Do we all need to be like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to be successful entrepreneurs? They were recognised as being ‘forces of nature’; icons of modern day entrepreneurialism. Steve Jobs was known as a creative genius whereas Bill Gates is said to have an iron will. Are those the key traits that entrepreneurs need to success in business?
I have reviewed many international studies on what traits make an entrepreneur successful, and have summarised everything I learned into the Seven Secrets of Super Successful Entrepreneurs.
You might be saying, “Well Bill and Steve did not run small businesses! I don’t need those traits!” I disagree. They started with very small enterprises, working out of their respective garages or bedrooms with their business partners. At one time, they were fledgling businesses but they had a strong vision of what they could achieve… and they went for it. Similarly, all other entrepreneurs could do the same.
Bill Gates believes there are three keys to success in any new venture: Timing, Vision, Action! Steve Jobs believed that passion was key. Anything could be achieved with total belief and passion.
What is your driving force towards being a successful entrepreneur? If you are not sure, perhaps the Seven Secrets of Super Successful Entrepreneurs will assist you.
Secret 1: Self Belief
Successful entrepreneurs always believe in themselves, and they think BIG! They have great vision. They have passion. Successful entrepreneurs have an unrelenting belief that they will achieve everything they set out to do! They have a single-minded commitment to their dream and vision, and an unshakeable passion for what they are doing.
Successful entrepreneurs take massive action. They are not afraid of failure. They can tolerate ambiguity and risk. You see, for every mistake they make, they learn the lessons and move on. Many entrepreneurs have been successful, lost it all, and then built up their wealth again in another business. Successful entrepreneurs are hard wired that way.
As marketing guru Seth Godin says: “The only people who excel are those who have decided to do so”.
Secret 2: Set a Goal and GO!
Successful entrepreneurs set a goal; they make a decision. Then they act on it. They go for it! As well, they will quickly evaluate the outcomes. If the goal and action were wrong, they alter the course of action, and move on. Movement and momentum are keys to success as an entrepreneur.
Successful entrepreneurs are in a hurry. They have a ‘go-for-it’ or ‘get-out-of-it’ attitude!
Successful entrepreneurs will always be accountable, which means they are always responsible for everything that happens in their business.
Secret 3: Stand Out
Successful entrepreneurs don’t look at what others are doing and copy them. Instead they step outside of the box, and head the other way. They break the rules! They forge new and exciting frontiers, or they find new and interesting ways of doing things.
Successful entrepreneurs also network widely as they know by networking they will be increasing their netWORTH – not just in monetary terms, but as an expert in the market. They build a rock solid reputation as more people get to know them.
They are strong relationship builders. Watch a successful entrepreneur at a networking event. They will ‘work the room’, getting to know as many people as possible. They are beginning the process of building relationships that are for two way benefit. Successful entrepreneurs are genuinely interested in the success of others, and will support others towards their success.
Secret 4: Seize Your Market
Successful entrepreneurs have a laser focus on the market that they are in and want to conquer. Consider the differences between a machine gun that scatters bullets versus a snipper gun that aims and hits the target. Successful entrepreneurs want to be snipers! They own their market/industry.
They also trust the process of their market. Successful entrepreneurs recognise that trust takes time and is a process. They give value. For every $1 spent they want to ensure they give at least $5 in value back to their customers. They come from a position of service. It’s all about the customer experience.
Customer profitability is also key; they get to know their customers and in doing so, will understand how they as entrepreneurs can add further value to the customer, which of course leads to increased profitability, and at times, new product/service ideas.
Follow-up and feedback is key! Successful entrepreneurs are fuelled by customer feedback, as it helps them improve their products and services.
Secret 5: Strong Leadership
Successful entrepreneurs are strong leaders, and through others are strong managers.
As leaders, successful entrepreneurs impart their vision to staff, customers and other stakeholders. They are positive and they can tolerate ambiguity while heading towards the achievement of the vision. As a result, they are very flexible, able to change direction when necessary in order to achieve their vision.
As leaders, successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with excellent managers; they build top notch business teams. They are not afraid to have more able people than them working for them. Successful entrepreneurs are excellent delegators to their management team.
Successful entrepreneurs recognise the importance of strong business management, including: financial management, marketing/sales management, operations management and customer service. With the advance of technology, successful entrepreneurs also drive their businesses hard in terms of systemisation, automation and where possible, outsourcing non core functions. They create processes that are replicable through systemisation. Think about what Ray Kroc achieved with McDonald’s.
Secret 6: Sacrosanct: Time!
Time is money, and successful entrepreneurs understand the value of time. We all have 86,400 seconds or 1440 minutes in a 24 hour day. The way in which those minutes and seconds are spent leads to greater or lesser success. Successful entrepreneurs also know how to focus on what is important and how to delegate what they don’t need to focus on. They recognise where they should spend their time and energy.
Successful entrepreneurs recognise that they need to be accessible, but for the right reasons; productive reasons.
Successful entrepreneurs leverage other people’s time; they ensure their employees are working towards the achievement of their vision.
Secret 7: Self Improvement
Successful entrepreneurs spend time on improving themselves. They are attracted to ongoing learning and knowledge, be it books, learning programmes, conferences, watching videos, they soak up new knowledge.
They also allow time to re-energise. They take time out with family and friends for recreation, as that in itself is a form of self improvement.
Often successful entrepreneurs are excellent at other pursuits. For instance, it is widely known that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are phenomenal Bridge (card game) players.
Many successful entrepreneurs also take their health seriously, and include exercise as part of their daily routine.
Seven Secrets Unearthed
It is always interesting to hear about what causes others to be successful. But as entrepreneurs ourselves, what are we committing to in our businesses in order to achieve the entrepreneurial success we are seeking?
If you have learnt something from the Seven Secrets of Super Successful Small Business Entrepreneurs, what might you change in your business to emulate the behaviours of super successful entrepreneurs?
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Stand Out Entrepreneurs (In my opinion)
There are many entrepreneurs across the world that modern day entrepreneurs can take inspiration from. Here are some stand out entrepreneurs who have made a significant impression on me over time. Google them if you have not heard of any of these names.
Who are your inspirational entrepreneurs?
- John D Rockefeller – Oil industry and philanthropist
- Andrew Carnegie – Steel industry and philanthropist
- Henry Ford – Car industry
- Graham Hart – Packaging
- Sir Richard Branson – various including air travel
- James Dyson – Inventor and industrial designer
- Bill Gates – Microsoft
- Steve Jobs – Apple
- Mo Ibrahim – technology and now philanthropy
- Rob Drury – Xero accounting system
- Howard Schultz – Starbucks
- Ray Croc –McDonald’s
- Jeff Bezos – Amazon
- Mark Zuckerberg – Face Book
- Larry Page and Sergi Brin – Google
- Philip Greene – Fashion industry
- Laurence Graff – Diamond industry
- Anita Roddick – Body Shop
- Estée Lauder – Cosmetics
- Walt Disney – I think we all know who he is!
- Simon Cowell – Music industr
- JK Rowling – Harry Potter books
- Oprah Winfrey – TV and publishing
- Martha Stewart – TV, publishing and retail