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The 10 Traits That Define Entrepreneurial Success

Why is it that some people succeed more than others? Is it an innate ability, present from birth, or a learned behavior? What are the traits that identify a successful entrepreneur?

According to Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Entrepreneurship at Gallup, “Innate talents seem to make some people better at noticing new business opportunities and more likely to be risk-takers, natural salespeople and adept at cultivating social networks — all traits that drive entrepreneurial success.”

Badal studied and interviewed 2,500 U.S. entrepreneurs to learn and understand just what actions and choices led to the creation and growth of businesses. Through this study, she and her team consistently observed 10 behaviors and discovered that every entrepreneur uses some of these talents to start or grow a business.

The 10 talents of successful entrepreneurs are:

1. Business focus.

Decisions are made based on the effect of profit, whether observed or anticipated.

2. Confidence.

The entrepreneurs know themselves and have an understanding of others.

8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence

Think about it:

  1. Doubt breeds doubt. Why would anyone believe in you, your ideas, or your abilities if you didn’t believe in them yourself?
  2. It takes confidence to reach for new challenges. People who are fearful or insecure tend to stay within their comfort zones. But comfort zones rarely expand on their own. That’s why people who lack confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs and let valuable opportunities pass them by.
  3. Unconfident people often feel at the mercy of external circumstances. Successful people aren’t deterred by obstacles, which is how they rise up in the first place.

No one is stopping you from what you want to accomplish but yourself. It’s time to remove that barrier of self-doubt.

Confidence is a crucial building block in a successful career, and embracing it fully will take you places you never thought possible. With proper guidance and hard work, anyone can become more confident. Once you pass a certain point, you’ll feel it from the inside.

Here are eight bulletproof strategies to get you there.

i). Take an honest look at yourself.

Johnny Unitas said, “There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.” In other words, confidence is earnedthrough hard work, and confident people are self-aware. When your confidence exceeds your abilities, you’ve crossed the line into arrogance. You need to know the difference.

True confidence is firmly planted in reality. To grow your confidence, it’s important to do an honest and accurate self-assessment of your abilities. If there are weaknesses in your skill set, make plans for strengthening these skills and find ways to minimize their negative impact. Ignoring your weaknesses or pretending they’re strengths won’t make them go away. Likewise, having a clear understanding of your strengths enables you to shake off some of the more groundless feedback and criticism you can get in a busy, competitive work environment—and that builds confidence.

ii). Say no.

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco showed that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which erode confidence. Confident people know that saying no is healthy, and they have the self-esteem to make their nos clear. When it’s time to say no, confident people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

iii). Get right with your boss.

A troubled relationship with the boss can destroy even the most talented person’s confidence. It’s hard to be confident when your boss is constantly criticizing you or undermining your contributions. Try to identify where the relationship went wrong and decide whether there’s anything you can do to get things back on track. If the relationship is truly unsalvageable, it may be time to move on to something else.

iv). Seek out small victories.

Confident people tend to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. This increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases your confidence and your eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

v). Find a mentor.

Nothing builds confidence like a talented, experienced person showing you the way and patting you on the back for a job well done. A good mentor can act as a mirror, giving you the perspective you need to believe in yourself. Knowledge breeds confidence—knowing where you stand helps you focus your energy more effectively. Beyond that, a mentor can help educate you on some of the cultural inner workings of your organization. Knowing the unwritten rules of how to get things done in your workplace is a great confidence booster.

vi). Schedule exercise.

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference. Schedule your exercise to make certain it happens, and your confidence will stay up.

vii). Dress for success.

Like it or not, how we dress has a huge effect on how people see us. Things like the color, cut, and style of the clothes we wear—and even our accessories—communicate loudly. But the way we dress also affects how we see ourselves. Studies have shown that people speak differently when they’re dressed up compared to when they’re dressed casually. To boost your confidence, dress well. Choose clothing that reflects who you are and the image you want to project, even if that means spending more time at the mall and more time getting ready in the morning.

viii). Be assertive, not aggressive.

Aggressiveness isn’t confidence; it’s bullying. And when you’re insecure, it’s easy to slip into aggressiveness without intending to. Practice asserting yourself without getting aggressive (and trampling over someone else in the process). You won’t be able to achieve this until you learn how to keep your insecurities at bay, and this will increase your confidence.

Bringing it all together

Your confidence is your own to develop or undermine. Confidence is based on reality. It’s the steadfast knowledge that goes beyond simply “hoping for the best.” It ensures that you’ll get the job done—that’s the power of true confidence.

3. Creative thinker.

The people in this study exhibited creativity in taking an existing product or idea and turning it into a better one.

4. Delegator.

Successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to let others assist. They realize that they cannot do everything themselves and are willing and able to allow a shift in style and control.

5. Determination.

Every entrepreneur goes through difficult times. While some throw in the towel, subjects in this study persevered through difficulties.

6. Independent.

Independence doesn’t necessarily mean working alone, as these successful entrepreneurs have shown. They are able to do whatever is needed to be done to make the venture successful.

Entrepreneurship is not the glamorous career path it’s been made out to be. It’s not about big ideas and ideals. It’s not about hopes and dreams. It’s not about guts and glory. It’s not even about invention and innovation. And it’s certainly not about a search for fame and fortune.  

More than anything, entrepreneurship is a game of attrition. It’s about having the determination, the discipline, and the cash to see it through. It’s about not giving up and being the last man or woman standing when everyone else has fallen by the wayside.

Don’t get me wrong. Having the vision to see what others don’t, the passion to motivate yourself and others, the savvy to build and grow a business, and the guts to make good decisions, are all part of the mix. But what binds those ingredients together is the tenacity to stick with it, day in, day out, year after year.

Make no mistake, successful companies have no endpoint. That’s right, they don’t. The goal is to keep overcoming obstacles, growing sales, and making money, ad infinitum. If reading that sends a cold chill down your spine, you’re not alone. The prospect of having to keep all those balls up in the air and grow a business indefinitely is daunting to most.

7. Knowledge-seeker.

Those who succeed are always seeking relevant knowledge that will help their business.

8. Promoter.

Nobody promotes the business better than its owner. This person is able to clearly convey what the business is about and convince others of its value.

9. Relationship-builder.

Entrepreneurs realize that it’s the people around them that can help them the most and build relationships with those who can benefit the business for its survival and growth.

10. Risk-Taker

Any new venture or growth involves risk. The successful entrepreneur has an instinctive knowledge of how to mitigate and manage high-risk situations.

According to this research, entrepreneurs perform best when they are able to utilize their dominant natural talents. While education and training may help, having the innate ability will make the job easier. Therefore, entrepreneurs need to recognize their talents and create a consistent effort to nurture them to full fruition.

What do you see as your best talents? Sales? Organization? Idea generation? Once you identify your top skills, put your energy into developing them further. For those parts of the business at which you are not talented, or have no interest, find others to take over those responsibilities. With a focus on your talents, you’ll be able to point your venture in the direction of success.

Keys4Success

Written by Keys4Success

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