We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to share their thoughts on what it takes to be a great entrepreneur. Here's what they had to say:
"One characteristic which separates good entrepreneurs from great ones is grit. Being an entrepreneur isn't easy, and you won't always make perfect decisions. However, the leaders who can persevere through both the good and bad times have what it takes to be a great entrepreneur."
Jeff Martin, EO Minnesota
CEO and Founder, Collective Genius
Understanding the Basics
"There are lots of shiny objects in the form of new marketing technologies, management theories, and product developments that continually seduce entrepreneurs. It is the basics--and a solid focus on the basics--which separates the good from the great. Knowing what constitutes success and focusing relentlessly on gaining it is crucial."
Russell Lundstrom, EO Colorado
Founder, Simple Smart Science
"I'm in the unusual position of dealing with approximately 250 entrepreneurs each year. The great ones instinctively understand that business is about building strong, long-term relationships. They take the time to establish personal relationships with me, as well as the other members of my team. I also know they do the same with the customers who purchase their deals from us."
Wendy Jaffe, EO Los Angeles
Striving for Constant Improvement
"Great entrepreneurs are always looking to improve how they do things. They look at how they can do it better, stronger, faster. Being open to change is key to constant improvement. This also requires a willingness to take ideas from subordinates, peers, learning events, books."
Cheryl Biron, EO New Jersey
President and CEO, One Horn Transportation
Setting an Example
"When you get your business off the ground and running, leadership becomes crucial. Entrepreneurs who are inspirational leaders don't just successfully run businesses. They lead by example and hire the right people who share the company's core values. They also treat employees and customers with respect and consistently create exceptional experiences."
Judy Allison-Briggs, EO Boston
Franchise Partner, Boston West, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Staying on Course
"Just as sailors encounter unexpected weather, the great entrepreneurs adapt to the shifting dynamics of the marketplace and relentlessly continue their pursuit. They embrace change in the environment, such as new entrants, emerging technology, customer loss, and new regulations."
Shaun Gordon, EO New York
Executive Chairman, Pristine Environments
To learn more about EO members' entrepreneurial experiences and insights, visit Overdrive, EO's global business blog.