10 Habits of Truly Successful Entrepreneurs
They Find Happiness in the Success of OthersThey Focus on What Customers NeedThey Make Money So They Can Make More ThingsThey Relentlessly Seek New ExperiencesThey Don't Market. They Sell.They Prefer BootstrappingThey Build a Company by Building a TeamThey Cultivate Dignity and RespectThey Do More of What They Do BestThey Try to Prove Something to Themselves
Good entrepreneurs make money. Great entrepreneurs make serious money. But truly successful entrepreneurs do more than make money. They make a difference not just to their balance sheets but also in the lives of their employees, their customers, and their communities. See how many of these qualities you possess... and how many you can adopt.
Great business teams win because their most talented members are willing to sacrifice to make others happy. Great teams are made up of employees who help each other, know their roles, set aside personal goals, and value team success over everything else. Where does that attitude come from? You. Every truly successful entrepreneur feels a major chunk of their happiness comes from enjoying the success of their employees and their customers. Do you?
I may want to build buggies. I may be an awesome buggy builder. Problem is, few people need buggies anymore. I’ll have to convince people buggies are a great idea. When you provide what people need you don’t have to convince anyone; you only have to build a product that meets that need. Then you won’t need to look for customers – they’ll look for you.
I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur who said his or her primary goal was to get rich. Sure, wealth is on the list, but they’re more excited by the thought of doing something new, of making a difference, of creating opportunities for others – in short, they hope to build a company of significance. A company they’re proud of. A company that lasts.
Because when you do all those things, the money follows.
Novelty seeking—getting bored easily and throwing yourself into new pursuits or activities--gets a bad rap, often linked to gambling, drug abuse, attention deficit disorder, or leaping out of perfectly good airplanes without a parachute.
But novelty seeking is also one of the traits that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age. So go ahead and embrace your inner novelty seeker. You'll be healthier, you'll have more friends, and you'll be more satisfied with your life.
Marketing, at least the way I’ll define it here, is based on the old saw that people need to see an advertisement 6-10 times before they’ll act. Fine – but what startup can afford that slow-drip approach? Truly successful entrepreneurs focus on crafting direct advertising campaigns that work the first time. Successful entrepreneurs sell because they know you can’t book “exposure.” You can only book revenue -- and revenue is what you need most.
While statistics vary, the average startup raises somewhere around $75,000. While that may seem like a lot, don’t forget the average is skewed by startups that attract millions in financing. That means most companies are founded on the three Fs of financing: friends, family, and faith. What matters isn’t how much money you have – what matters is what you do with the resources you do have. And don’t forget most successful founders look back on their bootstrapping days and see that “us against the world” adventure as one of their fondest memories.
A one-person company can never do more than one person can do. A one-person company can only make so many decisions, contact so many customers, deal with so many problems, have so many ideas. Truly successful entrepreneurs work to build a team of complementary experts as quickly as possible, because they know a good team will always beat a great individual – and that a great team will crush a great individual. And will have a lot more fun in the process.
Providing employees with higher pay, better benefits, and greater opportunities is certainly important. But no level of pay and benefits can overcome damage to self-esteem and self-worth. The most important thing truly successful entrepreneurs provide employees, customers, vendors -- everyone they meet -- is dignity. And so should you, because when you do, everything else follows.
Another benefit of building a team is that it allows the founder to do a lot more of what she does best. Say you’re great at selling; why perform admin tasks when your time is better spent with customers? Or maybe you’re great at creating robust processes; why spend time creating marketing campaigns when you could be optimizing your distribution channel?
Every person has something they do that makes the biggest difference. Truly successful entrepreneurs find ways to do more of that… and less of everything else.
Many people have a burning desire to prove other people wrong. That's a great motivator. Truly successful entrepreneurs are driven by something deeper and more personal. True drive, commitment, and dedication springs from a desire to prove something to the most important person of all: You. (This photo is of Tenzing Norgay, who with Edmund Hillary was the first to summit Mt. Everest. When Norgay offered to take a summit photo of Hillary, Hillary said no. Proving to himself he could reach the top was apparently enough.)