Whether you’re starting your first business or you’ve been working in your niche for decades (but have a great idea), the truth is that there is always something to learn in the business world. No entrepreneur is invincible and no good leader is a superhero – they’ve learned their lessons by working hard, making mistakes, and building upon their experience.
If you want to become a successful and respected leader, there are a few things you can do. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the attributes that all good entrepreneurs have in common.
A vision for the future
Successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common – they know what they want, and are not afraid to go after it. There’s little point in entering into a new business venture willy-nilly and hoping for the best; you must strategise, form alliances and partnerships, and work hard to build a brand.
If you don’t, then people aren’t going to take you seriously and you’ll likely not take yourself seriously. You need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Indeed, we all have ambition and drive, but we don’t all have the right ideas to make our dreams and business ideas a reality. Planning is critical.
When working on a global business, I knew that I’d have to make sacrifices and work many hours to ensure success. But I knew that with the right strategy and the right people, I could create a business with a presence in many countries around the world.
Sure, the road has not always been easy, and my journey is still ongoing, but it’s vision and ambition that has driven me to where I am today. Take the time to refine and decide upon your own vision.
A keen eye for opportunities
Another key skill that any great entrepreneur should hold is the ability to spot opportunities or a gap in the market, not only when incorporating their business but when expanding.
For those who are hoping to operate in Latin America, for example, then you could consider the changing face of Colombia, or if you’re looking to expand your business in a new territory, Australia is a popular choice. This is because of the high demand for quality goods and services and a relatively strong economy.
In short, you must be on the ball and willing to jump on any new opportunity as and when it arises – if you don’t, a competitor will get there before you and you’ll be left with second-rate opportunities that won’t deliver as much of a return on your investment.
You should learn how to identify and analyse opportunities when they come your way, and develop a team who can adapt their plan to be successful.
A willingness to take risks
No business would be a success without taking risks. My experience of starting a business in Mexico taught me one thing; you have to be willing to take risks in order to be successful.
This goes hand in hand with my earlier point – once you’ve spotted an opportunity and analysed whether you’ll be able to make it work, you must decide whether or not you’re prepared to take the risk.
A good entrepreneur will be prepared to take calculated risks for the good of their business and be prepared to make a mistake or two along the way.
Not every business venture you enter into is going to be a success overnight – or at all – so keep an open mind and know when enough is enough.
Care about your employees
Something else I have learned from running businesses in several countries is the value of building and maintaining relationships with your workforce. Indeed, many hot shots fall into the trap that they’re too busy and too important to care about their team, but there’s no excuse not to treat your staff fairly.
I recommend setting up regular meetings with your team so that you can stay on the same page and be alerted to any major incidents. If you don’t stay connected to your team, they’ll feel like they can’t talk to you.
They won’t be as interested in your business, and productivity and punctuality may suffer as a result. If you value your team, your team will value you. People don’t leave a company, they leave a boss.
A passion for their trade
Finally, I think that it’s fundamental for business leaders to have a real passion for their trade. It is all well and good to spot a gap in the market and have mountains of cash to spend on a new venture. However, unless you are truly passionate and care about making a difference, you’re going to struggle to connect with potential customers.
Indeed, I have seen time and time again business leaders who put their all into a new venture and find success, and the same number of individuals fall flat because of a lack of effort. If you’re not interested in a niche, be willing to let that opportunity pass and wait for something you truly care about come your way.
If you haven’t quite found your passion just yet, then step outside of your comfort zone and work for other people. Work on honing your craft and keep on working until you discover the one thing that makes you tick.
Some entrepreneurs are lucky enough to find their true passions early on – others will spend years picking up skills and developing their business personas until their ‘lightbulb moment’ comes. Both have upsides, so go with your gut and don’t stop until you build a business you’re truly passionate about.