Many entrepreneurs attribute their success to networking -- attending and speaking at events, introducing themselves to the right people and striking up conversations to land potential business deals.
Given this, it may seem like entrepreneurship favors extroverts; however, there are plenty of introverts who have gone on to become successful, thriving business owners. In fact, some introverted leaders feel that their natural tendencies have given them an advantage in business.
Below, eight entrepreneurs share the introverted traits and behaviors that have helped them get ahead. If you're a fellow introvert, their insights may help you improve your own leadership and business skills.
Since introverts value their solitude, they would often rather come up with their own solution after hours of thinking rather than ask somebody for help, says Solomon Thimothy, president of OneIMS. This self-sufficiency can be a big advantage in business.
"Introverts don't need anybody else's guidance, support or inspiration to keep going," Thimothy explains. "They can always find that inner drive and strength within themselves."
Preserving Energy for Efficiency
According to Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, introverted leaders are smart when it comes to preserving their energy.
"This commands better control over managing processes, requesting information in a structured manner and being tactical when it comes to conducting meetings or building roadmaps to minimize the number of interactions," he adds.
Listening and Observing
Introverts tend to listen and observe situations closely. This "superpower" can be leveraged in conversations, as introverted leaders often ask great questions to get the other person talking about themselves.
"They will remember you as a really great conversationalist even if you said nothing other than asking questions," says Alisha Navarro, president of 2 Hounds Design. "You take away a ton of insights from the experience that can help you moving forward."
One-on-One Relationship Building
Since introverts typically do better in one-on-one social interactions, Patrick Barnhill, founder of Specialist ID, Inc., recommends that introverted leaders manage their team relationships in this way.
"Inviting your team members to have these types of sessions with you plays to your strengths while allowing you to mentor and manage your team effectively," Barnhill says. "It's also easier to take the respect gained in these sessions into a team meeting, where everyone will know to listen when you speak."
Introverts are typically much more empathic than extroverts, which often means they're more aware of subtle body language cues and emotional tonality. This, says Justin Faerman, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, can help introverted leaders understand people more deeply.
"This leads to better working relationships and greater success when harnessed properly," he says. "Pay attention to what you are sensing and use it to make better decisions."
Leveraging Strong Written Communication Skills
Introverts are thinkers, says Angela Ruth of Calendar. They may not be as inclined to speak verbally at a conference, but they're often excellent at communicating via the written word.
"Introverts can use that deep thinking ability to craft thought leadership content that makes an impact and shares their insights," Ruth explains.
Leading by Example
Joel Mathew, CEO and founder of Fortress Consulting, notes that leading by example is a great way for introverted leaders to show their teams what needs to be done.
"It gets their buy-in that nothing is 'below' the leader," says Mathew. "This helps build confidence and camaraderie across the board. Over time, your voice will be heard loud and clear."
Introverts are more likely to be skilled at self-reflection and introspection, says Nicole Munoz of Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc. That's why introverted leaders are able to understand their flaws and improve their mistakes -- skills that are critical to self-development.
"A good leader capable of inspiring others must be able to look to themselves for growth first before expecting it from their team," she says.