Breaking free of the traditional workforce, venturing out on your own and becoming your own boss is certainly not for the faint of heart. There’s a world of risk, uncertainty, ups and downs and challenges to face. Some days can be wonderfully amazing and you can feel like the greatest success on the planet and others like a huge failure. It’s certainly a roller coaster ride, I can tell you that!
Whether you’re a small business owner or thinking of becoming one, I think you’ll agree, these are 9 of the top traits you need to weather the storms ahead.
- Good Listening Skills. Anyone who sells products or services needs to be able to listen more than they talk and know how to ask the right questions. An entrepreneur needs to hone their listening skills, not only for selling, but in dealing with staff, partners and vendors.
- Thick Skin. Rejection is a fact of life. Whether it’s not getting that new client you spent hours writing a proposal for or investors shooting down your business idea, chances are you’ll hear “no” a lot more than “yes”. Just know it’s normal, believe in yourself and your product or service and keep going. As I said in #2, you’ll get rejected, you’ll hit speed bumps and obstacles, some years will boom, some will bust. The key to building a successful business is to keep going. Never Ever quit!
- Ability to Plan and Follow Through. Building a company is serious business. You can’t just float along without a plan – this is the easiest way to waste a ton of money. As an entrepreneur you need to be able to set goals and create a plan for achieving them. But more importantly, you need to be able to follow through without someone else holding you accountable!
- Self-Discipline. No one is going to tell you what to do or how to do it (unless you hire a Marketing Consultant or Business Adviser) so you have to be able to regulate yourself.
- Strong Leadership Skills. Whether you plan on hiring employees or contractors or not, good leadership skills are a must for a successful business to thrive. You will have to manage customers, processes, vendors and partners. Having strong leadership skills and the ability to get things done will help you succeed.
- An Unwavering Belief in What You’re Doing. Sometimes this one trumps all else. If you wholeheartedly believe in what you do and the benefits you deliver, are passionate about it and can demonstrate it to the world, you can build a successful business on sheer will!
- Optimism. I don’t think a pessimist can succeed as a small business owner. There is too much that will go wrong and too many hurdles to overcome. Without an optimistic personality and a belief that you will get through anything the universe throws your way, it would be too easy to throw in the towel a hundred times a day.
- The Ability to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Nothing great was every built by playing it safe. If you want your small business to thrive you absolutely have to be able to take risks and do things that make you nervous once in a while. Living in your comfort zone will only get you what you’ve always had- and if you want more, you’ll have to get a little uncomfortable!