Traits of Successful Business Owners
Small business startups are literally critical to the economic health of the nation. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the country’s 28+ million active small businesses drive more than half of all sales and provide 55 percent of all newly created jobs annually.
Clearly, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving, and nothing – not financial crises, political turnovers, economic downturns or even terror can dampen its drive.
But those 28 million businesses represent just a fraction of the total number of new startups launched each year. According to Forbes, every month an estimated 543,000 million new companies launch, and every month an even greater number close their doors. So what sets successful business owners apart from those who never manage to make a go of their dreams? This article will explore common traits of successful business owners.
Trait 1: The patience to plan.
Entrepreneur states that approximately 82 percent of all startups fail for one reason: mismanagement of cash flow. In other words, money management skills, adequate startup funding resources and a plan for future cash issues simply must be in place or even the most creative startup ideas won’t have much of a platform to grow from.
While it is true that drafting up a business plan is definitely not the most glamorous part of owning a business, this step is essential to avoid early, fatal cash flow issues. With a written business plan in place, you already have a good idea going into business of what to do with extra cash when you have it and how to find cash fast when you need it. Having a written business plan in place will also help you if you need to apply for a business loan.
What this means is that all successful business owners are first and foremost patient, dedicated planners and money managers.
Trait 2: Tolerance for risk.
Even in today’s uncertain economic times, it is still a much safer choice to take a job with an employer and draw a steady paycheck. Stepping out on your own to launch a new business takes guts!
It also takes a fairly high tolerance for risk, no matter how much early market analysis, careful planning and a detailed launch strategy suggest the business is highly likely to succeed.
But according to Investopedia, the type of risk a successful business owner takes is one of precise calculations that allow for the presence of a handful of necessary unknowns.
In other words, anyone can take risks and hope for a win. But the successful business owner only takes those risks after doing everything possible to ensure that the risk will pay off in future business success.
Trait 3: Flexible and resilient.
As an entrepreneur starting a new company, you know going in that you will be looking at long hours and an even longer to-do list during the first months and years of doing business for yourself. For this reason, Business Insider cites “flexible” and “resilient” as two of the critical traits any successful business owner must have.
You will wear many hats – some glamorous and some not so glamorous – until you can afford to bring in more staff. And you will need to learn to weather seasonal and economic upturns and downturns, respond promptly to customer feedback and make the necessary changes to keep your doors open until you are out of the startup phase and can begin to build lasting stability.
The most successful business owners either come in with sufficient flexibility and resiliency to weather their startup days, or they find a mentor and learn these skills in the interests of succeeding as an entrepreneur.
Trait 4: Willingness to network and sell.
Even among marketers, the word “sales” often comes across with a negative connotation. People envision a salesperson as someone pushy and relentless – someone that is not too pleasant to be around.
But here, the statistics show otherwise. The $5+ trillion in annual retail sales in this country, at least half of which is generated by independent businesses, shows that anyone can network and sell if they really want to learn how.
The statistics also show that any successful business must sell to succeed. As an entrepreneur, this will mean you must become willing to study different networking and sales styles and find a style that works well with your personality and product.
Trait 5: Passionate.
While this is one of those traits that is nearly impossible to measure quantifiably, it comes up in nearly every list ever written of “successful entrepreneurial traits.” It would seem there is no substitute for a feeling of total, all-encompassing enthusiasm and passion for what you are doing.
Just like the endorphin rush of falling in love helps new couples gloss over small irritations (that often become big irritations later after those endorphins wear off), so too does it appear that passion helps the new entrepreneur weather the long hours, the financial constraints, the high rejection rate, the steep learning curve and the other common perils and pitfalls of the journey to business success.
Passion is so important, in fact, that Forbes even devotes an entire article to the four main reasons it is critical to success: it drives creativity, motivation, loyalty and startup survival. So if you feel that rush of passion whenever you think about your business idea, and if you still feel that passion as you go to work each day to make your startup a success, you have at least as good a chance as any person of being one of the few who achieves lasting business success!
These five traits are by no means the only qualifications that set successful business owners apart from the pack. But, all together, they provide a comprehensive, well-balanced support system and skill set to give you and your new company its best possible chances for a bright future.