In the last couple of years, there have probably been more articles written, think tanks established and research reports published about start-ups and entrepreneurship than ever before. This does not come as a surprise given that company registrations at Companies House hit record high in 2014, indicating a growing appetite for starting a business.
The question many people ask is whether entrepreneurs born or made. This topic is endlessly debated in the start-up world and a lot of aspiring entrepreneurs want to know what it takes to become successful. Just type ‘traits of entrepreneurs’ into Google and you will find hundreds of articles talking about the ‘Type A’ personalities of successful business leaders and inspirational articles about ‘born entrepreneurs’ such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. These articles can be motivating but also intimidating. Here at BizBritain, we believe that entrepreneurs can be guided to success through tailored mentoring and support. We have however noticed that long-term successful entrepreneurs do share some of the same traits which, with practice, can be adopted to help make you more successful.
Curiosity might have killed the cat but it can be your best friend when you are trying to get your start-up off the ground. When you set up your own business you have to constantly stay on top of industry changes and developments including areas which are not directly linked to your area of expertise. Only those who have a craving for learning new things will stay ahead and avoid getting surpassed by competitors. Reading books and following industry news is important but you also need to open up your mind and question the status quo. Your curiosity will drive you to ask people questions and their answers can inspire learning and better understanding of the market.
New business owners spend a lot of their time developing business plans and financial forecasts. Having a plan in place doesn’t mean you should simply put your head down and plow ahead regardless of what happens. Successful entrepreneurs need to be able to react to what’s around them and be willing to change their minds, even at a moment’s notice. Being flexible will give you the ability to respond quickly in any situation and will help you to make decisions that will help you steer clear of trouble.
Be a survivor
Starting your own business is like signing up for a never-ending marathon. You have to live with the uncertainty of whether you will be the winner or even complete your journey and you have to overcome a number of challenges on a day-to-day basis. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have experienced failure before going on to achieve success. It’s not failure that is the issue, it’s how you handle it that makes the difference. If you encounter failure, what’s most important is to take that experience on board and use it in a way that will help you in future endeavours.
Be a calculated risk taker
You probably already know that risk taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship, which can be quite a daunting prospect for a start-up entrepreneur. Fear of uncertainty and potential failure can make any aspiring entrepreneur nervous and there isn’t a path to entrepreneurship which doesn’t include taking risks. If you aren’t a risk-taker at heart you needn’t despair. Taking a non-disastrous risk in business doesn’t depend on any magic formula; it’s a skill which can be learnt. It’s all about assessing the situation and taking action. When you’re about to take your risk, you may not be able to completely control the results but you can influence the outcome of your risk through hard work. Don’t be afraid to take a step back and re-assess your decisions if you feel you have to.
Be a salesperson first
A lot of start-up entrepreneurs get caught up in developing the perfect branding for their business launch but they forget that they need to be a salesperson first as sales is present in almost every area of an entrepreneur’s life. If you want to grow your enterprise, you need to know how to influence people and make them buy into your vision. This doesn’t only include your customers; it involves your team, potential investors and everyone you meet. Even if you have hired a sales team, you should still need to be the most passionate salesperson within the company to generate leads and attract interest.
Working as an official delivery partner of the government’s Start Up Loans Scheme, BizBritain was founded by Matt Gubba to deliver funding and mentoring to potential business owners looking to start a business. As well as providing access to low cost loans, BizBritain can help applicants to build a business plan and hone their commercial proposition.