Many people believe that inventing a new product, or starting up a new business as an entrepreneur, will automatically lead them to a fortune. However, in many cases the reverse is true. What sets a successful entrepreneur apart from the hundreds of people who try to make it rich every year?
Successful entrepreneurs will have certain characteristics and skills that set them apart from others. If you want to be successful, you will learn to develop and maintain these skills. These attributes are more important than you might think.
- Problem Solving and Ability to Find Creative Solutions
"I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others... I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent."- Thomas Edison (inventor).
Successful entrepreneurs do not ask prospective customers, “Do you think you might need this product?”. Instead, successful entrepreneurs are much more likely to ask the customer what problems they have and then find or invent the product that solves the problems. This way the customers do not have to decide whether they need the product, the need has already been established.
- A Good Radar System
"Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming."- Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Enterprises).
In interviews many successful entrepreneurs will say they owe their success to luck, or being at the right place at the right time. However, the truth is that most successful entrepreneurs have developed a highly sensitive radar system that helps to identify opportunities. Entrepreneurs are attuned to change and react to it quicker than the majority of us.
Entrepreneurs will always be voracious in their appetite for information and will be reading and scanning what is happening in society, looking for trends and how people (including their potential customers) are changing. Entrepreneurs have an ability to ask the sort of questions that prompt more informative answers than people may realise and then interpret those answers in light of other information received such as trends.
Entrepreneurs will see when something in society has changed or customer demands are shifting. Generally, successful business people keep in touch with what is happening in the world and will know when the Government is going to create a new regulation. Effective entrepreneurs initiate products and services that respond to new trends and changing conditions.
- High Emotional Intelligence
"Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you're generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make."- Donald Trump (real estate and entertainment mogul).
Having what is called a high emotional intelligence means that entrepreneurs will be able to read people very well. They seem to have an intuition about what is going to succeed and what is not by seeing how people react in the early stages of product planning and innovation. Entrepreneurs will take a loss on a product but will know quickly what will work and what will not and are more likely to cut their losses sooner than others.
Successful entrepreneurs are very good at reading their employees and will offer greater staff incentives for the hard work they want their teams to achieve.
- Ability to Market (not sell)
“We don't know how to sell products based on performance. Everything we sell, we sell based on image.”- Roberto Goizueta (1931 – 97) (U.S. chairman and C.E.O. of The Coca-Cola Company)
Successful entrepreneurs may not necessarily be good salespeople because they won’t push a relationship to close the deal. The entrepreneur is the one who get their foot in the door as such and builds the relationship with the customer. Then, and only then, can the salesperson close the deal.
Understanding the market, market share and distribution of resources is an important step for any entrepreneur. After this, closing the deal or making the sale becomes very easy.
- Networking and Relationship Building
"Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning."- Bill Gates
Excellent relationship building skills are used daily by successful entrepreneurs, who are always looking for new avenues, channels and resources to build their business. Burning bridges is a totally foreign concept to any entrepreneur. Instead building bridges and network chains is where they spend most of their energy and time. This is how entrepreneurs will effectively grow their business.
- Obstacle Jumping and Quick Learning
"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure." - Mary Kay Ash (founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics).
"An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he'll quickly learn how to chew it.” - Roy Ash ( co-founder of Litton Industries).
Entrepreneurs rely on understanding and reacting to change. This means they generally have to be quick learners and will tend to regard obstacles in their path as learning opportunities rather than stop signs.
Many entrepreneurs worked extremely long hours in the first year of the business, rather than give up on the idea. Generally, this effort is paid back when the success starts rolling in. Entrepreneurs are calculated risk takers and are willing to sacrifice a lot to make their business a success.
Successful entrepreneurs then are enterprising individuals who know when to rely on others in their teams. High emotional intelligence, advanced relationship building skills and an intuition about changes in the near future all lead to entrepreneurial success.