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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

Employers, rules to keep safe from COVID changed again

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) COVID-19 “close contact” definition has changed, and it affects employers and employees. Here’s what we know (for now).

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Masked people in meeting, but employers may find it hard to keep safe

If you are an employer, this information is a must know! Recently, the Centers for Disease Control has redefined the term of being in “close contact” with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This new definition is one that will affect all group settings. The workplace is one of them.

Previously, a “close contact” individual was someone who was within six-feet during a 15-minute period of a person who tested positive for the virus. Now, “close contact” still requires the “within six-feet distance” scenario but broadens the 15 minute window criteria.

The new definition states that someone doesn’t need to have 15 consecutive minutes of interaction with a person who is confirmed to have COVID-19. A cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period can also consider someone as in “close contact”. And, everyone who is in close contact will still need to be tested for the virus and quarantine themselves.

This change goes hand in hand with a recent study published by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study details that a facility employee at a male correctional facility in Vermont tested positive for COVID-19. The confirmed case was reported to the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) on August 11, 2020.

The correctional officer came in contact with 6 inmates who had arrived from an out-of-state correctional facility on July 28. All the inmates were kept in a quarantine unit and tested for SARS-CoV-2 on that day. On July 29, all their tests came back positive. As a result, the Vermont Department of Corrections (VDOC) and VDH conducted a contact tracing investigation.

During the correctional officer’s eight-hour shift, video surveillance footage showed he only had brief encounters with the inmates. Although they weren’t consecutive, the officer interacted with the inmates for about 17 minutes total. During all encounters, the officer wore a microfiber cloth mask, gown, and goggles. The inmates didn’t always wear a mask. Also, the officer didn’t have any other exposure to people with COVID-19 out of work and hadn’t traveled.

On August 4, the officer started showing COVID-19 symptoms. On August 5, he got tested, and a positive result returned on August 11. Data shows that one of the inmates transmitted the virus to the officer.

So, what does this all mean? The previous and current definition isn’t quite yet set in stone. There is so much more to learn about the virus.

The new “close contact” definition is much broader so people who didn’t fall in this category before, probably do now. If employees are in the office, it is inevitable that they will have some sort of interaction. And, even if coworkers only have a 5-minute long meeting, three 5-minute meetings will still count if there is a case of COVID-19 exposure.

Employees should be informed of these changes to better trace any unfortunate virus cases. And, employers with less than 500 employees who fall under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) will need to “provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19”.

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Business Entrepreneur

Streamline your collaboration and lighten your workload with Lyght

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Ventive is releasing a new collaboration tool that basically combines all your collaboration tools into one.

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Text "A vision brought to Lyght" on a bright background with lightbulb and people in collaboration.

Ventive is a custom software development agency based in Boise, Idaho. Launched in 2014, the startup combines design and engineering to build digital products that will help businesses grow. The company has worked with big names like Aston Martin, Cisco (Broadsoft), HP, Simplot, and Coleman Homes. It has even made the Inc. 5000 List for 3 years in a row. And, as with any business, it faces the same hurdles all small and big companies face: Finding the right tool to help take an idea and turn it into a reality.

In a blog post, Ventive Product Manager Jeff Wheadon wrote that the company has used a variety of tools like JIRA, Toggl, Trello, and Slack to streamline and collaborate on projects. Soon they realized there was not a single tool solution that could help them “go above and beyond for their clients”. So, Ventive decided it was “time to shine a new Lyght on team collaboration” by creating their own tool.

Lyght is an all-inclusive team collaboration tool that removes wasted time used to switch between different communication and management applications. It is designed to Make Work Simple. Make Work Flow.

In the tool, you can create a story for any project you want to build. These stories are designed for a smooth workflow, and you can collaborate with your team in each one. Conversation threads are visible in every story in real-time so everything is organized together. Tasks can be assigned by due dates and time budgets. You can even allocate a certain number of hours to a specific project so you can “determine bottlenecks in your team”.

You can also review the team’s time logs to gain insights on performance. A personalized dashboard lets you see recent activity and time spent across projects. Boards easily display the current state of each assignment. And, Backlogs let you organize and prioritize stories from your custom workflow.

Although Lyght started as an internal management tool for Ventive, the company isn’t just keeping the software for itself.

“After doing some additional market research, we found that there are many other companies across different industries looking for a similar tool that is lightweight and easy to use, yet robust enough to work with their own business processes,” wrote Jeff.

Since its creation, Lyght has gone through 3 iterations. Currently, the company is offering a private beta to entrepreneurs and teams. It plans on implementing the feedback it receives so the tool can “change and flow with the needs of the industry.” According to a Facebook post, Ventive is preparing for a public release of the software later this year.

Lyght brings together task management, collaboration, chat, and time tracking into a single solution. And, if you’d like to give it a try, you can schedule a demo on the company’s website.

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Business Entrepreneur

How to effectively share negative thoughts with your business partner

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) You and your business partner(s) are in a close relationship, and just like a marriage, negative emotions may play a role in the relationship.

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You and your business partner are in a relationship. Your business was born when you shared a common vision of the future and became giddy from the prospect of all you could do together that you couldn’t do alone. Now, you spend much of the day doing things together in collaboration. The stakes are high; there are obstacles to overcome, decisions to make together, deadlines to meet, and all the stresses of running a business.

It’s no wonder a business partnership can often be just as complicated and emotional as a romantic relationship. If you are struggling with your business partner, you might find helpful advice in resources originally targeted towards troubled couples.

Relationship expert Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein has explored how to share “toxic thoughts” with your partner. In a linked article, Bernstein describes toxic thoughts as distortions of the truth that cause us to overemphasize the negative attributes of our partner.

Some examples of toxic thoughts include blaming your partner for larger problems that aren’t really their fault, inaccurately assuming your partners intentions, or resenting your partner for not intuiting your needs, even if you haven’t expressed them. The defining characteristic of these toxic thoughts is that, although they may be based in the truth, they are generally exaggerations of reality, reflecting our own stresses and insecurities.

Just as much as in a love relationship, these toxic thoughts could easily strain a business partnership. If you find yourself having toxic thoughts about your business partner, you will need to decide whether to hold your tongue, or have a potentially difficult conversation. Even when we remain quiet about our frustrations, they are easily felt in the awkward atmosphere of interpersonal tension and passive aggressive slights that results.

Dr. Bernstein points out that being honest about your toxic thoughts with your partner can help increase understanding and intimacy. It also gives your partner a chance to share their toxic thoughts with you, so you’d better be ready to take what you dish out. It might be hard to talk about our frustrations with each other so candidly, but it might also be the most straightforward way to resolve them.

Then again, Bernstein points out, some people prefer to work through their toxic thoughts alone. By his own definition, toxic thoughts are unfair exaggerations of and assumptions about our partner’s behavior. If you find yourself jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst, or blaming your partner for imagined catastrophes, perhaps you’d better take a few minutes to calm down and consider whether or not it’s worth picking a fight about. Then again, if you’re self-aware enough to realize that you are exaggerating the truth, you can probably also tease out the real roots of any tension you’ve been experiencing with your business partner.

If you are going to get personal, shoulder your own emotional baggage and try to approach your partner with equal parts honesty and diplomacy. Avoid insults, stay optimistic, and focus on solutions. State your own feelings and ask questions, rather than airing your assumptions about their intentions or behaviors. Keep your toxic thoughts to yourself, and work towards adjusting the behaviors that are making you feel negatively towards each other. Your business might depend on it.

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