It started as a comment at the bottom of my 10 signs you’re probably an entrepreneur post on this blog, a few days ago. What are the traits of successful entrepreneurs?
I was quoting a Twitter friend, Andrew Patricio. I hope you saw that list. I identified easily. But I can’t help thinking about that comment left by Robert Hacker:
Next post should be a list of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs 🙂 If you do not write it I will.
That’s quite a challenge. What, besides the obvious, do successful entrepreneurs have in common? I know I’m not sure. But at least I can get the idea started. Maybe you can help. What am I missing?
- There’s a lot of talk about P-words: passion, perseverance, and persistence. I mistrust all three. A lot of unsuccessful entrepreneurs have them just as much. You have to have some variation on these traits, but you can have all three and still fail. You and I both know people who never made it and never stopped trying. My favorite P-word in entrepreneurship is planning, but that’s just me. Stubbornness is good too, even without starting with P.
- I like empathy, as in understanding how other people think and feel about things. Empathy leads to understanding what the people you sell to want, what they need, how they think, and how to best reach them. It’s hard to imagine somebody building a company without being able to put themselves in the buyer’s state of mind.
- A sense of fairness. For dealing with vendors, customers, and employees.
- Transferable values. This is closely related to the sense of fairness. I just don’t see people building businesses without believing in what they’re doing.
- Willingness to work hard, shoulder to shoulder with other people. Cliche, but true: the harder I work, the luckier I get.
- Knowing what they don’t know. To me that’s much more important than what you do know.
- Listening carefully. Shutting up.
- Vision for what they can build. Imagining a happy future. Dreaming.
- Making mistakes. You have to deal with failure. Keep pitching.
- Jumping viewpoints, like from short- to long-term in an instant, mixing those viewpoints together. That’s like dribbling, keeping your eyes up while managing the ball at your feet.
So there’s 10. Everybody likes lists of 10. Go ahead. Add some more. Make my day.