It is said that the destination doesn’t matter, what matters is the journey. These 10 years of my journey from being a home loan agent to owning a number of businesses was undoubtedly remarkable. You cannot be a successful entrepreneur in a fortnight. There has to be certain traits which help you to imbibe the best of your journey and grow spontaneously. Such characteristics or competencies may be inborn or you may have to inculcate eventually. I feel there are primarily 12 characteristics of a successful entrepreneur which should be present among those who are planning new ventures by themselves:
- Customer Orientation: Your venture is for the customers. It’s the customers who buy your product/services, use them, come back for the same again and publicize them to others which in turn increases your customer base. I have gradually understood who my customers are, what they desire, what they dislike and what will they prefer in future. In one word, you need to know your customer inside out.
- Serious Attitude: Your new business should be like your own child. You have to be serious about it in every aspect. One has to realize that the growth and success of a venture depends more on the attitude of the entrepreneur than other societal factors.
- Unique Thought Process: To do something, one needs to think something new. It doesn’t matter if the idea is not tested, risky or strange. All that matters is the out-of–the-box thought process.
- Decision Making Ability: Be it small or big, the decisions one takes matter a lot for their business. There should be foresightedness, vision, mission and risk-taking ability to take a decision. Such decisions are to be taken in long term perspectives.
- Adaptability: Change is the only constant thing. A successful entrepreneur should be change-friendly and flexible. For example, with change in customer preference, one should respond accordingly and improvise their product or service.
- Self-development Orientation: Apart from customers, one should invest in themselves as well. Be it a degree from a renowned University or a 7 day trip to an exotic location with family. The inner development like self-consciousness, stress management are also necessary.
- Risk Taking Ability: While uncalculated risk might be detrimental, calculated risk is always fruitful for a new business. One should have the courage and determination to take the risk. This also needs to be considered in long term perspective.
- Learning Ability: As I already mentioned, it is the journey that matters. One has to learn as much as they can from every job they do. That thirst for knowledge should be there. Learn from the mistakes what you need to improve on and learn from the success what you can do in a much better way.
- Persistence: In order to succeed you must first be willing to experience failure. It is the persistence that counts. If you fail a thousand times, you will learn to do a thing in thousand different ways. One should have this optimistic and positive outlook towards life.
- Self-awareness: One should be aware of their strength and weakness. They should have the ability to sell themselves highlighting whatever they are best at. On the other side, one also needs to work on their weakness simultaneously to make themselves more ‘marketable’.
- Technology Orientation: Now-a-days technology has become an integral part of our daily life. How can business be an exception! For faster and flawless performance, one should harness technology in their business. This leads to more customer satisfaction and hence more business.
- Networking: A successful entrepreneur knows how to build and maintain a healthy relationship. Sometimes it is the goodwill that matters for bringing further business. Hence one has to be extrovert, socially active and approachable.
I don’t really expect that you will be having all the 12 characteristics of a successful entrepreneur right now. But you may have one or two to start with. With experience and time, you will develop the other essential traits as well. The only thing you need is the right attitude to constantly learn.