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5 Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur

We’re at a time in our history in which many people -- maybe even more than ever before -- are looking to test the entrepreneurial waters. For some it’s an obvious way to apply their skills and talents as the enter the world of the self-employed. For others, there’s interest in trying to turn a novel idea into a (hopefully) successful business. And for yet other folks, there’s an opportunity to buy or take over an existing company, to either grow it if it’s successful or turn it around if it isn’t. You have to applaud anyone who’s willing to give it a try and invest the resources it takes to create success.

 

One of the things I’ve learned from a lifetime of entrepreneurship is that there are several qualities an entrepreneur absolutely needs to have. Without them, it will be difficult to have a successful company. They include the following:

 

Willing to invest the time.

 

As an entrepreneur, you’re often getting up early and staying up late, and a lot of that time is spent on the business. You’re making calls, meeting with contacts, following the business news, keeping an eye on the company’s financial spreadsheets, thinking of ways to add new product lines ox brand extensions, preparing presentations, and much more. A person who wants to be an entrepreneur has to be ready to deal with all these items as well as others. There will be people competing for your attention and others who want to sell you things to improve your business. Of course, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned, so you’re going to be investing lots of time.

 

Able to maintain positive cash flow.

 

It’s pretty well-known that you’re going to have good days, weeks and even months and others that aren’t necessarily as good in terms of revenue. The entrepreneur is faced with numerous expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, vendor bills, health insurance payments, and professional services fees, and those are in addition to production and distribution costs. This means that you have to continually monitor your revenue and expenses to ensure that your company is profitable, and that there’s enough money to cover all the ongoing payments. This is where you or your business manager, controller or accountant need to be extra-alert. You’ll need to keep the money rolling in and possibly even plan for contingencies.

 

Committed to keeping a close watch on your marketplace.

 

One of the realities of the free enterprise system is that there’s lots of competition out there. For the entrepreneur, this means knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing at all times. Why? Because their actions could easily have an impact on your business. Let’s say you have a sales staff that interacts with customers. They’ll often know what your competitors are doing and you’re not because their customers will tell them. “Oh yeah, well company z is only charging this much compared to you charging this much.” Competitors innovate, introduce new products and services and change their offerings all the time. It literally pays for you to be on top of these developments, so you can evaluate your company might react to a change in the marketplace.

 

Ability to lead others.

 

There are bosses and there are leaders, and everyone has experienced interactions with both. I have always believed that it’s important to treat others as you want to be treated, and to encourage employees to work in a collaborative and collegial manner. When hiring employees, it’s important to realize that everyone on your team brings different strengths, weaknesses, skills, and talents. This is why you’ll want to recognize those talents and help each person further develop them while also developing new skills. If you have satisfied employees who are passionate about the work they’re doing, they’re more likely to stay around.

 

Being forward-thinking.

 

Today, your company is doing one thing; tomorrow, market forces might dictate that a product or service needs to change to meet the needs of a fickle marketplace. Some leaders do this well. They invest a lot of time and/or resources trying to stay on the forefront in the industry. Others don’t pay as much attention. Hopefully, over time, you’ll develop a strong ability to understand to an extent what your audience will demand in six months, or a year, or even in five years. As an entrepreneur, you must never become complacent.

We’re at a time in our history in which many people -- maybe even more than ever before -- are looking to test the entrepreneurial waters. For some it’s an obvious way to apply their skills and talents as the enter the world of the self-employed. For others, there’s interest in trying to turn a novel idea into a (hopefully) successful business. And for yet other folks, there’s an opportunity to buy or take over an existing company, to either grow it if it’s successful or turn it around if it isn’t. You have to applaud anyone who’s willing to give it a try and invest the resources it takes to create success.

One of the things I’ve learned from a lifetime of entrepreneurship is that there are several qualities an entrepreneur absolutely needs to have. Without them, it will be difficult to have a successful company. They include the following:

Willing to invest the time.

As an entrepreneur, you’re often getting up early and staying up late, and a lot of that time is spent on the business. You’re making calls, meeting with contacts, following the business news, keeping an eye on the company’s financial spreadsheets, thinking of ways to add new product lines ox brand extensions, preparing presentations, and much more. A person who wants to be an entrepreneur has to be ready to deal with all these items as well as others. There will be people competing for your attention and others who want to sell you things to improve your business. Of course, you don’t want to leave any stone unturned, so you’re going to be investing lots of time.

Able to maintain positive cash flow.

It’s pretty well-known that you’re going to have good days, weeks and even months and others that aren’t necessarily as good in terms of revenue. The entrepreneur is faced with numerous expenses including rent, utilities, payroll, vendor bills, health insurance payments, and professional services fees, and those are in addition to production and distribution costs. This means that you have to continually monitor your revenue and expenses to ensure that your company is profitable, and that there’s enough money to cover all the ongoing payments. This is where you or your business manager, controller or accountant need to be extra-alert. You’ll need to keep the money rolling in and possibly even plan for contingencies.

Committed to keeping a close watch on your marketplace.

One of the realities of the free enterprise system is that there’s lots of competition out there. For the entrepreneur, this means knowing who your competitors are and what they’re doing at all times. Why? Because their actions could easily have an impact on your business. Let’s say you have a sales staff that interacts with customers. They’ll often know what your competitors are doing and you’re not because their customers will tell them. “Oh yeah, well company z is only charging this much compared to you charging this much.” Competitors innovate, introduce new products and services and change their offerings all the time. It literally pays for you to be on top of these developments, so you can evaluate your company might react to a change in the marketplace.

Ability to lead others.

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