9 Entrepreneurial Traits To Develop for Career Success

Updated February 21, 2023

Entrepreneurs assume all the risks of their businesses which, while rewarding, can be a lot of pressure. With the right entrepreneurial traits, however, they are better positioned to fulfill their goals.

In this article, we discuss the 9 traits that every entrepreneur should develop for success.

What are entrepreneurial traits? 

Entrepreneurial traits are the typical characteristics, abilities and thought patterns associated with successful entrepreneurs. While some entrepreneurs are born with these traits, others can develop them. These include:

1. Being a good leader

An entrepreneur is expected to manage a business and most professionals in this position are responsible for its start-up as well. Typically, entrepreneurship involves finding and building relationships with investors, overseeing employees and monitoring operations. To perform these activities well, you need to be an effective leader. 

Leadership is the ability to lead others. An effective leader mobilizes people to achieve goals and is perceived as a leader by their followers. There are ways in which you can cultivate this trait, such as: 

Learning from your experiences

While it is normal to make mistakes when managing a team, you can identify the pros and cons of your leadership style while you work and use your findings to improve how you lead others. 

Researching the different leadership styles

For example, the democratic style of leadership, which involves more collaboration between leaders and followers in the process of decision-making, can be effective during the initial stage of setting up a business. It can give an employer better insights for decision-making when hiring a large staff of experts is not possible. 

Learning about the leaders in your industry

You can learn how industry leaders manage their key stakeholders and use the leadership tactics that work for your own business. 

Developing an approach to leadership that works for you

By considering new styles of leadership and evaluating your leadership style, you can find a leadership style that suits you and your business. 

2. Being optimistic

Optimism can be described as focusing on the positives and being emotionally resilient to the negatives. An entrepreneur who organizes, manages and operates a business is likely to face many setbacks over time. For example, as you start your business, you will need to complete a lot of paperwork concerning licenses, tax forms, business plans and bank accounts. In the process of getting these documents ready, there could be many issues that check your progress, such as delays in getting a license or structural issues in your business plan.

Being optimistic can help you to overcome these problems quickly instead of becoming demotivated by them. Like the other important entrepreneurial traits, optimism is a quality that you will need to develop and maintain in your career. There are ways in which you can cultivate optimism, such as:

  • Surrounding yourself with optimism by hiring optimistic workers, including inspirational quotes in your interior design or listening to upbeat music

  • Developing an optimistic outlook that influences the way you do things in your business and impacts your decision-making process

  • Starting to look at everyday events as business opportunities

  • Identifying the positives in a problematic situation and focusing on them while you troubleshoot

  • Finding a career coach who can help you to develop your optimism

  • Catching yourself being negative and reframing your mindset. For example, you can start looking at issues that check your progress as learning experiences that can prepare you for greater success in the future.

3. Being confident

Confidence is a subjective belief that you have what is needed for something. Entrepreneurs ask banks for loans, hire workers, motivate teams and build relationships with clients and suppliers, so it is important for an entrepreneur to be confident in their ability to do all these things well. 

Being confident can help your business. Key stakeholders are more likely to respond favorably to your proposals if you project your confidence. You can use several tactics to become more confident, such as: 

  • Cultivate a belief in yourself and your abilities. Make a list of your successes and remind yourself of them in times of doubt. For example, remind yourself that you are producing something that people want to buy or remind yourself of the things that you have already done to make your business more profitable. 

  • Plan and perform your daily activities with the mindset that you will successfully complete them even if there are setbacks.  

  • Research how confidence can be communicated through nonverbal and verbal communication and use these techniques to improve how you project yourself.

  • Role-play situations such as negotiations with key suppliers or discussions with investors by practicing your message delivery, learning to answer typical questions and handling feedback professionally. 

  • Hire a career coach who can help you to develop your confidence. 

  • Spend time with friends who have a positive impact on the way that you feel about yourself.  These social experiences can amp up your confidence.

  • Learn new hard and soft skills to improve your work performance. This will help you become more self-assured at work.

  • Make changes that can improve your appearance such as dressing well, exercising regularly and eating healthily to boost your confidence. 

4. Being passionate

Being passionate about building and running your business can make it easier to put in the effort needed for a successful enterprise. If you need to boost your professional passion, consider these tips: 

  • Try to think of your job as more than just a livelihood and cultivate a genuine love for what you do. You can remind yourself of why you decided to start your own business or think of the positive impacts that your business has on yourself, your employees, your clients or your community. 

  • Start each business day by reminding yourself of all the things that you look forward to doing such as closing a deal or hiring a new employee. 

  • Learn how to communicate your passion when you engage with employees, suppliers or investors. Your enthusiasm for what you do can make your major stakeholders feel more enthusiastic too, which could help your business.

5. Being disciplined  

Being disciplined can help you to achieve success as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are expected to work independently, set their own goals and overcome setbacks. To do these things well, being disciplined is essential. You can use the following advice to become more disciplined: 

  • Train yourself to be a self-starter who initiates and completes tasks without the need for oversight. 

  • Give yourself a small reward each time you meet a goal. This will motivate you to reach your targets without getting distracted.

  • Develop a work ethic that fuels your determination to work hard to achieve your professional goals. Keep in mind that many entrepreneurs who have built successful startups have spent more time at work than most of their employees.  

6. Being proactive

A proactive person anticipates opportunities and threats and tries to address them while a reactive person simply reacts to situations. As an entrepreneur, it is always better to be proactive instead of being reactive. Here are some ways in which you can become more proactive:

  • Combine research with active listening to understand the needs of key stakeholders (your customers, employers and business partners). 

  • Identify threats in events and develop solutions before these issues become more severe.  

  • Analyze your business operations regularly. Identify the areas that can be improved and improve these areas. 

  • Try to develop long-term solutions to address the main causes of issues instead of developing short-term solutions that are ineffective.

  • Use verbal and written communication to show employees that you welcome their feedback. This will help you to identify areas that need to be improved or policies that need to be explained more clearly to workers. 

7. Keeping an open mind

Keeping an open mind involves the willingness to listen to the opinions and ideas of others. Typically, entrepreneurs start businesses in competitive industries that have already established market leaders. To succeed in this position, it is necessary to see business opportunities in everyday events and look for ways to improve business offerings. Consider the following tips to develop this trait: 

  • Be willing to listen to others instead of refusing to accept that someone else could have a valuable opinion. This can increase your pool of ideas and insights. 

  • Encourage coworkers or customers to provide feedback and consider their opinions to make a product or service better. 

  • Use new ideas or insights about workflows, customer service or employee engagement to improve a product or service offering. 

8. Being competitive

Competitiveness is a key trait among successful entrepreneurs. With globalization and virtualization, industries are growing more competitive. To maintain a lucrative business, it is essential to develop a competitive attitude. Consider the following advice to develop your competitiveness: 

  • Keep track of what your competitors are doing with market research and market-monitoring services, and ensure that you do not fall behind in terms of development. 

  • Identify the business tactics that work for your competitors as well as the ones that do not work, and use these tactics to improve your business. 

  • Use product improvements, pricing, marketing and distribution to make your products more competitive in the market. For example, you can price a new product in a market with several established brands at a relatively low price and invest in creative advertising to motivate customers to switch brands and try your product. 

  • Develop customer analyses and use your findings to keep improving your products or services by making them more adapted to customer needs. 

  • Use employee analyses to develop incentives such as benefits, severance packages and performance-based rewards to attract the best talent to your team. 

9. Being kind

While kindness is not usually considered an important trait in entrepreneurs, it can help you in maintaining success. For example, while it is easy to focus on meeting your KPIs on sales, failing to consider the well-being of your employees or overlooking the impact that a production process has on your community could cause you problems over time or allow your competitors to gain an advantage. You can use the following tips to develop kindness: 

  • Assess the working conditions of your full-time employees regularly and ensure that they have the basics they need to perform well.

  • Re-evaluate your employee benefits periodically to make sure that you are providing a package that can help workers as well as attract the best talent. 

  • Be proactive in improving your manufacturing or distribution processes to make them less damaging to the environment and more sustainable. 

  • Foster a supportive, healthy company culture through strong policies that discourage bullying, sexual harassment or gender-based discrimination.

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