What is the No. 1 trait that is key to succeeding as an entrepreneur, and how have you cultivated it?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
You will fail more than you succeed. The key to success is not giving up. If things don’t go your way, learn what you can and try again. Resilience is what separates Steve Jobs and other successful entrepreneurs from people who had great ideas, but you have never heard of. One way to cultivate resilience is to learn what successful entrepreneurs had to go through before they found success.
Entrepreneurs who hold weak ethics and values will find themselves constantly chasing shortcuts that only drive short-lived results, which risks the long-term reputation of their leadership team and company. My co-founders and I do our best to reinforce our business ethics in every decision, deliverable and interaction we have as representatives of the company.
The most important aspect of a successful entrepreneur is their ability to adapt to the ever-changing market. Part of this adaptability comes from researching and anticipating market changes. The other part comes from structuring your business in a flexible way so it can bend and shift to market pressure rather than shatter from rigidity. Adapting to change is more effective than preparing for it.
4. Decision-Making Prowess
One of the most important traits of an entrepreneur is quick decision-making. The way to get better at it is to analyze the facts at hand as you have them, quickly weigh the pros and cons, and then go with your gut as far as what you think is best for the business.
5. Customer Needs Whisperer
To succeed in business, you must directly address your customers’ most pressing needs and problems. It’s not enough to just have a great idea or impressive technology. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who follow the trends, but who also figure out how to deliver products that are a perfect match for what people want right now.
6. Solid Business Understanding
It’s very vital to know the guts of the business. You should know what the business needs from you. You should know what customers need and what you can deliver to make a profit. I cultivated it by seeing people do business and then succeed or fail.
I was born into a family of entrepreneurs, so I got to see what it takes to be successful first hand. While it takes a combination of different traits to find success, the number one thing I find that most entrepreneurs embody is grit. As the owner of a business — for me, a marketing firm — it’s important to have the spirit to get creative and solve any challenge that comes your way.
8. Forward Momentum
Once during New York Fashion Week, the shipping company we used lost my whole collection. I was told the samples were lost for good, and that I should cancel my flight. I made about a hundred calls. Nothing. While on the plane, I used my last resource: I tweeted customer service. By the time I landed, my whole collection had been located. No matter what is happening, keep moving forward.
As an entrepreneur, everything you do revolves around accountability. When you’re first starting out, you’re accountable to yourself, your vision and, in my case, my new family. Once your business gains momentum and you start hiring, you become accountable to your employees. Of course, you’re always accountable to your clients. Knowing that so many people rely on me motives me day in and day out.
10. Networking Pro
Knowing how to leverage your network is an invaluable skill for any entrepreneur. Friends, family, clients and classmates can all be great resources for answering questions, making connections, and providing referrals.
11. Opportunity Finder
Being able to connect the dots between different industries helps find opportunities that others may miss. Read a lot of different blogs on a variety of subjects to cultivate this ability. One quick tip is to subscribe to different subreddits to stay posted on the latest news in different industries.
While being emotionless might be an impediment in other parts of your daily life, it becomes a huge advantage in entrepreneurship. No more is this more evident than in trend forecasting! Perhaps being emotionally dead isn’t the correct way to put it, however, having the awareness to look at something that you might find annoying (i.e. weird things that young people do) as the next biggest thing has helped me stay relevant and make decisions that will benefit my team in the long-term, even if those decisions don’t always look “smart” in the short-term.
13. Idea Simplifier
By far, one of the most important traits that has been key in building a multimillion-dollar business from scratch is the ability to communicate complex ideas in simple terms. For our customers as well as our team members, being able to communicate complex ideas simply allows me to sell more effectively, create a following and keep things moving. People quickly shut down when something is complex.
In general, you should talk to your customers, build what they want and iterate quickly. But often talking to your customers equates to a long list of features requests. This is where you need to find how to accomplish 90 percent of what your customers want, with only 10 percent of the effort and time. We encourage everyone in the company to take a look at their daily to-do list and eliminate the low-value tasks.
Above all else, the strongest entrepreneurial trait is knowing thyself. We know this to be true because of the way businesses grow. Companies hire for roles based around skills and experience. An entrepreneur that knows their weaknesses will hire employees that will balance the workload while elevating the overall ability to work on what’s most fitting for them.