positive work environment that is fun, exciting, and productive.
If people come to you for advice, and you know both how to smooth over a conflict while keeping it from reoccurring in the future, you might be an entrepreneur.
If you're just starting out in the world of business, these traits are all things you should look for in yourself. If you don't have them already, running a business is what you are sure you want to do with your life, then look for areas where you are weak, and look for ways to strengthen and improve those weaknesses.
That, too, is a trait of a great entrepreneur.