Traits of all suc­cess­ful start-ups

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

WHETHER you have de­cided to start your first ven­ture, or you’ve been run­ning a com­pany for a while now, you ought to take note of cer­tain traits that all ac­com­plished en­trepreneurs share.

Long-term suc­cess, af­ter all, is not due to luck or cir­cum­stance but is the prod­uct of hard work and ded­i­ca­tion by the en­tre­pre­neur.

Those who al­ways seem to be ahead of the game, start­ing and grow­ing suc­cess­ful star­tups that are sold for profit, or build­ing small busi­nesses into em­pires, all share a few spe­cific qual­i­ties that ev­ery­one can learn and ben­e­fit from.

Pas­sion­ate. This might seem like an ob­vi­ous trait, but you would be sur­prised by how many en­trepreneurs start com­pa­nies be­cause they want to “get rich” but do not nec­es­sar­ily be­lieve in the idea or love the prod­uct.

You don’t have to be a “type A” per­son­al­ity to run a pros­per­ous en­ter­prise, or a worka­holic who gives up ev­ery other as­pect of his or her life.

How­ever, run­ning a busi­ness is hard work, which is made less bur­den­some if you love what you do.

The hours you put in to de­velop a start-up won’t feel like a chore you re­sent if run­ning the com­pany gives you pur­pose.

Mo­ti­vated. Man­ag­ing a start-up of­ten means you are one of only a small num­ber of em­ploy­ees — if not the only em­ployee.

There will be no boss stand­ing over you mak­ing sure things get done, no dead­lines set by out­side forces to spur you on and no im­me­di­ate con­se­quences if you de­cide to go see a movie in­stead of get­ting work done.

How­ever, while there may be no con­se­quences — such as los­ing your job — there may still be reper­cus­sions.

Your com­pany will only be as suc­cess­ful as you make it, and that re­quires a firm com­mit­ment to pro­duc­ing qual­ity work in a timely man­ner.

Pro­cras­ti­na­tion should be a for­eign con­cept for you.

As an en­tre­pre­neur, you must be driven to suc­ceed, and that drive must come from in­side your­self, not out­side forces.

Cal­cu­lated. Be­fore you do any­thing, sit down and plan your day, your week and for the cur­rent quar­ter, your com­pany goals. De­fine what “suc­cess” means to you and do not use gen­er­al­iza­tions.

Spec­ify that in 90 days your busi­ness should “sell 10 000 units per week,” “have more than 100,000 daily vis­i­tors to the web­site” or “have a val­u­a­tion of more than $1 mil­lion.”

Cre­ate short-term plans with ac­tion­able tasks to help you reach smaller mile­stones along your start-up jour­ney.

You can­not build a highly prof­itable com­pany overnight, so th­ese should be your stair-steps on the path to reach­ing your longterm goals.

Cal­cu­lated en­trepreneurs re­verse-en­gi­neer suc­cess in­stead of wait for it to sim­ply hap­pen.

Ed­u­cated. The most ac­com­plished peo­ple never reach a point where they be­lieve they have all the an­swers. They cul­ti­vate a net­work of peers with dif­fer­ent spe­cial­iza­tions they can bounce ideas off of. They read ar­ti­cles and books on a regular ba­sis to stay on top of emerg­ing trends and in­dus­try best prac­tices.

They at­tend con­fer­ences, events and work­shops to learn new skills and hone old ones.

Take Bill Gates, for ex­am­ple. He’s one of the most renowned en­trepreneurs in our coun­try — and also an unashamedly vo­ra­cious reader.

Some es­ti­mates put his pace at about a book a week — and his se­lec­tions range from gen­eral busi­ness to his­tory, to closer looks at sub­jects he finds in­ter­est­ing.

While you don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to match his pace, his ex­am­ple is one all en­trepreneurs should em­u­late.

No mat­ter how suc­cess­ful you or your busi- ness be­come, never as­sume you know ev­ery­thing, and al­ways seek out opin­ions and ideas that chal­lenge what you al­ready know.

Te­na­cious. Whether you call it tenac­ity or stub­born­ness, all suc­cess­ful en­trepreneurs refuse to call it quits.

Ev­ery start-up will hit the oc­ca­sional bump in the road — times when things do not go as planned, or out­right fail.

Th­ese are the times when the most bril­liant busi­ness­peo­ple sep­a­rate them­selves from the rest of the pack.

Smart en­trepreneurs know that ev­ery fail­ure and missed op­por­tu­nity is a chance to learn some­thing and grow, both per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally.

In­stead of ag­o­niz­ing over mis­takes, they an­a­lyse what went wrong, then put plans and poli­cies in place to avoid re­peats of those mis­takes. They ig­nore naysay­ers who sug­gest it might be time to throw in the towel; they thrive in the face of ad­ver­sity.

En­trepreneur­ship comes with few guar­an­tees. In fact, only about 50 per­cent of all busi­nesses sur­vive the first five years. You can stack the odds in your favour, how­ever, by study­ing those who tend to beat the odds. Soon enough, you will cul­ti­vate the same traits they pos­sess, the ones that al­low them to find suc­cess over and over again.

— En­tre­pre­neur

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