Success is not that hard to define: It is a sense that you set out to do something and achieved it. What can be harder to quantify is what makes a successful person. These traits help paint a picture of good leadership, the attributes that separate the entrepreneurs who will build a lasting company and those who won't last until next week.  

1. Determination

The number one attribute for any entrepreneur is simple persistence and determination. If you stick with an idea, it's bound to pan out sooner or later. When a company fails, it's usually because the founder loses interest or gives up on the idea.

2. Focus

Along with persistence, you'll need focus. Most successful entrepreneurs have laser-vision and push an idea forward. They know how to remove distractions and impediments. A company usually fails when the founder starts focusing on other things.

3. Perseverance

If determination is the effort you use to push an idea forward, then perseverance is the ability to keep pushing even when you hit a few speed-bumps. Time and time again, the leaders at companies that succeed are those that are built for longevity.

4. Grace

Employees need to know you will forgive them for mistakes. This is an important attribute at the beginning stages of a company because it builds camaraderie and hope. Grace as an attribute means you overlook shortcomings and just keep building momentum.

5. Curiosity

Every successful entrepreneur is curious. It's an insatiable desire to learn new things, to experiment, and even to fail when embracing a new idea. It's similar to how the best cooks will try new recipes until they perfect a tasty meal.

6. Insight

Being perceptive means having a wide outlook on life and then being attentive to the details. Insight is invaluable because it's the primary tool for figuring out what works and doesn't work. Those who lack insight tend to rely on trends and the innovations of others.

7. Courage

Can anyone build a new company without courage? Some might say it depends on how much funding you have. Yet, there's almost always a leap of faith when you launch a new product or go after that new market segment. You have to face the mountain and start climbing.

8. Fun

Yes, good leaders know how to have fun, to exhibit humor and a touch of grace at work. If you don't show your fun side, you are not revealing enough about who you are. A fun entrepreneur is one people want to hang out with and work with.

9. Intelligence

It's one of the most basic requirements for entrepreneurship. You have to be smart about your finances, your strategy, and your product offerings. Fortunately, intelligence is partly dependent on your knowledge; you don't have to be a genius but you have to think smart.

10. Integrity

There's an easy way to drive a company into the ground: do something unethical. For those with integrity who won't compromise on their values, building a company is much easier. You don't have to worry about the guys in the black suits showing up at your door.

11. Verisimilitude

This attribute has to do with how others perceive you. You have to be able to build trust in others, especially when it comes to building up investment dollars. Without a heavy dose of verisimilitude, it's much harder to attract the best employees and partners.

12. Confidence

Leave your ego at the door, it won't help you too much when it comes to building a company. but confidence? It's 100% required. You have to start by believing you have an idea that can turn into a successful company. Confidence is also critical when it comes to attracting customers.

13. Decisiveness

Leaders who are decisive won't get bogged down by the options you will face. It's not a matter of making quick, thoughtless decisions and relying on your gut. It's a quickness of thought and the ability to analyze what you should do and make the right choice.

14. Empathy

It's hard to imagine how an entrepreneur can last long leading a company without having empathy. It's the ability to pick up what employees are feeling; it's a sign of high emotional intelligence, and it's absolutely required to lead effectively. 

15. Sincerity

Being able to poke fun at yourself is important, but you have to be able to demonstrate sincerity as well. Business does not always have to be 100% serious, but your employees want to know you are sincere. They are depending on you.

16. Pragmatism

Knowing what actually works is an important business attribute. Edison wasn't the first person to invent a light-bulb, but he was the first person to see how to show how it could be used. he had a gift for pragmatism, and it's something you can emulate.

17. Humor

Go ahead and laugh often with your employees. Being able to tell a good joke, goof around in the office, and add some levity will reduce some of the stress involved with starting a company. Laughing off an offense also helps you focus on the task at hand.

18. Joy

A joyful attitude is contagious. Everyone wants a piece of it, and it helps ease some of the tension in the office. Life is short. You might as well embrace the joy of starting something new, working as a team, and building up your endeavors while you can.

19. Vision

No company survives without a vision. Be the one to instill that vision in those around you. This attribute tends to be just as contagious as a joyful attitude. the great thing about vision is that it can be shared with others who then carry out that vision.

20. Charisma

It's hard to fake charisma. Sometimes, you're just born with it. Yet, you can develop your passions, your energy level, and your outlook. When you do, you'll find that other people are drawn to your idea and will help you see it to fruition.

21. Creativity

That's right, thinking creatively is a critical attribute. Without creativity, you'll end up just copying the competition and falling into a rut. The most creative entrepreneurs figure out how to solve problems and generate excitement about something new.

22. Adventurousness

Building a company is supposed to be fun. Have an adventurous spirit about that new mobile app or medical instrument. Head off on a plane to China and look for investment money; do a tour of the US and meet with investors for lunch. Embrace your wild side.

23. Talent

Talent is an attribute. Use it to your advantage. You can develop talent in the same way you develop charisma or creativity. And, the industry you are in doesn't matter. When you demonstrate talent, it's a natural reaction to promote that talent and want to see it succeed.

24. Peacefulness

Life is stressful enough. Don't add to the stress around you. Figure out a way to bring peace to the room and a sense that whatever it is you are doing is not going to cause a nuclear meltdown. Having a peaceful attitude means you won't be overloaded by stress. 

25. Gratefulness

The best leaders in business always know when to express their appreciation. They know it is not a solo effort. Be genuine and honest when you thank employees for their hard work. without them, you will not ever be successful no matter how hard you try.

26. Intuition

Intuition is the ability to perceive things correctly. Those who lead with a keen intuition are aware of how people are feeling and their basic desires and motivations. without intuition, you are essentially running blind and relying on luck and good timing. 

27. Resourcefulness

Is there a new setback that is preventing you from building up a successful company? Time to get resourceful. The best leaders understand how to find unique solutions to problems. You have to be able to find workarounds in ways that elude other lesser companies.

28. Respect

Every good leader knows you have to show respect to gain respect. But there's more to it than that. Respect shows up in business in many forms. You have to respect employees enough to let them work creatively. You have to respect the competition. You have to respect yourself.

29. Kindness

Basic kindness is an important ingredient to success. It's contagious and compelling. we all want to be around people who are kind instead of a cruel tyrant who insists on ruling others. Show kindness, and people will be more inclined to follow you.

30. Candor​

One last attribute that's easy to ignore. Be open about your own skills and talents, and create a team that works well together with a high degree of honesty. It's amazing how being open about problems and strategy can propel a company forward.

31. Wisdom

People will flock to someone who is genuinely wise. Be that person. Great companies will expand and grow when a wise person directs it. Without wisdom, no one will know what to do and they will just try new things and fail often because they lack experience.

32. Energy

If you have boundless energy, you can build a great company. Sometimes, it's just by sheer momentum that a company expands and becomes a success. Let you energy be evident to everyone around you and they might start modeling that same energy.

Published on: Sep 2, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.