5 Skills and Traits Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

Here’s a look at five things that are absolutely essential for long-term life and business success.

Do you have what it takes to succeed in life and business?

While there are undeniably a multitude of skills and traits that are necessary to live a fruitful life and manage a productive business, here’s a look at five things that are absolutely essential for long-term success:


  1. Optimism

    If you ask most successful entrepreneurs about their ventures they’re likely to tell you they are optimistic about the future. While failure can often be a small business reality, it doesn’t keep a thriving business owner from hedging bets, protecting their downside and remaining optimistic.

    As motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar once suggested, it is essential to “expect the best, prepare for the worst, [and] capitalize on what comes.” Optimism should always be tempered by a healthy balance of information. Forbes contributor Jerry Lao explains that while “studies show a strong link between successful entrepreneurs and optimism, having too sunny of a disposition can lead to delusions of success…” Ultimately, “entrepreneurs must learn to balance their inner cheerleader and realist, and it isn’t always a clear-cut line down the middle.”

    If you are on the fence choose a trajectory of optimism. Entrepreneur Bradley Gauthier attests to the power of positivity in lieu of pessimism. “Research studies have proven that pessimism severely hinders a person’s ability to engage in life-improving acts. To a successful entrepreneur, this should be obvious.”

  2. Risk-Taking

    When was the last time you took a really big risk? A couple of years ago I wrote an article that suggested, You Are Not An Entrepreneur If You Don’t Take Risks. My rationale is simple. “By definition, an entrepreneur is the organizer of an economic venture; one who owns, manages, and assumes the risk of a business. This means that you undertake the responsibility to start and conduct an enterprise, assuming full control and risks. While various attributes define entrepreneurs, the common thread is risk.”

    The author of Stop Playing Safe, Margie Warrell, explains how the odds are better than we think. Warrell suggests “we are innately risk averse and afraid of putting our vulnerability on the line. The status quo, while not particularly fulfilling, can seem like an easier, softer, less scary, option.” (Source: Forbes) According to Warrell, improved risk-taking starts with having “courageous conversations.” Is it possible that the questions you are afraid to ask are keeping you from necessary answers – in life and business?

  3. Self-Motivation

    Self-motivation is an essential life skill. In its simplest form, it is the internal force that drives you to get things done. It sounds easy, but the reality is this skill is inherent for some and must be learned by others. Our motivations are constantly changing – day to day, hour by hour. Consider the things you do on a daily basis – what is your motive? Why do you do what you do?

    In business, self-motivation is essential because the primary person that holds you accountable – is you. As your business grows, external motivation factors will come into play, but early on you must motivate yourself. “Self-motivation is the force that keeps pushing us to go on – it’s our internal drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward. When you think you’re ready to quit something, or you just don’t know how to start, your self-motivation is what pushes you to go on.” (Source: Mindtools.com) A cornerstone of life’s personal and professional achievement starts with motivating one’s ‘self’.

  4. Problem Solving

    If you are in business for any length of time you will experience the beauty of having 99 problems and then some. But this reality begs the question: are you an effective problem solver? If so, you’re already ahead in the entrepreneurship game; if not, business is the perfect training ground to help you hurdle over and tackle problems.

    Starting and managing a business is inherently problematic in more ways than one. Whether you are bridging personal knowledge gaps, coping with setbacks, putting out fires, or stopping problems before they start you must become a better problem solver.

    IQ Matrix writer Adam Sicinski explains, “Problem solving, creative and critical thinking go hand-in-hand helping us to see the world from a number of different vantage points. Each of these ways of thinking strengthen our capacity to think flexibly and intelligently when faced with the unending problems that life throws our way.”

    Becoming a better problem solver starts with your attitude, beliefs, and habits. Realistically, the only way you’ll become better at overcoming challenges is to encounter them. So, the next time a business problem comes your way make a concerted effort to take on the mindset of an expert problem solver.

  5. Communication

    How would you rate your communication skills? Communication was once considered a soft skill, but in today’s market it is a necessity. As business mentor Martin Zwilling candidly states in Forbes, “Modern Entrepreneurs Need To Learn How To Write.” This, however, is merely the starting point.

    Zwilling addresses a crucial point: “In the competitive realm of business, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. You have to be able to communicate effectively in all the common forms, including business writing, as well as talking, presenting, and producing videos. Lack of the requisite skills or discipline will get you branded as a poor business risk before the message is even considered.”

    Your ability to communicate effectively is a key business success driver. Poor communication skills are costly. To improve your communication skills start by asking more questions, become an active listener, watch your tone, and express yourself in a clear, concise and positive way.

What skills and traits have you found are essential to small business success? Let me know in the comments section below.




© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.


In this article