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  • Writer's pictureStacey Ebert

Character Traits of Successful Small Business Owners

Have you ever been asked that interview question to share three words your friends would use to describe you? What do you say? There are heaps of traits that often emerge when discussing successful individuals. Whether iconic leaders, elite athletes, Michelin star chefs, or talented executives of companies where everyone knows their name - certain character traits rise to the top. Small business entrepreneurs need a whole lot of grit, heaps of patience, and sheer tenacity of spirit. Do you have what it takes?

The Cream of the Crop

‘For more than two decades, small enterprises have employed two out of three workers in the country. They also lead industries in creativity and innovation’. Quick - think of the most successful mega business moguls you know, names like Bezos, Gates, and Buffet. Now think of the successful small businesses - the ones you follow on Instagram, or the ones who blew up after a stint on Shark Tank. Often the ones that catch your eye are led by individuals who exude passion for their mission, their business, and their products and services. Most of these entrepreneurs are goal-oriented, accountable, passionate, and self-motivated. ‘Whether you call it drive, determination or motivation, it’s one of the non-negotiable elements of business success. Nobody slacks their way into success in the long term’ .

Survival takes perseverance

‘In an interview with The Computerworld Smithsonian Awards Program, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs said, ‘I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance’.’ Traits like driven, self-reliant, confident, fiscally-responsible, and humble are all part of that success. Humility is key. Humility ‘is being aware of one’s own fallibility and knowing one’s actual limitations. Humble business owners are able to ask for help when they need it, to accept legitimate criticism and feedback, and to remain grounded even in success’. While leaders with one of these traits might be successful on their own merits, it’s those who have multiples of these traits who often rise to the level of successful small business owners.

The grit factor - how to rise to the top

‘Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina...Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint.‘ (Angela Lee Duckworth) Common traits of those successful small business owners run the gamut, but what they all have in common is that grit factor. Traits like flexible, visionary, focused, future-oriented, and resourceful are in the mix of those successful entrepreneurs. While they’re often creative, brave, and adventurous, that grit factor flourishes in their resiliency. ‘Being a small business owner comes with its ups and downs; there are victories, setbacks, chaos, and calm waters. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who are resilient and able to bounce back after an unexpected challenge and get back up after facing a setback.’

‘Every business is unique and poses its own challenges, but there are traits that many successful business owners have in common. This is not a list of must-haves. No person on Earth has every single one of these characteristics. Fortunately, although we often think of a “trait” as being something inborn and unchangeable, [these] traits...can be developed and improved with experience.’ A wide range of talent, skill, and perseverance is necessary to meet growing challenges, overcome setbacks, and ride the often bumpy, winding road to success. So while we know there are multiple blends of personalities and character traits that are unique to each genre, profession, and business, the most successful moguls all have passion, drive, and grit. Is this you?

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