5 key traits to be a successful entrepreneur

Taking the first steps to start your own business can be difficult and there are certain traits that help entrepreneurs have a positive outlook and push through their toughest early days.

Financial services company Santam published  a Start-up Survey, speaking to 606 South African entrepreneurs who listed coping with pressure and being adaptable as some of the key traits needed for success.

When questioned what their motivation for success is, respondents said the following:

  • Passion – 47.6%
  • Be your own boss – 28.2%
  • Other – 12.5%
  • Time flexibility – 11.8%

What key skills should an entrepreneur have? The respondents listed the following as traits required to make it as an entrepreneur:

1. Coping with pressure

Stress is a part of our daily lives and includes having to juggle family life, relationships and financial difficulties. Dealing with pressure has to do with your personal perspective and the importance you place on a task relative to your own self-identity and self-worth.

Rather than seeing pressure as a negative, an entrepreneur identifies the need to apply core skills and knowledge to solve the challenge at hand. Learning to perform under pressure is crucial to surviving personally and professionally.

2. Adaptability

Building a start-up requires an entrepreneur to constantly find new ways of doing things and to react as new information emerges or situations evolve. Running a business in an ever-changing environment is difficult enough but a successful entrepreneur needs to be able to adjust quickly and seamlessly.

From the initial decision to become your own boss to changing markets in the business landscape, you need to be able to change your focus accordingly to benefit your business.

3. Self-confidence

A firm belief in your abilities and your own success is an important characteristic to possess. You represent your business and have to be confident in your ideas, services and capabilities. This will help you to rule out any fears or doubts.

Part of having high self-confidence means being able to identify where you are and where you would like to be. Establishing your idea of success in your mind’s eye will motivate you to progress and overcome any obstacles in your way.

4. Ambition

Ambition is key to an entrepreneur’s success. The will and courage to achieve your goals fuels an entrepreneur through economic uncertainties. An ambitious attitude drives you to actively seek out opportunities, to think big and take calculated risks.

Setting your sights higher will help you prove to yourself that there are no limits to what your business can achieve. Embrace failure and tirelessly seek out ways to improve your ways of working. High risk = high reward.

5. People skills

Do you think you’re fit to lead a team? Being a leader means being able to engage and invest in people in a way that motivates them to reach business goals. Your communication skills are directly linked to how much influence you have over the people you work with.

Successful entrepreneurs need to be able to build people up, value them and inspire them. Social skills are also essential for networking with other business owners to secure potential partnerships.

More than 90% of respondents cited these are vital traits to succeed.

Additional traits cited by the respondents included: optimism, financial savvy, leadership and the ability to negotiate.

Evern though education is not seen as a key requirement, 72.2% of respondents had some form of post-matric qualification, Santam said.

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5 key traits to be a successful entrepreneur