What Entrepreneurial Traits Lead to Business Success?

Every year in the United States, about 600,000 new businesses are started. Some go on to be extremely successful, and many fail, especially in today’s reality of economic challenges. What are the deciding factors in success or failure? Here are 11 entrepreneurial traits or characteristics that can lead to success:
1. Confidence. In order to successfully operate a business, you must be completely confident in your skills, your self-worth and the worth of your business.
2. It is not rocket science. Business success is common sense supplemented by a thorough understanding of proper principles, supported by appropriate techniques, taking ACTION, and monitoring results.
3. Sense of Purpose. A successful owner knows exactly what he or she is doing and why. An unwavering vision of direction is the only way to assure a successful arrival.
4. Passion for What You Do. Without it, your business does not stand much of a chance. Enthusiasm is contagious, and if you are passionate about your enterprise you’re sure to draw others into your excitement. Do what you enjoy, and you’ll naturally exude a level of delight that is catching.
5. Money Management Skills. The old adage “you must spend money to make money” is true. But it’s extremely important to be prudent in your financial affairs, carefully managing inventory, debt and income to keep the cash flowing and ensure your success. In business, “Cash is King”.  If you take on debt, have a definite plan to repay it with amounts and time lines. 
6. Understanding of technology and trends. Getting hung up on the latest technology has its hazards, but staying on the cutting edge can give you the competitive edge. Use technology that helps you succeed; don’t get caught up in technology just because it’s impressive.
7. Willingness to Listen to Others. Effective listening is a must. Never be afraid to listen to others. You never know when it will be the solution for a problem you might not even know you have.
8. Good Support System. The team with which you surround yourself can mean the difference between success and failure. A competent business operator understands that they cannot competently do it all. A professional “outside” team (legal, insurance, accounting, etc.) and an “inside” team are an absolute must..
9. Proficiency at Planning. A well-ordered plan is like a road map, pointing you in the direction you need to take to reach your goals. Without a plan, you cannot hope to succeed, but it should not be “cut in stone”. Plans need to be flexible and are always subject to change.
10. Customer Skills. A successful business owner understands a business cannot survive without customers. But remember, customers do not make a business. It is a sale! If “customers” do not buy, you don’t have a business.
11. Expert Negotiation. A business operator must be skilled at negotiation in every aspect of the business. Whether dealing with vendors, customers or staff members, being able to orchestrate win-win situations is crucial to running a business.

There are no tried-and-true formulas for business success. A lot can depend on the market, the economy and the business itself. By employing the above characteristics, using common sense, employing proven business principles and techniques, you can increase the probability of your business success.

Why people don’t move to more successful behaviors easily

(Or, why people don’t move to more successful behaviors easily)
We are familiar with the term “comfort zone”. This is the “place” where we are comfortable operating within. Also, most people are, to varying degrees, “resistant” to change, especially to change out our of their comfort zone. Cognitive Dissonance explains this behavior.
In modern psychology cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In other words, being in our comfort zone, and wanting to change for improvement or growth.
The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. It is the distressing mental state that people feel when they “find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold.” A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance. They do this until their “pain/discomfort” causes them to take action.
Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people engage in a process termed “dissonance reduction” (move away from “the pain/discomfort”), which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.
The solution to cognitive dissonance is to adopt the following principle:

It is All About Execution

( I don’t mean capital punishment)

Recently, my wife completed an MBA program, and was awarded a Masters in Business Administration degree. It was a long process for her as she was employed full time. She was diligent, and we were elated at her accomplishment and in attending her “graduation”.

As a small business owner, I was particularly interested in the subjects she was required to complete. I was impressed with the case studies and the projects that her and her student team collaborated on. The business plans, marketing plans were particularly impressive. Quite honestly, I wished I had been able to construct such impressive plans.

One of the reasons she had embarked on the rigorous program was to attain career advancement in her profession. As a Registered Nurse, higher management level positions required advanced degrees, so she reasoned that if she was to attain a “mid to senior level” management position she needed an MBA. Upon graduation she took a management position, and was excited about the new challenge.

As she oriented in her new position and the months passed by, she found that she actually was not able to put into action many of the things she had learned in her MBA program. Eventually, she became frustrated and stressed to the point where resigned her position, and returned to her previous position at her former hospital.

The point is, that impressive business plans, marketing plans, management theories are great, but don’t have any value unless they are executed. Not only that they are executed, but are executed to a high level of proficiency and consistency. In the “real world” of business, it is superb and consistent execution that makes the difference between success, mediocrity and failure.

I am reminded about the philosophy of the famous football coach, Vince Lombardi. He stressed learning the “basics”, and having a “few plays” that were executed to perfection. Surely, elaborate plans or plays are impressive on paper, but when it comes winning, be it in football or the “game of business” it is all about execution. It may not be glamorous or flashy, but it is what gets the job done.

As a business owner, when you are doing your business plan, marketing plan, and setting your goals, be sure to include proper attention and focus on proper execution. That means that you plan for proper monitoring and follow up on all initiatives. Execution is where the “rubber meets the road”, and that is where it counts. May you “execute your way to business success”