6 Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur By Cindy Butler, Director, WBC of Northern VA at CBP

When I first started learning about entrepreneurship, I was told that a successful businessperson needed to exhibit certain personality traits. The talk was all about who you needed to be, not what skills you could learn. What I now know to be true is that you need some of both – especially when you are in startup mode.

In this blog, we will talk about some traits that are necessary for success. We hope that you haven’t heard all these before.

  1. An ability and willingness to talk to strangers.  If this terrifies you, start going to Toastmasters meetings, or taking a class that requires you to stand in front of a group and talk. Make it a point to walk with your head up, making eye contact and saying hello to people you pass. Practice starting up short conversation with people in the line at your grocery store. This is not a talent that you can entirely pass to an employee. This is YOUR business, YOUR product or service, and people want to hear from those at the top of organizations. Besides, if you get good at public speaking, you can gain lots of free marketing by speaking to groups of your potential customers. 
  2. Risk tolerance.  You are expected to put “skin in the game” when starting your business. How much of your own money are you willing to risk? Would you use your home as collateral for a loan? Are you willing to sign contracts and leases on your own? Be very clear about what your limits are and what you stand to lose for each risk you take. If you can’t stomach the possibility of loss, you will not make gains.
  3. A passion for your work – and your business.  One of the lessons I learned by owning a business is that I love the work I do, but I don’t love running a business. That’s a distinction that many people don’t make in the planning stages. You must find your passion because that’s what will keep you going on days when you would rather sleep in, or you just can’t talk to that difficult client again! There’s nobody above you to turf your problems to, so do you have that extra push to power through?
  4. A willingness to confront difficult situations head on. You will not have the luxury of time to procrastinate when faced with challenges. You don’t need to have all the answers to every problem, but you need to be able to reach out and ask for help. And you need to be able to have conversations with difficult employees and customers. Again, you may have staff who can act on your behalf in some cases, but not all.
  5. The confidence to recognize that you are not always right, and to seek out opinions that may disagree with yours. We call it “stepping outside your echo chamber.” You can easily limit yourself to input that supports your own beliefs, but that can cut you off from opportunities for improvement. Widen your worldview; don’t minimize it.
  6. A tendency to look through the lens of gratitude. We really encourage our clients to set attainable goals for themselves so that they have frequents reasons to celebrate their business development. Mark such occasions as the payment of your first invoice, the first $1,000 in your business checking account, the signing of your first contract. If you don’t consider success anything before you’ve made your first million dollars, you will burn out and lose the passion for why you started in the first place.

The Women Business Center of Northern Virginia at Community Business Partnership helps aspiring entrepreneurs reach their goals through mentoring, workshops, and counseling specifically tailored to assist them to reach their full potential. If you have the qualities of a successful entrepreneur or need assistance to get there, we can help. Register for a free class or workshop at: https://cbponline.org/classes-counseling/class/all-classes/

To learn more about the traits that entrepreneurs need for success, give us a call today!

“Those who know, do. Those that
understand, teach.”

Community Business Partnership of Springfield, VA