5 qualities successful entrepreneurs share.

May 17 2019 | PayPal editorial staff

Not everyone is cut out for the entrepreneurial life – many people are satisfied to work for an employer, and leave the long hours and big decisions to someone else. But if you’re reading this, you may already have the entrepreneurial mindset. The following qualities are typical of ambitious business owners – do they feel familiar?
1. You find opportunities where others don’t.
Do you come up with ideas for new businesses at the drop of a hat? Do you see other people running a business and think, “I could do it better”? If so, you may have a talent for sizing up business opportunities that could become business endeavors.
 
How do you become someone who discovers new opportunities? You can certainly focus on observing other small businesses and thinking about what they do right and what could use improvement. In this way, you may identify problems waiting to be solved by the right person with the right idea.
 
Nikki Gentry, founder of My Dreamlines, found an unfulfilled need when she began offering sketches of wedding dresses. The opportunity? Men didn’t know what to get their wives for a first-year anniversary gift. She asked her customers for feedback on the idea, researched the market, and made some prototype drawings – then developed a marketing campaign aimed at the guys. In her first year of business, she saw sales rise by a whopping 783%.
 
2. You aren’t afraid of failure.
We all know that failure presents more learning opportunities and teachable moments than success does. But this cliché holds an important truth: For the true entrepreneur, failure isn’t an ending. It’s just a step on the business journey. Setbacks are inevitable opportunities to learn lessons that will pay off in the long run.
 
Some failures may be especially painful, like losing a client you went the extra mile for, or walking away from a product launch that didn’t work out. Your pride may be dinged, but if you believe in your abilities (see #5 below), you’re sure to bounce back again.
 
3. You form lasting relationships within your network.
Everyone around you can play a special role in the success of your business. You don’t have a business without customers, for example. Business partners can provide key skills and essential expertise. Ideally, employees complement your skills, and they do the work that you can’t handle alone. Mentors teach you how to grow as a business owner.
 
The common denominator here is relationships. Each one of them helps you to sharpen the skills you need for business success – from customer service to financial management. When Jeff Malkoon, founder of Peanut Butter Americano, started his natural nut-butter business, he heard Jerry Greenfield, the cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, speak at a conference. Malkoon spoke to the ice-cream visionary after the presentation.
 
“I told him that he was an inspiration to me,” Malkoon says. “He’s been kind of a mentor for us. That’s important for other entrepreneurs – networking is so important. You’ve just got to throw yourself out there and be bold.”
 
4. You can delegate.
If you’re afraid to give others control of parts of your business, you run the risk of either working 20 hours a day to get it all done yourself, or failing at tasks for which you really need expert help. Sure, it’s tough to realize that you can’t do it all yourself. But when you offload tasks like marketing or shipping to people who know these jobs inside and out, you allow yourself to focus on whatever made your business successful in the first place. By delegating, you free yourself to be more productive and creative – and you give yourself a breather!
 
5. You’re passionate about what you do.
You may be great at brainstorming new business ideas, overcoming failure, and delegating to experts – but you must also believe in your business. That positive thinking can get you through the difficult days when sales are lower than expected, or you’re not growing as fast as you’d hoped. 
 
Believe that you’re in business not just for the money, but because you’re really good at it, and you’re confident you’ll be successful. If you believe it, everyone else will too.
 
Lisa Brooks, founder of Heart & Soul Personal Chef Service, recognizes how success is tied to a conviction that you’re good at what you do. “People do business with people they like and who they connect with,” she explains. “If you don’t have the passion behind the thing you’re doing, customers will see right through that.” In her case, it’s why Heart & Soul’s customers stick with her: “They’re paying for me – for my passion.”
 
If you just started your business or it’s still in the early stages, you might not think of yourself as an entrepreneur just yet. But remember: Entrepreneurship isn’t about revenue figures or your market share – it’s about your perspective on the business. If the above qualities look familiar, congratulations – you’ve already joined the entrepreneur ranks.
 
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The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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