Entrepreneurs: Which of These Essential Traits Are You Missing?

What separates a world-class entrepreneur or Fortune-500 CEO from the guy sitting opposite you on the train to work? Are innovators simply lucky or is there a magical mix of essential traits that guarantees success in today’s world? While there is no definitive research on the subject, hiring managers and financial experts have identified a number of key traits that come up again and again in top achievers.

Here’s a list of five essential traits every successful entrepreneur needs. Keep reading to see how you measure up.

1. Intellectual Curiosity: Entrepreneur Steve Streit, founder of SWS Venture Capital, credits his intense intellectual curiosity with his global success. Streit notes that a healthy intellectual curiosity is required to understand and interpret how key stakeholders think. He notes that this desire to learn will prompt budding entrepreneurs to engage with industry thought leaders to identify “what’s out there, what matters and what’s possible.” 

It’s essential to maintain your curiosity as your business develops. This curiosity will combat stagnation and force you to explore new avenues for organizational growth. 

2. Perseverance: Most of us have picked up a hobby in our lives only to discard it after a week or two. A true entrepreneur won’t pack up his skis or throw out his paintbrush just because he isn’t scaling Mt. Everest or selling a masterpiece in the first month. To be successful, you must be willing to make mistakes and accept failures. 

World-famous author and millionaire JK Rowling is a perfect example of this. Her acclaimed Harry Potter book series was rejected a total of 12 times before Bloomsbury finally accepted it. Without her persistence, the franchise, now valued at over $43 billion, would not exist today.

3. Accountability: To succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to accept accountability for both your successes and failures. While tempting, blaming others for our failures does not support the growth mindset that is required to achieve true entrepreneurial success. 

When we don’t accept responsibility, we cannot identify how we can achieve a better result in the future. Conversely, when we make ourselves accountable, we can reframe our stumbling blocks as opportunities to learn and grow.   

4. Bravery: Successful entrepreneurs understand the importance of calculated risks. A vital component of success is filling a gap in the existing market, which leaves you open to facing undocumented challenges, including significant financial losses. 

The best entrepreneurs develop their ability early on to assess risk-vs-reward and know when to take that leap. It takes mental fortitude and bravery to risk it all for your dreams, but it’s essential to elevate your business to the next level.

5. Integrity: Zig Ziglar, an American author and motivational speaker, once proclaimed, “integrity alone won’t make you a leader, but without integrity you will never be one.” 

To thrive in business, the same principle applies. Integrity means taking responsibility for your mistakes, admitting when you’ve overextended and having conversations that may make others uncomfortable. 

Your brand is only as strong as your credibility. Without reliability and transparency, you cannot form strong industry connections and solidify trust in your business among key stakeholders. Recognize that hard conversations today will build stronger partnerships tomorrow.

Consider the world’s most revered entrepreneurs, from Richard Branson to Bill Gates. These powerful individuals all possess a combination (if not all) of the traits listed above. 

Through a growth mindset, their willingness to take risks and their consistency in business, these innovators continue to reach dizzying new professional heights. Embracing these five characteristics will put you on the road to joining them.

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