Not all businesses are the same and not all business owners have the same qualities. However, many small businesses and their owners have traits that separate the successful from the less successful. But what are the common traits shared by successful business owners? What behaviors motivate a person to start, sustain and build a successful company? Do entrepreneurial attitudes toward risk, work, income and autonomy affect the outcome of a business?
Gallup thought about these same questions and conducted a study among 2,500 entrepreneurs to better understand the processes and decisions that eventually lead to venture establishment and growth. After several years of research, Gallup has identified 10 specific traits that drive business success.
- Business Focus – You are able to make decisions based on the expectations of profit effects. You know when you need to put aside the emotional aspect of being a business owner and do what’s best for the profitability of your company. Because at the end of the day, the numbers will be one of the most important things to your business’ success.
- Confidence – You know yourself and others, and understand what you do best. There will be competitors and sometimes even people that you thought were your friends who will try to break your business down. While you will have supporters, you will also have adversaries and fierce competitors. You will need to be able to stand tall and have confidence in yourself and understand that what other people might say should not have a negative impact on you. However, it’s important to remember that there is a thin line between confidence and arrogance, so be sure to stay grounded as your business grows.
- Creative Thinker – You’re able to take one idea and mold it into something greater. Running a business involves a lot of trial and error. You will need to be able to take ideas that work or don’t work and build them up to be better than what they started as.
- Delegator – Running a small business can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when your personnel is short-handed. In order to be a successful business owner, you need to understand when it’s time to pass off some responsibility to others. While you may want to do everything on your own, you will never be able to do it all by yourself. When delegating important tasks to your team, be sure to set proper expectations and realistic goals for your employees.
- Determination – You will undoubtedly come across obstacles in the lifetime of your business. You need to be able to persevere through all the bad times. Nothing great comes easy. If it did, everyone would be successful businessmen and women, sitting on top of fortunes. Quitting should never be an option. You have to stick with your ideas and goals and find solutions to your problems.
- Independent – While you might think this trait clashes with being a delegator, it does not. Being independent doesn’t mean taking in all the work for yourself; it means you know what it’s going to take to run a business and you’re prepared to do everything you need to do in order to achieve your goals. You have to be able to think for yourself, without letting outside opinions affect you. Take advice from other successful business professionals, but don’t let anyone change you. You got your business this far, and you should be the one to take it to the next level.
- Knowledge-Seeker – With the constant advancement of technology and its impact on small businesses, it’s necessary to be in the know at all times. To run a successful business, you have to look for what’s happening in your industry. Educating yourself on relevant news and related information will build your understanding of what’s required to run a successful company in your field. And this doesn’t mean that you should learn to do everything yourself. By developing your business knowledge, you should be able to identify important tasks to delegate to experts while you focus on what you do best.
- Promoter – When you think of a promoter, the first thought that might come to mind is someone who hands out flyers and invites their friends and people on the streets to come out for a special event. While there are many more traits to being a successful business promoter, the qualities of a club or event promoter are important to this process. You need to be able to communicate and spread the word about your company to everyone – friends, family, colleagues, and strangers. And promoting your business may take on many different forms. Whether you are promoting your business online or representing your company at industry conferences, you are the spokesperson for your business and should be its biggest promoter.
- Relationship-Builder – Building relationships is a key to success. Long-lasting relevant connections with other successful individuals in your industry will help you and your company get to where you want and need to be. Building relationships and engaging with influencers is critical to your business’ survival and growth. Strong relationships will prove to be most beneficial in the early stages of your company and certainly during the times of struggle.
- Risk-Taker – Owning and running a small business is all about managing risk. Just starting a business is a risk in itself. You need to be able to know when it’s appropriate or not to take a risk and how to effectively manage high-risk situations. Sometimes it helps to think in terms of best case and worst case scenarios to identify whether the potential reward is worth the risk to your small business.
It takes more than these 10 traits to be a successful small business owner. You need to pair these with skills, knowledge, experience and a strong team that shares your vision. But knowing the most common traits of successful business owners and understanding what it takes to get to the next level is a great start.