For entrepreneurs, coming up with an innovative concept and launching a business is exhilarating. If you've run a company even for a short time, you know that being a successful entrepreneur requires many skills. These include vision, creativity and ingenuity—topped off with a great deal of drive and determination.
The road to entrepreneurship may be a challenging one, but the fact is every large company started out small. In honor of the contributions entrepreneurs make to the business landscape, National Entrepreneurship Month is celebrated every November.
If you want to join the nation's 30.2 million small businesses and be a successful entrepreneur, there are some tried-and-true traits you'll need to adopt. I talked to 30 entrepreneurs to find out the secrets to being a successful entrepreneur. Here are their top tips.
“Nothing can predict actual consumer response to your product or service. Sometimes you have to ignore risk and abandon what you know and what your numbers are telling you and just run with your gut."
—Igor Bekker, co-founder, MADE OF
“Trusting my gut has always been a value in my entrepreneurial endeavors. While guiding your company with focus and a clear vision, also be open to new opportunities that present themselves."
—Joshua Segal, founder and CEO, Adloop Media
“The successful entrepreneur keeps his or her eyes open to risks, while operating with a sense of faith that all is on the right track."
—Reid Carr, CEO, Red Door Interactive
“I am a firm believer in always trusting your gut. Following your instincts means keeping your vision intact. Things may not always work out the way you hope, but you have to take a leap of faith for what you believe in."
—Adam Froman, CEO, Delvinia
Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
“Creative thinking outside the box may be old school, but it's still the secret to business success. Building a business is all about solving problems, all of the time. You just have to be creative to get it done in the smartest way."
Björn Öste, CEO, Good Idea
“A successful entrepreneur needs to be able to solve a problem with his or her product or service. It helps when those problem-solving products and services also have a beneficial social impact."
“Entrepreneurs look at problems and the world in a different way than most. They look at what can be. They are creative and not adverse to risk or breaking the rules to achieve their goals."
—Bryan Nooner, president, Twist and Seal
“Creativity and consistency are crucial to being a successful entrepreneur. A good idea won't be enough unless you stick to it day after day, week after week, month after month and years into the future."
—John Collopy, owner and broker, RE/MAX Results
Consistency and persistence are key. Your business does not play out in a straight line. There will be times when you will feel like giving up. Those are the times you need to show up the most.
—Randi Levin, founder, Randi Levin Coaching
Comfort with Uncertainty
“Nothing is black and white, and you can't always be sure that the decisions you make will be the best possible ones for the business. It can be a real roller coaster, where each success feels like such a high, but every stumble feels so tough."
—Natalie Gordon, founder, Babylist.com
“Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. It requires a strong commitment to an idea that others may not believe in as much as you do. The most successful entrepreneurs embrace uncertainty."
—David Thomas, owner, Evident
Willingness to Work Hard
“The initial spark doesn't last very long; you have to replace it with drive. Entrepreneurship takes 10 percent creativity and 90 percent hard work."
—Lior Rachamany, founder and CEO, Dumbo Moving + Storage
“Dreams don't become reality without hard work. For the first 10 years of our business, which my brother, Ahmed, and I founded in 1999, I worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week. Those years were full of passion and determination, and the hard work was worth it."
—Reem Rahim Hassani, co-founder, Numi Organic Tea
Vision and Faith
“A successful entrepreneur constantly has eyes and ears on industry trends and doesn't hesitate to pursue new ideas to realize previously untapped potential."
—David Wachsman, founder & CEO, Wachsman
“Especially in the early stages of building a business, people will tell you that your business won't work. While it's good to listen to constructive feedback, it's very important to ignore the naysayers and stay focused on your vision."
—Rob Webber, CEO and founder, MoneySavingPro
“You must make a leap of faith to be a successful entrepreneur. You learn that failure leaves you with a few bumps and learning lessons, but won't kill you."
—Jacques Spitzer, founder and chief creative officer, Raindrop Branding & Advertising
Persistence and Commitment
“A successful entrepreneur is resilient. Having passion and a love of the work carries entrepreneurs through some of the biggest business trials and tribulations."
—Gabriele Giancola, co-founder and CEO, qiibee
“Every 'overnight' success was 10 years in the making. Patience to persevere and faith in the journey and outcome is where all of the magic happens."
—Kelly Roach, founder, Kelly Roach International
“Consistency and persistence are key. Your business does not play out in a straight line. There will be times when you will feel like giving up. Those are the times you need to show up the most."
—Randi Levin, founder, Randi Levin Coaching
“Keep consistent and persistent. This allows you to keep moving forward. You may feel complacent and have reached a stage where you're happy, but others are still moving forward and will leave you behind."
—Tracey Munro, owner, Pro Publishing House
“Being a successful entrepreneur takes an extraordinary amount of resilience and grit. We're constantly pushing the boulder uphill. An ability to persist through the tough times is required for success."
—Sandi Lin, CEO and co-founder, Skilljar
“You have to be relentless towards building up your company. A lot of success in business comes from just not stopping."
—Daniel Ameduri, co-founder, FutureMoneyTrends.com
Ability to Rise Above Rejection and “Failure"
“A core attribute of the successful entrepreneur is to rise above rejection. The inability to bounce back from rejection has undoubtedly kept countless brilliant business concepts, business strategies and business opportunities from ever really taking flight."
—Rhonda Moret, founder, Elevate For Her
“Success does not come without failures. The important thing is not giving up when struggles and challenges appear. It's a matter of finding the solutions and trying different methods until you find one that works. Then sticking with it, replicating it and building upon it."
—Charisse Mackenzie, president, Saturn Wealth
“Whenever I get a suggestion or outright complaint, I take it as valuable feedback and act on it, if it's in the best interest of all. I've learned that if a client makes a suggestion, it usually means that many others would like the same thing."
—Helena Escalante, founder, EntreGurus
Penchant for Staying Positive
“Having a positive attitude is crucial in maintaining a successful business. This helps to keep you and your team motivated and happy. We take group lunch breaks, walk and play music to keep the environment happy and motivating for everyone."
—Laura Orrico, president, Laura Orrico Public Relations
“As the leader, you can't expect employees to exhibit more enthusiasm or passion for the journey than they perceive from your actions. I send a weekly CEO update that congratulates an employee for exceptional performance and provides inspiration for the week ahead."
—Ryan Gerhardy, CEO, Pitchly
“Positivity is critical. No one is going to believe in your product/service as much as you. Staying confident in its success is a must to overcome the inevitable challenges."
—Alex Zlatin, author of Responsible Dental Ownership
“Time off allows me to recharge and view my business from a high level. I've worked myself 'to the bone' in the past, but now I'm much more strategic and intentional than just 'busy.' "
—Austin Netzley, founder, 2X
“Successful entrepreneurs make time for personal and team growth by encouraging wellness and feedback."
—Chris Lumry, founder, OneStep
“Work-life balance is vital for my health and happiness and that of my team. Working hard should be the exception, not the rule. An unbalanced entrepreneur creates an unbalanced team, and an unbalanced team can't help a company succeed."
—Ross Kimbarovsky, founder, Crowdspring
Read more articles on leadership skills.
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