They are not great at everything. They are good at many things. Not all successful entrepreneurs have to be great sales people, but most of them are good. They don’t all have to be great at operations, but you will find that those that succeed are pretty good at running their businesses. Not all of them are great with the accounting issues, but those that succeed know the basics. If you put a P&L or a balance sheet in front them, they’ll know what’s what. If you want to be a really successful entrepreneur learn to be good at most things that impact your business. Those that fail focus too much on one aspect of the business or too little on most.
They invest in themselves. You can put money in savings accounts, stock, or real estate, but the best investment is in yourself. Successful entrepreneurs invest in education. It doesn’t mean that they are perpetual college students. Learning can take many forms. Reading books is a great example. Warren Buffett reads all the time. He could afford to hire someone to read for him, yet he choses to do his own reading. Why? Continuous learning is everything. Learn about your competition. Read about market trends. Study new technologies. There is an endless list of things to learn to become a better entrepreneur.
You can be 100% right and 0% effective. Successful entrepreneurs can be the smartest people in a room without making others feel like idiots. The best entrepreneurs ask a lot of questions. They don’t have the urge to be the first ones to jump in with an answer. Rather, they are great listeners. In addition, they realize that surrounding themselves with smarter people is necessary for success.
Entrepreneurs that stand out from the rest are great at building partnerships and alliances. Some of the greatest companies are built by multiple founders. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the perfect balance during the early years of Apple. Sergey Brin and Larry Page were fitting partners to create the search engine that gave us faster and more accurate search results than any other search engine before. Partnerships are also important between companies. Bill Gates’s partnership with IBM enabled Microsoft to ride the wave of global PC adoption. Successful entrepreneurs understand that the right partnerships will help them succeed faster.
Success means different things to different people. Some entrepreneurs care more about personal freedom than doubling sales every 12-months. Others might not rest until reaching some financial goal. Regardless of the goal, they stay true to it. They know who they are and know what they want. Successful entrepreneurs don’t want to chase other peoples’ goals. They recognize what makes them happy. They realize that life is about the road they chose to travel and not the final destination.
It sounds great to say you should “never ever give up”, but it is plain stupid. Successful entrepreneurs give up all the time. The reason they are successful is because they know when to give up. Giving up shows that you are in tune with what’s going on. Giving up is closing one door while opening another. Giving up is not a personal failure. Sometimes reaching your goal is out of your control. Recession, new laws and regulations, emerging technologies are only a few potential reasons for giving up. Giving up isn’t the end. It is time to pivot.
Successful entrepreneurs have bad days, get tired, make bad decisions, lose motivation, and even fail. They have the discipline and self-understanding to find ways to go forward. They have an innate desire to grow and learn. Those that succeed are ready and willing to put in whatever time and effort necessary to reach their goals.