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Ten Traits of the Successful Entrepeneur

By Peter Jason Riley

Entrepreneurs aren't born. They're trained for success. We think that while, in general, successful entrepreneurs tend to be creative individuals who are adept at problem solving, there are other characteristics that can be learned. From our vantagepoint as Certified Public Accountant's who consult with many companies on running their businesses, here are the 10 key traits of the successful entrepreneur:

  1. Goal-driven - Staying focused on a clear goal - and keeping employees focused on that goal - is often one of the most difficult tasks of the entrepreneur. In fact, one of the most important lessons business owners learn early on is that their company can't be all things to all people. The more focused the company is on producing what it makes best, the more likely it will succeed.
  2. Customer-focused - Without customers, you can't build a business. The successful entrepreneur spends time understanding the interests and buying trends of potential customers and views the company's products or services through the consumer's eyes.
  3. Team-oriented - Most successful entrepreneurs recognize that they can't build or run their business alone. Delegating responsibilities to teams of employees or even outside consultants will not only allow the company to focus on its core competencies, but also will improve the efficiency of its operations and provide avenues for creative ideas to filter their way up to management.
  4. Skills-oriented - Each member of the team must have demonstrable skills that can contribute to the company's overall performance. The astute entrepreneur makes sure that his team possesses a diverse skill base -- one that complements his or her own skills and can create synergies in a team environment. And the entrepreneur is committed to employees' maintaining their skills by providing ongoing educational opportunities.
  5. Techno-knowledgeable - Virtually every aspect of a business, from manufacturing to financial management to marketing, requires technological proficiency. The entrepreneur must possess some knowledge about technology and take the initiative to hire individuals who can implement technology plans and programs.
  6. Global-thinking - More and more businesses today are going international. Operating in a global environment means that entrepreneurs must understand the trends and economic and legal issues that have an impact on international markets and products, as well as local customs. But even if you don't anticipate expanding your business across continents, understanding how companies similar to yours operate in other parts of the world can provide valuable information that may be put to use in your own business.
  7. Flexible-minded - The successful entrepreneur is sensitive to the changing marketplace, competitor strategies, and customer preferences and adapts products or services accordingly.
  8. Bottom-line oriented - Making money -- and profits - requires managing money successfully. Being financially astute, carefully managing vendors and suppliers, and hiring the right team of financial advisors can all help a business prosper.
  9. Socially responsible - Being socially responsible can also contribute to a company's success. In today's business and social climate, entrepreneurs that are looking to provide a social benefit by making a commitment to serve the economically disadvantaged, protecting the environment, or adopting some other social cause, are more likely to be favorably perceived by end-users of their products and services.
  10. Future-oriented - Successful entrepreneurs don't get overwhelmed or consumed by day-to-day problems. They have a vision for the future of their company and make an effort to understand the trends and forces that will impact their ability to achieve that vision.

Lastly, thanks to the impact of the World Wide Web, more and more customers are expecting businesses to be accessible 24 hours a day. For the entrepreneur, that means making a commitment of time, energy, and resources to be responsive to customer demands and needs.


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