When you look at startups that eventually made it big, either by growing into a big corporation or by getting sold for a substantial sum of money, you notice similarities about the businesses: for example, their approach, team, or timing. But even the greatest ideas can struggle to gain momentum without a resilient and capable leader at their helm. Similarly, a great entrepreneur can take an idea with moderate potential and transform it into something legendary.

There are too many environmental variables in play to reduce the propensity for success down to a handful of factors, but there are certain traits that great entrepreneurs share.

1. Resilience. Entrepreneurship is going to dole out constant challenges, some of which you've already considered but many of which you'll never see coming. And it's about more than just business opportunities and obstacles--your personal life will be challenged as well. You'll face complex financial problems, decision-based dilemmas, long hours, sudden changes, and predictions that egregiously fail.

You must remember that all these challenges, while difficult to face, are a natural part of being an entrepreneur. Success in business ownership is rarely a matter of how many challenges you face so much as it is a matter of how you face those challenges. Triumphant entrepreneurs have a level of resilience, which allows them to face an almost constant slew of challenges without ever weakening their resolve.

2. Agility. Startups have one critical weapon that distinguishes them from their larger, better-established counterparts: they're nimble. As the leader of your startup, you must be nimble as well. Agile entrepreneurs are able to treat every problem they encounter quickly and adeptly, without taking too long to address them. This agility allows entrepreneurs to remain proactive and vigilant, preventing small problems from becoming major ones.

On a larger scale, this ability also allows entrepreneurs to constantly change, and therefore improve, their businesses. With new technologies, new resources, and new trends emerging daily, the most successful businesses are ones who are able to adapt and grow with the times. Remaining agile in a position of leadership enables this course of growth.

3. Patience. Too many entrepreneurs get started with a business based on dreams of becoming an overnight millionaire. Several leaders in the tech sector with some great new idea have been able to seemingly rise to success out of nowhere, but the reality is this level of success can only come after years of hard, committed effort. Successful entrepreneurs realize that all great things take time, and aren't impeded when their great ideas don't take off immediately.

Patience also goes a long way when building the infrastructure of your company. Great entrepreneurs want to build the best team, not one pieced together with the first candidates that cross their paths. They're also willing to make mistakes and go through temporary hardships if it's en route to a more stable, successful long-term vision.

4. Trust. Mutual trust is a necessity when working in a position of leadership, especially in the context of a small team that typically defines startups. For example, entrepreneurs need to trust their team leaders to accomplish their primary objectives without interference. If that trust isn't there, team leaders will not be able to execute their work effectively. It's also a symptom of a hire that isn't the best fit for the organization.

Of course, workers, partners, and investors all need to trust you as an entrepreneur as well. You can cultivate this trust by maintaining constant, transparent lines of communication, which will also facilitate greater productivity and a tighter sense of collaboration within the team.

5. Passion. Finally, it's impossible to be a successful entrepreneur if you aren't passionate about your work. Passion can be defined subjectively, but what's important is that you're excited to come to work every day. You may not like every task you have to perform or every person you have to work with, but at the end of the day, you must be both satisfied and exhilarated to be the leader of your own enterprise.

Without passion, your productivity will suffer, but more importantly, you'll never be happy with where you are. Only when you're truly passionate about your work will you be able to find the success you yearn for.

While you should rely on your own personality and instincts in your style of entrepreneurship, attempt to embody these qualities in your own unique approach. You'll find that with these characteristics backing your actions and leadership style, you'll have a much easier time making measurable steps toward progress. With time and experience, you could easily push your company to the next level, matching or exceeding the successful startups that came before you. Just stay consistent, and continue to refine your approach.

Published on: Apr 14, 2015