10 Key Factors that Create a Successful Entrepreneur
A little more than half of the businesses fail within the first four years of operation. What differentiates an entrepreneur from a successful entrepreneur? Let us look at 10 key factors that create successful entrepreneurs.
Passion is the spirit of a successful entrepreneur. Passion drives the entrepreneur to overcome challenges, barriers and failures. It is known as the strongest emotion of an individual, which can push entrepreneurs to great lengths, from sleepless nights to working your ass off, and thinking of ways to improve and make it work. If an entrepreneur lacks passion, he will be easily demotivated and discouraged by failures and challenges.
- Knowledge, skills and experience
Entrepreneurs need to have an in-and-out knowledge of the industry, market and their business. Without knowledge of how everything works, it’s a shot in the dark. Knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean having a formal education, although it adds substantial value to the entrepreneur’s knowledge. Experience alone can allow the entrepreneur to manifest knowledge of the business.
A great challenge faced by many entrepreneurs is putting that knowledge and experience into use. This is where the skills of the entrepreneur come in. For example, if the entrepreneur wants to enter the graphic designing industry, because he is passionate about it and has a creative mind (knowledge). It is important that the entrepreneur is proficient in using photo editing software, to realize the idea/knowledge of the entrepreneur into the physical world.
Do not worry if you feel you lack knowledge, experience or skills. Its never too late to learn, and today you almost learn anything and everything for free online. Everyone starts somewhere, do not be afraid to take the first step.
- Hard working
Being an entrepreneur is not easy, it comes with heaps of work which will take a lot of sleepless nights and stressful weeks to get it done. Successful entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk has admitted to working more than 12-14 hours a day on their business, which a lot more than a basic 9-5 job. The entrepreneur needs to be prepared to work tirelessly to realize their passion and dream into a reality.
- Plan and organize
Planning helps in almost all aspects of life, be it personal or professional, it always helps to have a plan. The entrepreneur needs to create a detailed business plan covering all aspects from A-Z of a business. This should also include risk management and financial planning which are two vital factors most businesses fail to focus on. The plan will work as a guide, preventing the entrepreneur to straying off topic.
- Consistent and focused
Entrepreneurs need to be able to focus on the business plan and be consistent with it in every business and strategic decision made. Inconsistency in strategy and quality of product/service, results in a poor customer satisfaction, which can destroy your business. Make sure to focus on what the market or the customers need by capitalizing on product/service gaps, it increases chances of success.
Of course, the business plan is just to guide the entrepreneur, you can change components and strategies of your business as you deem fit, adapting to the changes in the market and consumer needs (this is vital – more about this on adaptability).
Entrepreneurs need to be patient. As everything else in this world, success too, takes time. In the start, the main objective of entrepreneurs is breaking even with the cost, to survive and enter the market. It is important that entrepreneurs realize that making a profit can take time. Hence, entrepreneurs need to be confident, optimistic and patient to become a successful entrepreneur.
Optimism is a mutual factor that is seen in most of the successful entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, who all managed to revolutionize the world we live in today and leave a strong footprint in the history of entrepreneurship. They always managed to look for the best of any situation, and positively took failure (this is a factor most cannot do, they get discouraged and demotivated, but indeed, failures are the pillars of success. Why? Because they allow you to realize that something is not right, like an indicator requiring for a change in strategy, structure or any other component of the business plan).
I can’t stress enough on this factor being one of the key success factors of an entrepreneur. Most of the successful entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, revolutionized the world we live in today. One common factor in most successful entrepreneurs is their ability to stay positive even in the hardest times. Being optimistic about a situation allows entrepreneurs to look for the positive in any circumstance. This is important because Bill Gates and Steve Jobs stumbled upon many failures, challenges and obstacles. They overcame them, because they saw failure as a learning pillar, and an indicator requiring change. Giving up wasn’t in their dictionary. An entrepreneur should manifest a mindset that allows them to question the business – “If this isn’t working, what can I do to make it work?”
This question allows entrepreneurs to reflect upon their initial business plan, make changes and try harder. The passion of the entrepreneur encompasses a ‘Never Give Up’ attitude, which is key in becoming successful in any aspect, not only in business. This is only possible with an optimistic mindset. A pessimistic will be overwhelmed with the failures and challenges and quit.
Today’s modern world is constantly changing and evolving. It is vital for entrepreneurs to monitor these changes and adapt to them. A great example which highlights the importance of adaptability is Nokia’s Failure in the Mobile Phone Industry. Nokia was a mobile phone giant at the time smart phones were introduced. With time, smartphones overtook the mobile phone industry due since it was a novel innovation with advanced functionalities and improvements. Nokia failed to adapt this market change and eventually resulted in the failure of the giant.
Therefore, entrepreneurs need to be able to monitor the changes in consumer trends, market changes, keep track of competitor actions, and changes in macroenvironmental factors (political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal), and make necessary changes to adapt to these changes.
An entrepreneur needs to be self-confident of the products/services he/she is offering to the market, and of its success. The self-confidence alongside a sheer passion for the industry will push the entrepreneurs to overcome failures, challenges and barriers, creating a successful business venture and realize the dreams of the entrepreneur. I strongly believe two quotes, since they never fail to make me realize the importance of self-confidence:
“If you can’t believe in yourself, how can someone else?”
“If you believe in yourself, anything is possible”
- Teamworking and communication skills
Teamworking is essential in business because there are many functions and tasks that need to be handle simultaneously to maintain consistency and smooth flow of operations. For business startups, the entrepreneurs can handle all tasks since the business is small. But, with growth of the business, the entrepreneur needs to recruit a team of skilled and experienced individuals, who can add value to your business. It is recommended that a strong recruitment, selection and training strategy is used in the business.
Communication refers to the transmission of messages from one person to another in an effective way. Communication is key in both business and in teams. This allows entrepreneurs to make sure all individuals of the business are well informed about strategies, changes and objectives. This allows businesses to attain a synergy effect, where all individuals and departments are working towards one unified goal (this is usually the vision of the business).
Don’t be dis-heartened if you feel you aren’t able to meet one or two factors. No one was born into it. All successful entrepreneurs choose to pursue their passion and dream. You can do it too, all you must do is, choose and be consistent in making that choice at every point you reach.
Imagine you are at a cliff. You need to jump, take that leap of faith. Only then you’ll soar gloriously. You’ll hit a few rocks, tumble down the cliff, cut yourself, tear and hurt yourself. But “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. I promise you, if you hold on to the journey, your parachute will open, you will taste success.
However, if you choose to stand on the cliff, you will be comfortable and safe. But your parachute will never open. Comfort kills. Be uncomfortable, that what allows you to grow outside your comfort zone.