Five Attitudes Every Successful Entrepreneur Needs to Develop
What does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur? Sadly, there are no simple choices or easy answers.
Any simple list of required skills will fail to capture what’s necessary in a world of complex, innovative, and forward-thinking business ideas. However, successful entrepreneurs do display certain attitudes that are worth exploring and developing.
Entrepreneurship is a state of mind and not a job title. This means that the way you approach your business is as important as the hard skills that you bring to the table. What attitudes are the most important? Here are five that will help you get your business – whatever industry or sector you target – off the ground.
You really need to understand your customers. Your business simply doesn’t exist without them.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you can do this, then you can begin to understand what your customers need and where their pain points are. Only then can you create a business that is focused on solving these problems.
The best businesses are customer centric, and the best entrepreneurs spend lots of time with their customers in order to build a business that meets their customer’s needs. An empathetic business is a successful business, so learn how to practice empathy.
Book recommendation: Empathy: Why It Matters, And How To Get It
“When the going gets tough the tough get going”, said Billy Ocean.
Perseverance isn’t about wilfully ignoring the facts that are before you, but taking the inevitable knocks and having the drive to keep going. Even the most successful business goes through tough times, and you’ll undoubtedly need to weather the storm occasionally to keep your business on track. It’s easy to give up and harder to keep going, so learn how to choose the hard way.
When you stick at something you will eventually succeed. Make sure that you are prepared to keep going when others might give up. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and that’s what perseverance is about: the ability to keep trying until you are able to do it well, whatever that ‘it’ might be.
Article recommendation: Why Resilience Is the Key Ingredient for Successful Entrepreneurship
Starting a business with the sole ambition of making loads of money isn’t wise. Building a business requires too much emotional investment from you, which means that the dollar-signs alone won’t drag you through the tough times that you will undoubtedly encounter.
Having a greater purpose, one that inspires you and gives you the energy to stay true to your vision, means that you can bring people along with you who share your enthusiasm. Purpose is critical for small businesses: your initial employees and customers are likely to share your passion and form the nucleus of your business.
Understand your purpose and wear your heart on your sleeve: know that your business will make the world a better place, and inspire people to be a part of your success.
Book recommendation: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
Perseverance and purpose suggest a driven, focused, and determined entrepreneur. But you also need room to change your approach to your business when necessary.
Any business will need to adjust its plan to match reality: when the facts change, you should be ready to change your mind. This doesn’t mean that you should listen to any and all advice - pivoting your business model every 90 days doesn’t help - but it does mean that you should be receptive to the objective data that your business generates.
You need to collect relevant business data, regularly interpret what’s happening, and be ready and willing to react to this objective information.
Book recommendation: Data Driven Decision Making for Small Businesses: Unleashing the Power of Information to Drive Business Growth
Ultimately, all you have is your reputation. As an entrepreneur running a small, fledgling business you will almost certainly have to ask people to have faith in you personally. Would you trust yourself?
Be a respectful person, help other people, and, above all, be reliable to ensure that your reputation precedes you. This isn’t about gaming the system or manipulating people, it’s about being part of a community of entrepreneurs. No (business)man is an island, and you’ll need all the help you can get for your business to succeed.
A book recommendation: Authenticity: What Customers Really Want
A business is more than a product or service; it’s you
Many businesses fail. But that’s okay because often the individual entrepreneurs that were involved in these failures go on to build new, successful businesses. The savvy entrepreneur recognises that success in business is as much about them – and the lessons and attitudes drawn from their failures - as the money-making ideas that they have.
Ideas are cheap. Follow-through is hard. This is why you need to work on developing these important entrepreneurial attributes to reach your goals.