Determination, perseverance, willfulness, adaptability, tenaciousness, passionate, flexible, creative, innovative, persistent, bright, persuasive, committed, focused.

These are a few of the words most commonly attributed to entrepreneurs. They are all good choices (although not the only ones), and I should know. I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve been around others like me over the past 30 years. Of course, entrepreneurs must have a collection of those traits. But without one key trait (which I’ll disclose in a moment), an individual could have many of those aforementioned traits and still not find success.

In my experience, entrepreneurial success rarely flows in a straight line. There are always bumps in the road, setbacks (both major and minor), and unexpected challenges. I’ve seen success and failure up close and personal, including my own. While it may sound trite, it is nonetheless true to say that I’ve gained many more insights from my disappointments than my successes.

One very valuable insight that I’ve gained:

Entrepreneurs must learn from failures to enjoy success.

So, with that in mind, if I were to pick one trait as indispensable above all others, it would be perseverance. Merriam-Webster defines perseverance as: “the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult”.

There it is: perseverance. There are many, many reasons for entrepreneurs to fold the tent and go home along the way. Funny thing, people are always willing to tell us why we won’t succeed (and do so often!).

We must remain steadfast in our desire to be successful because success rarely, if ever, happens quickly or easily. I’ve almost never met a successful person who didn’t move mountains to overcome their business challenges.

I’ve come to believe that, in the end, we need four things to be successful.

  1. First, we need to love the work we’re setting out to do.
  2. Second, we need to work harder than we’ve ever imagined was possible.
  3. Third, we need to stick with it, through all the trials and tribulations that we face.
  4. Lastly, we need a bit of luck.

Now before you say anything, I know luck is hard to plan in advance. In my experience, the chances for luck without the first three things are non-existent. Even with all three, luck is still far from guaranteed.

Which is why I’d say that success for an entrepreneur is impossible without perseverance. Perseverance enables one, who loves their work, to survive long enough to get “lucky”, ultimately leading to entrepreneurial success.