20 Entrepreneurs Reveal The Most Important Factors To Be Successful as an Entrepreneur

If you've been an entrepreneur for a while, you must have observed that you need some elements to be successful in business or be close to success. Some of these factors go beyond the financial capability to include the willingness to be persistent on the path you decide to take. It could also include the capability of the team you hire to help you achieve your business goals. In some cases, you need to be innovative to do more than what everyone else around you is doing or rather do it differently.

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners what they think are the most essential factors to be successful in entrepreneurship and here are the responses.

#1- Do. Then observe patterns

Photo Credit: Ryan O'Neil

If you're a budding or hopeful entrepreneur, you just have to start doing. I've watched so many great ideas stay as just that, ideas. You don't know how to approach a particular client? Do it anyways. Scared that you'll mess something up if you make a sale before you're registered for sales tax? Make the sale anyways. You're going to mess up to some degree but you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Once you've actually done something enough, then you need to reflect and look at the patterns that you saw. At that point, you finally have enough real information to make decisions. I had never been in sales in my life when I started doing calls for new inquiries. But the patterns showed I was having higher conversion rates. So I kept doing it and then started observing more subtle patterns to make my sales process better. Now we have four people on our sales team and I'm sitting in a hotel room writing this while preparing a pitch for a six-figure deal a year and a half after my first sales call. Because I did. Then we built based on those patterns.

Thanks to Ryan O'Neil, Curate!

#2- Three traits

Photo Credit: Emily Rowe

I really think the keys to success are fundamentally intuitive and well known, the hardest part is reminding yourself to stay diligent. The key components to success are simply hardworking, honesty, and empathy – with those three traits you can take on the world! I’ve personally experienced what it feels like to make an excuse to take a break. What is so important is to remind yourself, often as an entrepreneur, the hard work, in the beginning, brings future success. Dragging your feet only hurts you! Honesty, and where I see it falter most often, is when money gets tight. The best way to get new clients is to take really good care of your current ones, and often honesty is a huge part of that. Stay honest and you’ll watch your business grow. Finally, empathy. Try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Go the extra mile because you know from personal experience how valuable that effort us. Work hard, honestly, and empathetically and you’ll have clients banging down your door.

Thanks to Emily Rowe, Social Sensei LLC!

#3- Building relationships

Photo Credit: Casey Hill

Although success in business is clearly multifaceted, there is no doubt in my mind it all ultimately boils down to relationships. Effectively building relationships with customers, media outlets, influencers and even competitors can be vital to your success. Remember that your core goal as a business is to provide incredible value to your audience. Look at people who are influential in your space and engage with and share their content. I sometimes see new businesses that are fearful that sharing outside content will push credit away from their own content. On the contrary, sharing outside content builds trust and shows your customers you aren't just trying to sell them but you genuinely care about them having as much knowledge as possible about your niche. If you are looking to get a feature on a prominent blog, start by genuinely and candidly engaging with that influencer in your space and do this for months before asking for a thing.

Thanks to Casey Hill, Hill Gaming Company!

#4-Your return on investment

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, it is critical that you pay attention to ROI and the long-term in business. ROI is more than making money. Your return on investment can be defined as more exposure or a better reputation, all of which are factors that play into your success even if you don't see the hard results right away.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation!

#5- Having the grit and focus

For someone to succeed in an environment where almost 90% is likely to fail, having the grit and focus in what you're trying to accomplish is crucial. In many cases, entrepreneurs tend to give up just when they're about to hit the ‘Eureka!' moment as they think the struggle and hassle is not worth it. Having the unwavering vision and conviction, coupled with key alliances with people who complement your weakness, will help you get through the hurdles and keep going with the envisioned success.

Thanks to Jonha

#6- The 3D Recipe for Prosperity

Photo Credit: Damon Nailer

Dream- You must see and imagine yourself creating your company/business and becoming a successful entrepreneur. You do this by creating a mental picture of what you can do and who you can become if you put forth the necessary effort. 2. Desire- You must have an appetite to succeed. This element will fuel your passion, and actions towards establishing your business. 3. Discipline- This causes you to motivate, govern, and supervise yourself. It also causes you to avoid or stop doing things that will hinder your success and start implementing activities that will help you succeed.

Thanks to Damon Nailer, Kitril!

#7-Tools for organization

Photo Credit: Mike Vannelli

Organization is one of, if not the most important factor for becoming a successful entrepreneur and there are plenty of tools that help. When starting my production company, we relied on just things like emails, spreadsheets and printouts to schedule actors, look at deadlines, etc. We weren’t able to grow because we could barely keep track of what we had. As soon as we decided to do some research and find ways to become more organized, things turned around quickly. By using project management software (we use Airtable), we were able to schedule properly and deliver videos on time (or even earlier), leading to booking more videos productions. By using team communication software (we use Slack), we were able to get info from out team about the different projects, quickly and efficiently. By being organized, we are able to get more done, quicker, which lets us provide a fast and smooth service to our clients.

Thanks to Mike Vannelli, Envy Creative!


Photo Credit: Adam McIntyre

Any successful entrepreneur must be resilient enough to cope with the realities of running a business. The ups and downs, the highs and the lows. Unlike what social media would have you believe, being an entrepreneur is not all high-powered luncheons and private travel. It's tough, and at times, downright depressing. Unless you're resilient enough to work through these lowest of lows, you'll never last to experience the highs that comes with being a successful entrepreneur.

Thanks to Adam McIntyre, BrandPacks!

#9-YOU are the greatest determinant of success in your business

Photo Credit: Carmen Wilde

It would be so much easier on the ego if we could blame business failure or poor results on external factors like the economy, market saturation, lack of opportunity, unreliable staff etc. Undoubtedly these factors play a role in business success. However, my corporate, entrepreneurial and coaching experience over the last two decades has proved over and over that a far more important determinant of success is at play. And it all hinges around YOU the entrepreneur / business owner. YOU are the business, YOU are the most important product, YOU are the brand. An iconic business leader like Richard Branson personifies adventure and fun; Oprah Winfrey is about engagement and being engaging; Warren Buffet believes integrity can make you or break you in the professional world. How you engage with your world, the qualities you personify and your ability to constantly learn and grow determines your success in navigating the ever-changing world of business. Business is like an adventure, how YOU show up determines whether it’s a thrilling, hugely successful ride or a disappointing experience that makes you wish you’d stayed in your day job.

Thanks to Carmen Wilde, Wilde Success!

#10- Dedication

Photo Credit: Tara Langdale-Schmidt

One of the most important factors in being a successful entrepreneur is dedication. You must be all-in on your idea and be ready to spend endless hours working to guarantee your vision becomes a successful reality. I would work 24 hours a day – if I could – during the first three years of starting up my business. Anytime my eyes were open I was working. Now that the business is successful, I have made more time for my husband and family. The hard work was worth it though, I feel like those were my college years and now I am done studying.

Thanks to Tara Langdale-Schmidt, VuVatech!

#11- Three factors

Photo Credit: Nora Schaper

In my experience, if the following three factors are present along with careful planning and a lot of luck the path to business success is clear. – Desire/vision — the entrepreneurial path is not for the faint of heart. It is filled with failure and struggles and stressful days. But you get the credit for the big wins too. You have to really WANT it in order for it to work. – Opportunity — You need an idea/business that fills a need and you know how to communicate clearly on how your business solves the problem. You also have to get out there and hustle! That’s the only way to get in front of the right people at the right time. – Time — to do something well you need to spend a lot of time on it (practice makes perfect). The list is never done, and your job is to constantly be determining and spending time on the things that really matter. This adds a incredible challenge to work/life balance. You set your own boundaries here and these can be tough decisions.

Thanks to Nora Schaper, Bodylish!

#12- A number of factors based on my experience

Photo Credit: Christine Perkett

Trust your Gut – your first reaction to most things is usually correct. Hire People Smarter Than You – it will only make you and the company more successful. Besides, it’s great to learn from others no matter how far we’ve come. No one knows it all. Protect your Team and Make Tough Decisions – I once fired a client paying $35k a month because they were consistently abusive to my team and making the company miserable. The money was not worth the long-term damage. I’ve also fired good friends and family because it wasn’t working. I had one particularly tough situation where the person came back to me years later and thanked me – told me that they needed a wake up call and it was the right thing to do. That meant a lot to me. Let Go – don’t micromanage your business if you want it to grow Prioritize – so crucial to success. Hire people to do things that you can let go of. Take Vacation – too many entrepreneurs think it’s some sort of badge of honor to work 24/7. And while yes, many startup founders brag about this, the truth is that to truly be successful, you must always work on balance. Like a parent, you are only great if you first take care of yourself. Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No” – one of the most crucial business attributes is the ability to not take on everything thrown your way, to recognize when something’s not working, and to decline what doesn’t work for you and your goals.

Thanks to Christine Perkett, PerkettPR!

#13- Access to mentorship and the resources to scale

Photo Credit: Zachary Lezberg

Starting a business doesn’t come without its hurdles – from legislative barriers to the rise of mobile-first economies, entrepreneurs have an array of responsibilities to juggle that span across many departments of a traditional corporate infrastructure. One of the main factors for success is equal access to mentorship and the resources to scale. Utilize networking events in your local areas, both in-person and remote, and lean on your connections. They are more than willing to offer tips and best practices on how to navigate the peaks and valleys specific to your industry. Don’t be afraid to adapt to new practices – emerging technologies  like AI, if integrated correctly, can help to streamline your day-to-day practices, and will help you to develop (and implement) strong omnichannel strategies. Ensure you’re aligned with the ever-evolving preferences of your customers – brick-and-mortar should complement digital options and vice versa. Both should intertwine and work in tandem to maximize your success. Finally, be mindful of what proprietary data you have at your disposal to make smart, data-driven decisions. Risk taking is a given along the entrepreneurial journey – but leveraging data, resources and insights from third-parties and mentors will ensure the ‘risks’ you take are as calculated and informed as possible.

Thanks to Zachary Lezberg, Small Business Expo!

#14- Three factors

Photo Credit: Gordon Power

Primarily to make a successful entrepreneur you must have “vision”. I think in the first instance that means identifying what is causing your intended customer “pain” and then provide the right matching solution. That way customers will constantly return to buy your businesses products or services. Secondarily, you must listen, assess and think laterally to manage effectively the implementation of your business plan. Finally, accept and action lucky breaks

Thanks to Gordon Power, Earth Capital!

#15- Doing your homework

Photo Credit: Bruce Schoenberg

This year marks the 20th year I’ve been in the spa business. The most important factor for success I believe is doing your homework. Before I launched Oasis Day Spa in 1998, I spent 40 to 60 hours in the New York Public Library (yes, the internet wasn’t what it is today) reading everything I could not only on the spa industry, but [on] financials and business structures as well. I researched accountants and lawyers what the legalities were to own a spa, license therapists, etc., in the state of New York. I even brought together potential customers for a focus group. I advertised and worked with friends to find people who were spa-goers, and found more than 35 potential spa-goers to get their feedback on what they liked and didn't like about the industry. I also ran focus groups for people that worked in the industry to find out what it was that made them want to work at a spa. We talked to the focus groups about everything from the colors in the spa to the size of the rooms. Then I determined that the market to go after.

Thanks to Bruce Schoenberg, Oasis Day Spa!

#16- A few things

Photo Credit: Roy Broderick

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone as only the best survive and are deemed successful. There are a few things that are required for success, having a consistent brand Identity, maintaining your physical and mental health and understanding your customer. Your brand identity tells folks who you are and how they can expect to interact with you and your team. Success can also be stressful, that’s why it’s important to ensure you’re daily checking in on your physical and mental health, whether it’s a quick walk between meetings or a morning meditation exercise, a little goes a long way. Finally, other than yourself and your products, you should also be a master at knowing your customer. These are the people who will tell your story, buy your products and ultimately become champions for your business.

Thanks to Roy Broderick, The Intuition Consulting Firm, LLC!

#17- The right personality and mindset

Photo Credit: Ameet Khabra

I think before you can focus on any financial or business market factors, it's most important to ensure that you have the right personality and mindset to be an entrepreneur. Organized, outgoing, Type A – those are traits frequently attributed to successful entrepreneurs. But really, I think the most important trait shared by the most successful entrepreneurs is the ability to persevere. The process of starting a business is arguably *never* smooth sailing, if you aren't prepared to deal with failure, I don't believe you'll ever truly succeed. It's the ability to keep getting up regardless of how many times you've been knocked down that leads to the most successful businesses, and the most successful entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Ameet Khabra, Hopskipmedia!

#18- Outsourcing

Photo Credit: Vicky Llerena

See if you can partner with other business owners or organizations that offer similar or complementary services in order for you to reduce in-house inventory costs. Remember, you are a small business so having everything done in-house can skyrocket costs for you and you don't want to tap into your savings for something you can simply outsource.

Thanks to Vicky Llerena, SOCIAL VIBES MEDIA!

#19- Networking and selective staffing

Photo Credit: Anthem Hayek Blanchard

Every network of contacts has about 7 percent of extremely useful people who are crucial to your success. Make sure you keep in touch with those contacts on a regular basis, at least monthly. When it comes to staffing, be very selective when you need to bring someone on board and when deciding if that person should be full- or part-time. Slow to hire, fast to fire may sound harsh, but all it takes is one bad apple to poison the bunch. When you are asking someone to be a frontline person or a manager, be even more careful. In large companies, you can expect at least 10 or 20 percent of people may not pull their weight. In a startup, you can't afford that, it will kill you.

Thanks to Anthem Hayek Blanchard, Anthem Vault!

#20- A Strategy, with metrics, and sticking to it

Photo Credit: Wayne Strickland

After 38 years in the corporate world, watching my wife launch her own consulting business and now starting my own business, I have a handful of ideas for entrepreneurs to follow to be more efficient.You must dedicate time to really understand your value proposition and what service you are offering that makes a difference, and stay 100% focused on that plan. Don’t waste time and chase new ideas that are not in alignment with your plan. You need to have clear metrics that tell you if you are achieving your plan. These have to include quantifiable, measurable financial metrics. They can’t be all feel good metrics. Once you’ve established your plan, you need to possess the discipline to follow your plan and the metrics you established. You can’t change the metrics. Lastly, you must have the courage to pause or stop if it’s not what you thought.

Thanks to Wayne Strickland

What are the most important factors to be succesful as an entrepreneur? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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