How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

A successful entrepreneur requires a variety of skills and characteristics. Whether you are starting out as a new business owner or are wanting to grow your company, the suggestions in this lesson will help you strengthen your skills.

Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

You have the dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, and having the freedom and flexibility that comes from being an entrepreneur. But do you have the skills to develop and grow your own business? Let's look at some of the aspects that make a successful entrepreneur.

Skills and Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

There are critical elements to becoming a successful business owner. Review the characteristics below to see which areas you need to develop before starting your own company.

Interpersonal Skills

Are you good at finding new opportunities? Do you build relationships easily? Do you push yourself to meet goals and deadlines?

Successful entrepreneurs must be able to create new ideas, work with others to expand their business, and don't give up until they reach their goals. Having these interpersonal skills will help you push through difficult times. It will also allow you to think outside the box and come up with solid solutions and grow opportunities.

Let's imagine you desire to open a t-shirt design company. You plan to offer unique styles and designs that will attract a wide variety of t-shirt wearers. One of the challenges of starting your business is finding places to sell the shirts and getting large accounts. Using your interpersonal skills to build relationships and connect with business buyers will be critical to your long-term success. Even if you find this task difficult, you push yourself to network and meet with buyers and decision makers at retail chains. This gives you a chance to show your designs and get valuable feedback for your company.

Taking Appropriate Risks

Are you a risk taker? An entrepreneur needs to understand when to take risks and when to be conservative. A successful business owner must be willing to take risks to expand the market, take opportunities, and grow his or her business.

Taking appropriate risks includes understanding what your potential customers want, what can expand the current market, and what new products or services you can offer. As a risk taker, you must be willing to shake things up in your market. This means you must be unique and creative. If you have a new idea that consumers want, you can be incredibly successful as an entrepreneur.

Returning to the t-shirt example, it is vital that you are willing to take risks to create your designs and share them with consumers. You decide to set up a focus group to get input on your new shirts. You've taken risks to get to this point by making new shirts, demonstrating your designs, and asking for feedback.

Being a Hard Worker

Owning your own business takes longer hours, more dedication, and greater focus than you can imagine. It is likely you will be responsible for all aspects of your company, at least when you start out. You will need to understand accounting, management, inventory control, product development, human resources, and all other elements of business operations. This can feel incredibly overwhelming to new business owners. However, if you are determined to work hard and put in the effort required, you can grow your business and get needed help for areas that are not your strengths.

In your t-shirt company, you must start early in the day, work all day long, and put in late nights. The hard work and long hours are necessary to build momentum, create enough inventory to appeal to buyers, and understand what consumers want to buy. Your role as an entrepreneur requires you to wear many hats and build a solid foundation.

Knowing Your Market

Understanding your business market is critical to business success. If you are entering a market that you are not familiar with, it will be necessary to do some research and homework. You'll need to know who the main competitors are, what the consumers want, and what has been successful (and not successful) in the past.

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