What makes a good entrepreneur? The North East Growth Hub takes look at the spirit of North East businesses to see what attributes they share that make them do so well.
Entrepreneurs and business owners come from all walks of life, but they often have some core skills and aptitudes in common if they’re successful – the difference between a good business and a great business is the entrepreneur behind it all.
There’s no escaping this one – you have to be good at something. Even if the thing you’re good at, is just knowing what other people are good at! For any business venture to really take off, it must produce results for its customers in some form.
There can be a big difference between liking to do something and being good at it, and if your livelihood depends on it then you should find a friend, family member or other trusted advisor who will be honest with you about your aptitude.
And just because you have skill in a specific area, doesn’t mean you can’t also improve! Being the best at what you do is a critical unique selling point for many small businesses, and is a great way of getting noticed. Also, in many industries, continuous professional development (CPD) is vital to keep your skills sharp as times and technologies change.
You’re going to face problems in entrepreneurship. Lots of them. Every day. Too many entrepreneurs see a challenge and are almost instantly overcome by it, folding too early or refusing to take a new risk.
Tenacious entrepreneurs, the ones willing to work past anything, keep going long after their contemporaries fold.
It’s very, very rare that anyone is good at everything. But entrepreneurs do have to be involved with a lot of activities that they may not feel they have a natural aptitude for; some people hate numbers, some despise the thought of trying to sell themselves, for example.
To really be successful, it’s okay to acknowledge your weaknesses. Self-awareness will help you to learn how to compensate for the things that you aren’t so good at, leaving you free to spend your energy on the things that will help you to make it.
The ability to say ‘no’
When it comes to clients, establish a set of criteria for yourself and stick to them – work with people who will value you. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep; you’ll earn more respect by saying ‘no’ honestly than you will for fudging a job and doing it badly.
Remember that your reputation is king, and saying no to work that you can’t do well will lead to more productive work and positive relationships in the longer term.
Far from just being a cliché that you see in someone’s CV, when you don’t work for anyone else it’s vitally important that you can motivate yourself to do what needs to be done!
Being an entrepreneur can have fantastic benefits when it comes to managing your own time, allowing you to develop your business around family or lifestyle commitments, but that can mean finding the energy and motivation to start working at times of the day when most people aren’t.
The Growth through mentoring scheme could help you to identify your best ways of working productively.
Risk aware – probably not adverse
Entrepreneurialism is always a risk, and being your own boss is a world filled with big rewards but also with risks. The most successful business people tend to be good at spotting things that are a little risky, but equally not afraid to take a bit of a gamble from time to time.
If you’re too risk adverse, you’ll find it hard to win work and it might be too stressful for you in the long term.
But equally, if you don’t worry about risks at all, you might find yourself in situations that you can’t get out of.
You can’t fake your passion for business. Passion for what you do is what will make you different from the rest; what will make you work the extra hours and go the extra mile for your customers.
If you aren’t passionate about what you do, how can you expect anyone else to be?