According to a study reported on by CNBC, hundreds of thousands of different businesses launch from coast to coast in the United States each month. Despite that, only about 75% will make it to their one year anniversary. Startups fail for a wide range of different reasons – from almost instant cash flow problems to creating a product or service that the market doesn’t actually need, just to name a few.
Yet perhaps the most important thing that all of the startups that are successful share is that they had a successful entrepreneur at the heart of it all. Anyone can say that they’re an entrepreneur – that part is fairly easy. Actually having a vision and seeing it through to the end, allowing it to live on and become something much bigger than yourself is another story entirely.
Instead of looking at the qualities that all successful startups share, it’s important to look at the people behind them. After all, “where there’s a will, there’s a way” as the old saying goes. As it turns out, that “will” (along with a number of other characteristics) are a much larger piece of the puzzle than a lot of people may have realized.
Successful Entrepreneurs Are Self-Disciplined
Being a successful entrepreneur with a successful startup involves more than just “being your own boss.” If you’re going to achieve the vision you have inside your head and make it a reality, you need to be harder on yourself than even your harshest critics could ever dream of being. You need to wake up every morning and push yourself harder, faster and longer than you did the day before. You can’t be the type of person who follows orders – you’ve long since left that life behind.
You need to have an insatiable drive to challenge yourself – to keep your mind open and to try out new ideas. You also need to be able to overcome a natural fear of failure, because you WILL fail – a great deal. But every time you fall, you need to be not just willing but able to pick yourself back up again and charge head first back onto the path you’ve laid out for yourself like you wouldn’t even consider having it any other way.
They Have a Vision
Speaking of the path you’ve laid out for yourself, another one of the core qualities that all entrepreneurs share is that they have a vision. This goes far behind just “I have an idea for a product and I want to run a business.” It’s something much deeper and more organic.
Successful entrepreneurs with successful startups know how they’re going to make the lives of their target audiences better. They know how they’re going to reach those people. They know how they’re going to mitigate risks and overcome challenges before they happen. They know where their own talents end and know how to bring together the best people to fill those gaps. They know that it isn’t necessarily going to be easy and that every day won’t be completely rewarding, but they’re going to forge ahead anyway. Because they have to.
They’re Master Communicators
Having a vision is one thing – actually getting both the people you’re working with and the people you’re trying to reach on the same page with that vision, however, is something else entirely. This is the reason why all successful entrepreneurs must be master communicators – they have to know how to get something that previously only existed in their head out into the world in a way that is absolutely impossible to ignore.
Internally, this takes the from of an environment of open and honest communication. They make sure that their teams know what they’re trying to accomplish, why this is important and what their own expectations are. Successful entrepreneurs make it clear that everyone within a startup has a mission-critical role to play and that everyone is in this together.
They Show – They Never Tell
Externally, this often takes the form of visual communication – particularly these days where it has become a more essential component of marketing than ever. Successful entrepreneurs know that they can use a tool like Visme to create a compelling Infographic or presentation that communicates a message to a brand new audience using modern day techniques. They know that their goal isn’t just to make an Infographic, but to make one that is easily shareable that can spread their message far and wide.
They know that the days of spec sheets and length PDF overviews are long gone, replaced instead by visual materials that rely heavily on the art of storytelling as their guide. They don’t just know how to reach an audience, communicating not what a product can do but why that product is important, but they also know how to “show, never tell” at the same time.
They Are Their Own Champions
If you looked at a list of the ten most successful startups of the last decade, you’d be looking at a list of ten completely different companies.
In fact, at first glance they probably wouldn’t share anything in common at all. But regardless of the audience you’re trying to reach, the product or service you’re trying to build or even the industry you’re operating in, all successful startups DO share a very important trait:
They all have a successful entrepreneur acting as the foundation upon which everything is built.
Successful entrepreneurs are their own champions. That voice that they’re always trying to satisfy – the one that is their biggest supporter and their fiercest critic at the same time – is and will always be themselves. Because this is how these people are wired. They know how to take the risks. They know how to make the sacrifices. Even when things look bleak and the future in question, they know how to push themselves to move forward anyway – because they literally don’t have another choice.