Successful entrepreneurs have many traits in common. My study of the popular research on this topic brought to light the following table which lists these traits:
|Forbes Magazine||Entrepreneur Magazine||Small Business BC|
|Abounding Curiosity||Tenacity||Clear Vision|
|Bursting with Creativity||Passion||Determination|
|Clarity of Vision||Tolerance of Ambiguity||Ambition|
|Ability to Communicate||Vision||Self-confidence|
|Leadership Acumen||Self-belief||Good Health|
|Loving Risk/Taking Action||Flexibility||Realistic|
|Tenacious Beyond Belief||Rule-breaking||Problem solver|
|OK with No Pay|
The Self Confidence Trait
Self-confidence is the ability to move forward when the world is telling you to stop or go in another direction. Joe Robinson of Entrepreneur Magazine defines it as:
“It’s a belief that turns the risk proposition around – you’ve conducted enough research and have enough confidence that you can get the job done that you ameliorate the risk.”
The successful entrepreneur is not blindly or arrogantly “sticking their neck out”. Confidence comes from researching the issue and developing a plan based on reality. Inherent in this action is the concept of loving risk and taking action. Forbes magazine contributor Eric T. Wagner puts it this way:
“Entrepreneurs take risks. They take action. Each one may have a slightly different risk meter, but when the time comes; they step out of their comfort zone and risk through taking action.
I mean seriously — your company is not going to build itself while you sit there on the couch eating bon-bons.”
Self-confidence can be developed through preparedness. Study your market, study your competition, and study your business operations. Find your competitive advantage and exploit it. You are in control.
Small Business BC states:
“The best entrepreneurs believe they can define their own future and use this self-assurance to persuade people to tie their fortunes to theirs.”
The Problem Solver Trait
We’ve often heard that if you want to solve a difficult problem, you must “think outside the box”. What does this mean? It means that you must look at the problem from a different vantage point. Staying in the box is following the conventional rules. You are handcuffed by conventional constraints. Successful entrepreneurs are willing to break the rules. The seemingly instant success of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft can be attributed to their entrepreneur founders “thinking outside the box”. The “inside the box” constraints for a ride share business startup are traditionally the huge capital investment for acquiring vehicles, fleet maintenance, insurance, and storage of the vehicles. The “outside the box” solution was to push those startup costs to someone else – the driver. Don’t be afraid to break the rules. If you are reading this, you already have broken a really BIG one. Joe Robinson from Entrepreneur Magazine writes:
“In fact, simply starting a business breaks the rules, as only about 13 percent of Americans are engaged in entrepreneurship, according to a Babson College report. Doing what the majority isn’t doing is the nature of entrepreneurship, which is where the supply of inner resources comes in.”
Can the ability to solve problems by “thinking outside the box” be developed and nurtured? Yes. This ability stems from being curious about how things work. Most entrepreneurs are naturally curious. Satisfy your curiosity by asking questions. Learn as much about the problem as you can.
Eric T. Wagner, Forbes contributor writes:
“As you become more curious by asking questions and learning, it actually opens your mind to creativity.”
Creative thought leads to “thinking outside the box” answers.
Let your creativity flow. Don’t prejudge your questions or answers. To the entrepreneur, there are no dumb questions and there are no dumb answers – they’re all valid until you prove them otherwise. Solve the difficult problems by being curious about them. Ask questions and gather different perspectives about the problem. Problem solvers “think outside the box”.
Greater confidence and creative problem solving is within reach of all of us. We all possess the nucleus of these basic traits. Your coach can help you develop these powerful business tools.
Note: Click the magazine name in the table to open the article cited in the blog post.