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The 7 qualities that make a successful entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs aren’t just born successful, they use endless traits and tools to get ahead – do you have what it takes?

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These traits determine how successful you’ll be

Take a look at all of the radically successful entrepreneurs you read about in the news or see raking in billions of dollars. Do you think they were born to be entrepreneurs? Do you think they created themselves?

That’s a debate that isn’t singularly answerable. Yes, there are some people who are born with genetic predispositions toward leadership, but at the same time, most successful entrepreneurs started their careers as very different people than they ended up, going through a transformative process that helped them carve their place.

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What really matters is a set of characteristics, which will cumulatively determine how successful you can be as an entrepreneur. Are you cut out to start your own business? These seven qualities will tell you:

1. Creative

First off, you need to be creative. Why? For starters, you need a killer idea at the foundation of your company—something new, exciting, that nobody else has done before (or at least, not like you’re doing it). But the demand for creativity doesn’t stop there; you’re going to encounter hundreds, if not thousands of problems and obstacles as you develop your business, many of which will demand creative problem solving and lateral solutions if you’re going to overcome them.

Does this mean you have to be a creative genius whose every idea is perfect? Absolutely not. It just means you have to think harder and come up with more ideas.

2. Passionalte

You need energy if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur. This starts with being passionate; if you’re passionate about building something, or about your specific industry, or even about the team you lead, you’ll be excited to come in every day.

Work will seem easier, you’ll work harder, get stressed less easily, and perhaps most importantly—your energy is going to be contagious. If you’re passionate about this business, truly, your other team members can’t help but get excited by proxy.

3. Dedicated

This should go without saying, but entrepreneurship demands dedication. You can’t start a business on a whim, mentally check out after a week or two, and hope that it grows legs on its own. You need to be deeply involved in the process, from the beginning, working hard on every aspect of your business, even when the going gets tough.

Most entrepreneurial roles will demand that you work long hours, nights and weekends, sacrificing some of your personal time and hobbies. If you’re only half-dedicated to your idea, you won’t be able to succeed.

4. Communicative

Your communication skills are going to be imperative in a number of business applications. You’ll need to describe your business idea clearly to investors and partners. You’ll need to recruit the top talent for your team. You’ll need to confer your goals and objectives, and resolve disputes between workers. You’ll need to negotiate deals, make sales, and collaborate with the team on a regular basis.

In fact, most of your job as an entrepreneur is going to demand some form of communication. You need to be able to express yourself, clearly and openly, if you want to succeed.

5. Humble

It’s important to be humble as an entrepreneur; at its core, being humble is simply admitting that everything you do isn’t perfect, and that you don’t know everything. This simple mentality will help you remain open to other people’s ideas, insights, advice, and suggestions, which can come from mentors, advisors, employees, and even your friends and family members.

You don’t have to be ruled by outside influence, but it definitely pays to keep an open mind and listen to whatever the people around you have to bring to the table.

6. Patient

Success doesn’t come overnight, even if it looks that way in major news articles or in certain startup case studies. In fact, some estimates project it takes you 10,000 hours to become truly good at anything.

If you go into business thinking you’ll be an overnight success, you’ll become disillusioned when you hit your first roadblock, and you’ll be unable to progress any further. Bring a degree of patience to your stay as an entrepreneur, and keep your vision on the distant horizon. Always plan for the long-term, and be prepared for things to take longer than you initially expect them to.

7. Adaptable

Things will never go the way you expect them to. Your business plan won’t pan out as you’ve outlined. Your research won’t be exactly spot-on. New competitors will arise, new technologies will develop, and trends you never predicted will start to unfold.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be able to adapt to these rapid changes. Few businesses make it to the top by picking one direction and sticking with it forever; instead, the successful ones are the businesses that have transformed and adjusted over time.

The bottom line

Some people are born more patient than others, or more passionate than others, but there’s no quality on this list that’s completely out of reach for anyone.

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you can, and by either refining or acquiring these seven qualities, you can put yourself in the best possible position.

You may not be successful the first time you try it, or the second, but if you keep working hard and improving yourself along the way, eventually you’ll find the right ingredients for success.

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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. When he's not consulting, glued to a headset, he's working on one of his many business projects. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Business Entrepreneur

If you’re easily distracted, you’re more likely to thrive as an entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) If monotony and boredom at work- well bores you, it’s possible you may fit with the other entrepreneurs with a quick and constantly changing career.

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When Bill Gates was a kid, he knew he liked messing around with code. He couldn’t have known how it might evolve, but he was willing to live in the distraction, focusing on details when needed, but always learning, moving on, taking risks and growing in the process.

Some of the most successful folks among us are not content to sit and make widgets every day. They cannot thrive in a detail and focused work environment. So, it may come as no surprise to know that people who are more easily distracted are also more likely to thrive as entrepreneurs.

According to this study, if you are intelligent and get distracted more easily, those two qualities combined will likely enhance your creativity. And, that creativity and ability to use distraction as an advantage can be channeled to create new things, jobs, companies, etc.

For those of us who are more easily distracted, who enjoy doing different things every day, and who like learning, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests a good option is to find a career path that provides the right amount of distraction and which is a great fit for your personality. If you do that your talent is more likely to be apparent because you are playing to your strengths. Also, if you are working in your sweet spot you will be more productive and motivated.

Maybe not surprisingly, the top job for those who live in distraction is entrepreneur. The term “easily distracted” often comes with a negative connotation, but considering an entrepreneur is taking risks, making things happen and creating companies, ideas, products that may have never existed, this spins that idea on its head. Entrepreneurs are the chief cooks and bottle washers of the world. They ideate, create, hire and inspire. None of that is possible in a monotonous work environment.

“Unsurprisingly, meta-analyses indicate that entrepreneurs tend to have higher levels of ‘openness to experience,’ so they differ from managers and leaders in that they are more curious, interested in variety and novelty, and are more prone to boredom — as well as less likely to tolerate routine and predictability,” according to the HBR story.

Other careers that are great fits for those of us (me included) who enjoy distraction are PR/Media Production, Journalism and Consultant. What these fields all have in common is, there is never a dull moment, switching from task to task is pretty commonplace, and you will do well if you can be a generalist – synthesizing information and weeding out the unnecessary.

Not sure where your strengths lie? Here’s a quick quiz to give you some feedback on how curious you really are.

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Business Entrepreneur

How can a small business beat a large competitor moving in next door?

(BUSINESS) How do you stand out when a big competitor moves to your neighborhood? Reddit has a few suggestions – some obvious, some not so much.

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Small businesses, especially restaurants have been hit hard by lockdowns. Many closed for good this year, and those that are still hanging on are in a precarious position as their local economies shift.

Last week, a user on r/smallbusiness asked a timeless question that is especially relevant right now. Reddit user longbottomjr writes: “We have a strong competitor moving in next door in a few months. Our restaurant is one that pays the bills but […] I feel that if this new competitor takes up enough market share we will lose our restaurant. Can anyone chime in with resources/ideas I can use to help put together our plan of action?”

Comments quickly pointed out what common sense would dictate.

First, ensure the basics are covered. Being clean, quick, friendly, and high quality will take you far, no matter what competition you’re up against. And as u/horsemullet said, “Customer service also happens before someone walks through the door!” So make sure that your online hours, contact info, menus and social media accounts are up to date and accurate.

Another point emerged that is less intuitive: Competing businesses will naturally gravitate towards similar locations. This is a well-established phenomenon known within game theory as Nash’s Equilibrium. In the restaurant industry, this is actually a good thing. It brings entirely new customers to the area and ultimately benefits all the other nearby businesses, too.

Take advantage of the attention by offering something other spots don’t, like loyalty rewards, specials, unique offerings, or meal deals.

Speaking of the area, a great way to stand out from larger competitors is to build relationships with the community you serve, as u/sugarface2134 emphasized. “In my city there are two Italian restaurants in the same location – just across the parking lot from each other. We always pick the smaller one because the owner truly makes you feel like a member of the family.”

That’s an advantage of being a small, local business that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. Get to know your customers personally and you will not only create loyal regulars, but friends as well.

One of the top rated responses, from u/seefooddiet2200, made an often overlooked but critically important point.

“Talk to your staff and see if they have any ideas. These are the people that are working every single day and may know one or two ‘annoying’ things that if they were switched would make things easier. Or maybe they see that there’s specific things people ask for that you don’t serve. Every single [one] of your employees is a gold mine of insight, you just need to be open to listening to them.”

That is applicable to any business owner who wants to improve their practices.

Ask employees what they think, especially the ones who have stuck around a long time. Not only do they know the ins-and-outs of their jobs, but this builds rapport and trust with your staff. A good boss realizes that employees are more than their job descriptions. They have valuable thoughts about what’s working and not working, and direct access to customer’s opinions.

Good luck, u/longbottomjr! We’ll be rooting for you.

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Business Entrepreneur

How a newly funded coffee delivery startup is thriving during COVID

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Seattle’s Joe Coffee finds successful funding in hyper specific clientele and operations even mid-pandemic. But how did they do it?

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Amidst a pandemic, you might not expect a small company with limited clientele to thrive. Yet, Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based delivery service, is doing just that.

Joe Coffee, an aptly named coffee runner, has received millions in funding, a large chunk of which was raised mid-pandemic. Their mission is simple: to bring coffee from smaller shops to local consumers, especially without endangering either party.

There’s a lot to be said about Joe Coffee’s valuation and mission, but what’s more intriguing is their unlikely success.

A food delivery service that focuses on coffee may not seem that niche, but when you look at Joe Coffee’s determination to stick to the Seattle area, coupled with its staunch resolve for frequenting smaller shops (e.g., not Starbucks), the service begins to look pretty specific–and, in an economy that honors sweeping solutions, this is a welcome change of pace.

The way their service works is fairly simple: Joe Coffee provides shops with signs and information on how to order through the Joe network, then consumers are able to download and order through a mobile app on all of the usual platforms. Joe Coffee takes a nine percent cut of the order total, credit card fees included.

In return, customers are able to order from their favorite, local, non-chain coffee shops, both supporting them and sustaining their caffeine addiction at a time where alertness is paramount and grouchiness is all too common.

What’s truly interesting about Joe Coffee’s example is that it demonstrates an availability for small services with extreme specificity in terms of operating capacity. By sticking to unique businesses in a relatively small metropolitan area (as opposed to, say, multiple cities), the service is more likely to be successful in execution and delivery, thereby solidifying its relevance to both consumers and businesses alike.

And, by playing into the need for curbside pickup or home delivery these days, Joe Coffee only furthers the perception that its service is necessary.

If the country begins to reopen–whenever that happens–it will be no surprise to see Joe Coffee maintain a relationship between consumers and smaller businesses in the Seattle area. For anyone offering a similarly niche service, this is a perfect example of a company to which you should pay attention.

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