If you're an entrepreneur, there's no boss barking orders at you, but there's no one gently taking you by the hand and giving you sage advice, either. So you have to take inspiration from everything around you.
I've found enormous success in drawing inspiration from other entrepreneurs. Here are some of their more overlooked qualities that have helped me take my business to the next level.
Entrepreneurs seek help
Warren Buffett may be the savviest investor on earth, but even he needs help occasionally. In 2013, he told talk show host Piers Morgan that he has sent exactly one (1) email in his entire life, and the Berkshire Hathaway website itself looks like a relic of Geocities.
Does the "Oracle of Omaha" have the intelligence that it would take to learn how to update the web page and turn it into something snazzier? Of course. Is it worth his time? No way.
Ask yourself if a certain task is worth your time, or if it's one you even want to perform. If the answer to either of these questions is "no," then farm it out to a consultant or expand your team.
It's true that as an owner or CEO, the buck stops with you, but that's doesn't mean you have the responsibility to perform every task that comes through the door. It means that you find the best person possible to perform each task, and sometimes, that isn't you.
Entrepreneurs are humble
Strength and fearlessness are good qualities, but make sure you don't go overboard with them and turn into Genghis Khan.
Richard Branson agrees; "Actually, it is counterproductive to be ruthless. People tend to come back and do more business if they feel they have done well with you." The humble billionaire does not do business deals with aggressive people, and recommends you "ask yourself if they are the companies you should work with".
A real leader sources great ideas from the entire team. The best entrepreneur values other people's ideas, no matter how low on the totem pole those people might happen to be.
Employees won't approach you with new ideas if you terrorize them, and that could deprive your business of much-needed perspectives. Your business simply won't survive or produce anything of value.
Entrepreneurs have a chip on their shoulder
When Arianna Huffington was first trying to get published, she was rejected 36 times. A lot of people would throw in the towel long before they ever reached that point, but it only made her more ornery and more determined to make a point.
She had a chip on her shoulder, a quality not viewed positively by everyone. But eventually, the Huffington Post took off, and she had that willfulness to thank for it.
The chip on an entrepreneur's shoulder doesn't have to be huge to get the job done. James Dyson was frustrated by his vacuum cleaner's constant clogging, so he channeled his frustration into making one that finally worked. He's worth $5 billion today because of it.
The best entrepreneurs have been told "no" thousands of times. They've been told that they're crazy thousands of times, too. It's the determination, drive and chip on the shoulder that makes entrepreneurs keep going anyway.
So don't get rid of yours, and don't get rid of your humility or your willingness to ask for help either. They could turn out to be what makes your company succeed.