6 Traits of a Successful Business Owner
What does it take to be a successful business owner?
Starting and building a business can take years of hard work, passion and tenacity and is not for everyone. In a recent study conducted by the SBA (Small Business Administration), 1/3 of startup businesses with fail in their first year and about 50% will fail within 5 years. With the failure rates being so high, what sets a good business owner apart from an average one? There are a few different types of entrepreneurs that use a variety of skills to reach the same goal: success. But what traits do these successful business owners all possess? Dedicated, collaborative, future-focused are a few. While there are thousands of different combinations of traits that compose a successful entrepreneur, here are the 6 that we think really matter.
Staying focused can be tough, especially with things like vacation, holidays or less-daunting tasks on the horizon. Successful business owners understand the importance of remaining focused and completing the necessary tasks at hand. Develop the mindset that your business is going to succeed and in order to make that happen, you will do whatever it takes. Setting short and long term goals for yourself helps prioritize exactly what needs to get done and when. Even if you don’t complete a goal by your desired due date, or at all, this doesn’t make you less driven; business owners constantly need to reprioritize and consider what is the most important right now to ensure success.
Surprisingly, ‘honesty’ wasn’t listed as an essential trait in any other lists that I researched, but it is very important. As an owner, you are representing your product, brand and business at all times. By conducting business in an honest way, you are building a reputation within the community as a credible professional. Your reputation can be your most powerful ally, so you’ll want to build it up by staying honest on all fronts; with employees, clients and partners.
(Calculated) Risk Taker
If you own a business or are thinking about starting one, this trait probably comes natural for you. As the old saying goes, “no risk, no reward” and the same is true for owning a business. To reach success, you need to be willing to take risks and try things outside of your comfort zone. But taking risks isn’t the same as taking a calculated risk. Think of all of the possible outcomes of your decision before going through it and most importantly, have a backup plan. Do not go into a risk blindly, plan for it and the chances of a desirable outcome will increase.
Probably one of the most important traits in a business owner is remaining self-motivated. If you can’t motivate yourself, who will? Successful business owners know what needs to be done and they do it. They know they have to power through the long hours of overtime and stay focused to achieve the higher goal for their business.
This goes for anyone building a career or reputation in the professional world but as a business owner, you need to play on this trait more than others. Use your charm and conversational skills to get an ‘in’ with the decision makers of that prospect you have been eyeing, or to network with vertical influencers in the community. Take the time to introduce yourself to other owners in the community and attend networking events. Consider fundraising for a local charity or doing favors for other players in the community. By initiating a friendly relationship, you are building a network and establishing a word of mouth reputation.
Every business has high and low points. Companies will experience months of tremendous growth and profitability, and other times, things will be slow and less profitable. This is the natural cycle of every business, but one thing needs to remain constant – your resiliency. Whether it be a bad month or losing a business deal, as an owner, you need to bounce back with the same vigor and strength as before. Resilient owners understand that there will be ups and downs in every business but staying strong and continuing to work towards a goal is the main focus.
Dan Misali, Senior Advisor at Viking Mergers & Acquisitions