There is no such thing as a “typical” entrepreneur. We come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. Still, myths abound and most of us walk around with a specific caricature of an entrepreneur in our minds. Most often that image includes someone who is bold, daring, comfortable with risks, and a consummate schmoozer. There’s no problem with this constellation of traits except that it can hold a lot of other people back. I have met countless aspiring entrepreneurs who fear they aren’t cut out for the job because they keep comparing themselves against this common stereotype. The truth is that success depends on something quite different.
When it comes to building a sustaining, stable, and satisfying venture, there are 5 specific skills that make a difference, including your ability to:
1. Admit, comfortably and confidently, what you don’t know
Far from the know-it-all, most successful entrepreneurs spend a lot of time identifying what they don’t know and, more importantly, how they can find out. Openly admitting knowledge gaps is as important as comfortably asking for help. Most people are hesitant about displaying this much vulnerability but entrepreneurs know that their survival depends on it.
2. Embrace the pursuit of learning
Because you can’t and won’t know everything, those entrepreneurs who love and embracing the process of learning go further. They indulge their curiosity and consider themselves perpetual students. It’s their hunger for a better understanding of their industry, product, customer and business that helps propel their company further and keeps them ahead of the curve. So, no matter how big your business coups don’t go resting on your laurels. Instead dive into another area of unknown.
3. Persevere in the face of uncertainty
Perseverance is a critical survival skill. And luckily, most people can find it within themselves to persevere in the face of adversity – we’re just wired to do it. And that’s a good thing because there is plenty of adversity in entrepreneurship. What’s even harder though is persevering in the face of uncertainty, which you’ll find plenty of in entrepreneurship. Success depends upon your ability to remain committed despite having no guarantees.
4. Know and manage your own weaknesses
None of us is perfect. None of us can do it all. The sooner you embrace that fact the better – for you and your business. Successful entrepreneurs are just as clear about their strengths as they are their weaknesses. And, they don’t stop with just acknowledge their short-comings. Instead they work hard to counteract their impact on their productivity, leadership, vision, execution, and decision making. It’s important for all entrepreneurs to identify successful tactics for staying out of their own way.
5. Value yourself and the business
Many entrepreneurs make steep compromises for “the sake of the business.” These may include money, type of work, sleep, friends, family, health, mission, the list goes on. I’ve yet to meet an entrepreneur who hasn’t put their business ahead of themselves at some point in time. What successful entrepreneurs realize however is that the business needs to actually be in service of them. It’s not sustainable to sacrifice your own interests and needs for the business. It’s not strategic to offer your business less than your very best self. It’s not wise to ignore your own limits and boundaries. Your time and energy are valuable assets and they should be as carefully marshaled and preserved as other business resources.
Strategic Entrepreneurship Expert – Adelaide Lancaster of In Good Company from Philadelphia, PA
Adelaide Lancaster, co-founder, is a successful entrepreneur who excels at making business ideas a reality and helping businesses grow to their potential. Adelaide is both a strategic thinker and a master implementer. She has spent her professional career dedicated to helping women find work that is meaningful and rewarding. Adelaide was recently featured in the book Upstarts!, as one of 60 Gen-Y entrepreneurs who are rocking the world of business. Adelaide was co-founder and Principal Partner of Berkman Fives a consulting firm that helped women professionals with career development and advancement and women entrepreneurs with business growth and efficiency. Adelaide also is a contributor to The Huffington Post and Daily Muse.
Adelaide also co-authored the book “The Big Enough Company”.