We all have different work methods and ethics. And sometimes our personal and professional traits don't gel with being a small-business owner or entrepreneur. You might have discovered that through some trial and error, but if you really want to be a successful entrepreneur, review the following 10 traits of those who set good examples--and consider picking up their habits.

1. They're Action-Oriented

When entrepreneurs realize what they want to do, they don't just sit back and wait for it to happen. They make it happen. While it may take years and several missteps for their idea to become a reality, they are constantly working on how to do so, instead of worrying about their uncertain future or drawing up contingency plan after contingency plan.

Being action-oriented is also a trait that hosting startup guru Peter Daisyme looks for in entrepreneurs: Because "being in a startup requires action, you have to work yourself to the bone day after day to succeed in this world."

2. They Want to Make People Happy

Entrepreneurs don't have ideas or launch a startup just to make millions of dollars or inflate their egos. They want to make people happy. They want to develop a product that the market wants and needs to make their lives more convenient. They want to make sure that their team members succeed. In fact, they even want other entrepreneurs to find success--see Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream as an example.

3. They're Proactive

Entrepreneurs are always looking for new ideas and concepts to improve upon. "They keep their eyes and ears open for an opportunity to capitalize on," says Chris Kemper, CEO of Investment Group Palmetto. "In other words, they're proactive. They are aware of a change and make it happen before they have to respond to it."

4. They Stay Healthy

While we should all eat a balanced diet, exercise, and get enough sleep, entrepreneurs take this to a whole different level. This doesn't mean that they're hitting the gym for several hours a day; it just means that they're aware of how not being healthy can harm productivity. And, they make sure that they can squeeze in the time for moderate exercise daily, as suggested by Jack Dorsey.

5. They're Honest

One of the many approaches presented in Eric Ries's lean startup is honesty. If an entrepreneur discovers that the market doesn't want the product or that he or she can't complete a deadline, it's better to be honest with team members, investors, and customers instead of lying to them. How can they trust a liar in the future?

As noted in a Tech Cocktail article, being honest just makes you a better entrepreneur overall.

6. They're Bootstrappers

Thanks to technology, the amount of money it takes to start a company has declined. According to a Business Insider article by Stuart Ellman from RRE Ventures, "$750,000 to $1,500,000 is now enough to get a product to market, particularly in the consumer space." That means they have to be careful, resourceful, and calculated with money. However, they may have to launch the startup or seek additional investments/income to also support their company in the early stages.

7. They Build Teams

Entrepreneurs build teams to help them expand their business. They realize that it's not a one-man show and that they have to surround themselves with talented, like-minded people to fill in the gaps. And they also realize that you can get your best ideas from team members.

8. They Wake Up Early

Not everyone is a "morning person," but most entrepreneurs will tell you that waking up early gives them the opportunity to plan out their day, avoid distractions, send out emails, catch up on the news, exercise, or just relax and gather their thoughts. So far, this habit seems to be working for successful people like Richard Branson and Tim Cook.

9. They Ask Lots of Questions

Whether it's self-reflection or asking their audience what they want, entrepreneurs ask a lot of questions. Asking the right questions can guide entrepreneurs into the direction that they want to follow.

10. They're Punctual

According to Dan S. Kennedy, author of the book No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, being punctual is the most important habit for entrepreneurs. When an entrepreneur is on time for a meeting, phone conference, or completing a deadline, it establishes trust and proves to partners, investors, and customers that this is someone they can deal with.

Published on: Sep 24, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.