The light bulb went off. You have an idea that you sincerely believe will launch you to success; the only thing left to do is to take the leap and start your own business. But do you have what it takes to succeed?
Starting a business is a courageous feat. It’s attractive to be your own boss and call all of the shots, but it is also comes with challenges like having the tough conversations and the weight of success or failure on your shoulders. Entrepreneurs must possess a few unique characteristics in order to achieve success. If you are thinking of beginning your own entrepreneurial journey, ask yourself if you have these 5 crucial characteristics that will help you propel your new business to the next level:
1. A bizarre sense of optimism. Entrepreneurs are pathologically visionary and believe that their ideas will work, no matter what. They believe that everything will ultimately play out for the best, and they will reach their targets with smashingly successful results.
Optimism not only drives entrepreneurs forward, it also helps them recover quickly from disappointments or failure. According to Barbara Fredrickson, author of Positivity and professor of psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill, “When people are able to self-generate emotion or perspective, that enables them to bounce back. It’s not just that you bounce back and then you feel good – feeling good drives the process.” It also helps to have a short-term memory, making it easier to leave the mistakes in the dust and focus on the bright road ahead.
2. Grit and perseverance. Entrepreneurs have a superhuman strength of character that allows them to handle every situation that comes their way. That passion, perseverance and stamina is grit, and it sets them starkly apart from the general population. Entrepreneurs with this trait are fueled with motivation and a strong work ethic that leads them to pursue their goals until they become a reality.
Muhammad Ali once famously responded to a reporter, “I don’t count my situps, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, ‘cause that’s when it really hurts.” Winners push through the pain to achieve their dreams. That stick-to-it-iveness and willingness to face both the ups and the downs is what gets entrepreneurs ahead.
3. Comfort taking calculated risks. For entrepreneurs, uncertainty and ambiguity are necessary to discover possibility. Smart entrepreneurs assess which risks are worth taking with hopes of a high reward – they enjoy the thrill of exploring the unknown.
Even a big risk-taker and well-known founder like Richard Branson believes in devising a worst-case scenario when evaluating if risks are worth taking. While planning the launch of Virgin Atlantic, Branson convinced the board of Virgin Records to start an airline by demonstrating that the company would lose only six months of profit if the plan failed. Entrepreneurs succeed when they can minimize risks while being open to crucial decisions and opportunities.
4. Life-long learners and innovators. Entrepreneurs are always conceptualizing ways to make things better. By refining their skills and continuing to ask critical questions, they are able to create efficiency and make the biggest impact wherever they go. Founders focused on growing stable companies seek knowledge constantly: they read, brainstorm, and share their experiences with other entrepreneurs. That thirst to learn keeps them fresh and on the edge, ready to generate new ideas.
5. Charisma and conviction. JFK had it. Successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs had it too. Entrepreneurs possess a rock star quality that can be used to inspire devotion from others in a way that is compelling and attractive. They radiate authentic enthusiasm, and can convince both customers and business partners to share in their closely held convictions and help their cause.
According to Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s: “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
So do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? If the answer is yes after identifying with these crucial traits, take Nolan’s advice and start doing something about it today!
Written by: Judson Sutherland, Founder & CEO