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What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?


Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy.

It doesn’t matter how great an idea you have or how well the business is being run, there will always be challenges, sleepless nights and difficult decisions to make just around the corner. These things and the risks involved mean that being your own boss isn’t for everyone.

But what qualities does an entrepreneur need to be successful? Managing Director of Hilton-Baird Collection Services, Alex Hilton-Baird, shares the seven key attributes he believes are necessary to thrive.

1. Have a ‘glass half full’ approach

A successful entrepreneur will accept that not everything will go their way. The secret is being able to look at everything with a positive mental attitude. While it is important to recognise weaknesses in the business and learn from them, there will invariably be occasions where taking the positives out of something can be much more effective. By reviewing successes and understanding why these areas are working well you can then apply this information to improve parts of the business that are underperforming.

2. Willingness to burn the candle at both ends

Especially in the early stages of business it’s important that entrepreneurs are prepared to dedicate plenty of hours into making their company a success. Whether you’re sat behind your computer or getting out and about growing your contact list, there’s plenty to be getting on with and never enough hours in the day, but it’s part of the job.

3. Focus on your strengths

Entrepreneurs recognise that sticking to what you know and what you’re good at will bring the best chances of success. Having specialist knowledge can set you apart from your competitors and make your company the go-to brand. Plus, if you already have experience in the area of business you are entering, this allows you to go in with your eyes wide open and can help to avoid potential pitfalls as your company gets off the ground. That said, many entrepreneurs are great at recognising gaps in the market and building a business by tapping into expertise in that market place.

4. Know how to build the right team around you

A good entrepreneur knows that it is impossible to be an expert at everything. This is where the ability to build the right team around you comes in. You need to know your weaknesses and be able to recruit the right people to fill in these gaps. You may also want to consider outsourcing tasks to the experts as a flexible and cost-effective way to gain added expertise.

5. Willingness to network

Often in business it’s not what you know but who you know. This is why it’s important to be effective at networking and building trusted relationships. This can help drive word-of-mouth recommendations, generate new ideas, improve communication, forge strategic alliances and ultimately help to grow your business.

6. Have a good business idea

The success of any business is dependent on having a product or service that people will be willing to pay for. This doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking idea. It could simply be a new take on something that already exists, or an existing offering executed better than current providers. The important thing to remember is just because you think an idea is good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful. Make sure you conduct extensive market research to establish that there is demand for your product or service.

7. Luck

As with most things in life, luck can play a huge part in the success of an entrepreneur. But by ensuring that as many bases as possible are covered by careful planning and effective execution, any reliance on luck can be largely removed from the equation, resulting in entrepreneurs making their own luck and driving their own destiny.

What do you think it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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