30 Entrepreneurs Explain The Most Important Traits 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- Time and resources allocation

Photo Credit: Riley Adams

For CEOs to be successful, they need to know how best to allocate their time and resources. From day-to-day, they need to understand how their schedules can be utilized most-effectively to drive desired business outcomes. This includes minimizing meetings which don't move the organization toward accomplishing its stated objectives and instead prioritizing those events which lead toward productive results. CEOs have invaluable insight but they must know where this can be applied in the most impactful manner.

Thanks to Riley Adams, Young and the Invested!

#2-Getting back up after falling

Photo Credit: Benjamin K. Walker

The most important trait an entrepreneur is the ability to get back up after you get knocked down. Like Mike Tyson used to say everyone has a plan till they get punched in the face, the same goes for successful entrepreneurs. They get back up and keep going no matter what happens, and they know not everything will work out so you have to keep trying new ways till it does work.

Thanks to Benjamin K. Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC!

#3- Mental toughness

Photo Credit: Nick Disney

If you are going to be an entrepreneur, the road to success almost always has hundreds of hurdles and dozens of setbacks. You will be told that you are wrong, you will be told that you will fail, investors will choose not to fund your ideas, and you will have to work harder than most of the people you know. If you do not have the mental toughness to push through the hard times and to get back up when you get knocked down, you will probably fall short. If you can become extremely mentally tough, you stand a great chance of becoming successful as an entrepreneur.

Thanks to Nick Disney, Sell My San Antonio House!

#4- Self-motivation

Photo Credit: David Cawley

I've found that entrepreneurs who are highly self-motivated tend to be much more successful in not only starting but growing their own businesses. When someone starts a business, they tend to carry an innate sense of motivation with them, which can simply be tied to the fact that they are hungry (and maybe even desperate) for business. During this period, most people are able to harness the pressure they feel to get themselves going in the morning and go out and hit things hard. When the business reaches a point to where the business is profitable and the owner is comfortable, however, most entrepreneurs start to pump the brakes. When a business starts to do well is exactly when it should start to speed up, not slow down, and it takes a highly self-motivated person to continue at working at growing their business..

Thanks to David Cawley, Micah Fraim, CPA!

#5- Team management

Photo Credit: Alexis Matthews

Of all the character traits that go into making a successful entrepreneur, the ability to manage a team and effectively delegate is the most important. Far too many entrepreneurs try to do everything in the business and wear far too many hats. Knowing when to outsource, who to hire, how to manage, and when to let go of control is critical for success. It is important to remember that as the CEO you are the driving force behind
business growth, not the primary workforce.

Thanks to Alexis Matthews, Premier Executive Media!

#6- Being a self-starter

Photo Credit: Lauren McManus

The most important trait for successful entrepreneurs is being a self-starter that keeps working hard even when the chips are down. Entrepreneurship is hard. It's one of the most difficult things I've ever taken on, and the truth is there will be a lot of good days and bad days. You have to continue being driven to get the work done even on those bad days because only you are responsible for whether or not you succeed. No one is going to come and pat you on the back and tell you that you have done a good job, and similarly, no one is going to hold your hand and tell you everything will be alright when things go downhill. If you don't have the ability to keep at it regardless of what section of the entrepreneurship roller coaster you are on, you may struggle to actually make it to the point of success. It's unfortunately very easy to want to sleep in and not do the work when things get rough, but the difference between the people who make it and the ones who have to get a day job is showing up every day and continuing to strive towards your dreams.

Thanks to Lauren McManus, Create and Go!

#7- Communication

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

Being a good communicator is really important for an entrepreneur to succeed. Whether you are focusing on fundraising, hiring, promoting or scaling, you need to be able to communicate effectively with investors, employees, the media, and partners or the idea will die in your head. Being able to share your story is critical to spreading the word and turning your dream and vision into reality. Communication goes both ways so learn to talk and listen for best results.

See also  30 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Traits of an Effective Leader

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

#8 – Emphatic self-awareness

Photo Credit: Sanjay Malhotra

Amongst the many entrepreneurs and business owners I’ve come across in my career, the one common trait amongst those most successful was their emphatic self-awareness. While the definition of empathy describes “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another,” I think it’s just as important to practice that understanding with oneself as they work towards achieving specific goals. What I mean by this is that as an entrepreneur there will always be certain situations beyond one’s control where failure becomes inevitable, despite one’s best efforts. However, successful entrepreneurs have the ability to not only understand that failure is more likely than success but more importantly, understand that the faster they fail, the sooner they can repair the damage. When an entrepreneur practices emphatic self-awareness, they take circumstances as they come and make the best of them, turning them into learning moments. This is essential to becoming successful. As one works through their ideas and certain ones fail, instead of being down on themselves, successful entrepreneurs use failure as an opportunity to identify what was done, what was done wrong, and what can be improved next time to ensure a better outcome.

Thanks to Sanjay Malhotra, Clearbridge Mobile!

#9- Being curious

Photo Credit: Josh Bluman

This is because starting a business usually involves exploring unknown territory, dealing with unexpected change, and learning new things every day. If you're curious, these are all things that will come naturally to you, and you'll be able to quickly gain the knowledge you need to make your business better. One of the most amazing things about curiosity is that if you're not curious, it's easy to become curious. Just start asking more questions, seek to understand all the little details, and as you gain more knowledge it will eventually become clear that you can apply this to grow your business.

Thanks to Josh Bluman, JJSuspenders!

#10- The art of the pivot

Photo Credit: Joshua Carlson

Good entrepreneurs have mastered the art of pivoting. When starting a business it is very unlikely your company will stay exactly the same as when you started it. Your target market might need to change. Your product or service many need to be tweaked to better meet demand. The trick is to know when its appropriate to pivot, and in what manner.

Thanks to Joshua Carlson, Treasured Spaces!

#11- Believe in themselves

Photo Credit: Brandyn Campbell

The most important trait for successful entrepreneurs isn't the belief of the quality of their product or service, but an unwavering belief in themselves. The process of building a business means constant twists, turns, and unexpected pitfalls. Change is the only constant in entrepreneurship, and you need to be confident in your abilities to navigate the inevitable shifts. Your products and services will evolve, you may pivot from your original company model and focus, and your target market may shift. If you don't inherently believe in yourself and consider what you have to offer as being worthwhile, then the journey of enduring these changes becomes infinitely more difficult. That belief in yourself and what you have to offer will get you through the joy and heartbreak that is part and parcel of the entrepreneurial road.

Thanks to Brandyn Campbell, Brandyn Campbell Communications!

#12- Integrity

Photo Credit: Megan Percell

Integrity is the most important trait for a successful business owner. It is easy to cheat your way to the top, but integrity will keep you there. When you chose to stay authentic to yourself and your brand, you create a business that lasts.

Thanks to Megan Percell, Five More Minutes!

#13- Work ethic

Photo Credit: Trevor Rappleye

Every entrepreneur must have a strong, stable work ethic to be successful. Your success could be equated to the amount of time worked and your resilience to continue working. Growing my company, CorporateFilming has taught me to fail again and again and yet always get back up. Prepare for every situation with a back-up plan! An entrepreneur's work ethic and resilience are necessary to stay ahead.

Thanks to Trevor Rappleye, Corporate Filming!

#14- Resilience

Photo Credit: Stephanie Cartin

From the moment you decide to launch your own business, you will be faced with an onslaught of obstacles to overcome, many of which you never expected. Whether that means facing rejection from potential investors or any number of logistical hiccups while you try to build a team and expand your business, it is important to let your vision for the company guide you and help you overcome daily frustrations. Additionally, entrepreneurs have to do all of this while sometimes facing issues in their personal life, adding another layer of difficulty to the task. I personally struggled with both chronic illness and a difficult pregnancy while running my business, and resilience helped me balance taking care of myself while continuing to grow my company.

Thanks to Stephanie Cartin, Socialfly!

#15- Listening

Photo Credit: Ron Wood

I started my career as a journalist and moved up from a street reporter, news director to a newspaper publisher. All along my trip the single most important lesson I learned was to listen. The most important part of running a business is to listen. Listen to your customers/clients, your associates, and public policy. Even listen to the custodial engineer. Listen to developing the technology. You must be accessible to all to be able to hear them.

Thanks to Ron Wood, Ron Wood Public Relations!

#16- Genuine interest

Photo Credit: Adam Hempenstall

The one trait you need to succeed (without struggling) is a genuine interest in what you’re working on. The most successful entrepreneurs out there have one thing in common – they were passionate about what they were building. They knew the problem inside and out and they had the desire to help out their target audience.

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Thanks to Adam Hempenstall, Better Proposals!

#17- Risk-taking

Every industry requires decision-making and it should be done as quickly as possible especially if you belong in a fast-paced environment. Making decisions, big or small, could be difficult; it would sometimes require you to take risks. A good entrepreneur must know when and how to take actions despite the uncertainty, worries, and fears. Being able to take risks is something that would go a long way for someone who wants to be successful in his business.

Thanks to Irally Cariaso, Linking News!

#18- Tenacity

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Sutton

Tenacity encompasses a number of characteristics needed if you are to succeed as an entrepreneur. All the most successful entrepreneurs I know are passionate about what they do, are the most determined and hard-working people I’ve met, and are thick-skinned. Being an entrepreneur is not a profession for the weak or those that are not self-motivated. I’d also say that an element of assertiveness is needed, and all of these traits are encompassed by the word tenacity.

Thanks to Elizabeth Sutton, Elizabeth Sutton Collection!

#19- Balancing out

Photo Credit: Amanda L. Kendall

The most important trait for an entrepreneur to be successful is to know their capabilities and being willing to give up some control in areas you are not the best at. As entrepreneurs so many of us wear ALL the hats- sales, marketing, CEO, CFO, operations, customer service, deliverables, and on and on and on- this is usually out of necessity in the beginning of our business but as we grow, it seems to be more out of a need to maintain control. By learning to know your strengths and bringing in help to balance out your weaknesses a business can grow substantially faster than if you continue to try to do it all. Balancing the cost of hiring someone against the revenues you could generate in the same time it takes you to do it on your own, more often, you could bill more than you will save and in this sense, it makes not only financial sense but mental sense also to free that time up on your schedule. Know what you are good at, know where you need help and be willing to bring in the people that are experts in that area that you are not. This will provide for a more rounded business and more complete and rounded experience for your clients and customers.

Thanks to Amanda L. Kendall, Elevating Profits, LLC!

#20- Persistence

Photo Credit: Patrick Barnett

One of the most important traits for an entrepreneur is persistence. If you want to be successful, you need to be willing to do what the average person is unwilling to do. Persistence is often what often makes the difference between success or failure. Reaching success as an entrepreneur means you must have the mental toughness to endure the inevitable ups and downs. And this is only achieved through persistence. In the beginning phases of business ownership, you will face many challenges and if persistence is not part of your makeup, it will be tough to overcome these obstacles. With persistence, just about anything is possible. Persistence means you won't stop until you reach your goals. When you have the trait of persistence, you can find the roadmap to success. As the saying goes, persistence breaks resistance and this certainly holds true if you want to reach the pinnacle of entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Patrick Barnett, The Income Spot!

#21- Problem-solving

Photo Credit: Suzanne Brown

The most important trait for a successful entrepreneur is to be able to solve problems. This requires that they listen (even better if they use active listening) and truly understand their client's needs. And entrepreneurs must also know enough about competitors to have a point of differentiation as well. And with these things in mind, entrepreneurs are able to consistently evolve or pivot to meet the needs of the marketplace. And that problem-solving ability serves them well as things unfold and problems arise in their day-to-day as well.

Thanks to Suzanne Brown, OKsuzi Marketing!

#22- Not allowing indecisiveness

Photo Credit: Dave Ramsey

Great entrepreneurs are also great leaders. We call them EntreLeaders. And among the most important traits is not allowing indecisiveness due to fear. Of course you're afraid sometimes. I'm still afraid 30 years in! But we make the call anyway and we don't let fear be the driving force of the decision. Sometimes good decision making can mean deciding to be passively active. That's right! Deciding not to decide right now is a decision. That's different from being paralyzed by fear.

Thanks to Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Solutions!

#23- Grit

Photo Credit: Durée Ross

To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to have grit! I also believe you have to be a person of your word and if you say you are going to do something, do it. That’s all you have in life is your word. In my 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, I have learned that success comes from keeping your promises and over-delivering on them. Through the tough times, and there always will be as an entrepreneur, follow through from start to finish.

Thanks to Durée Ross, Durée & Company!

#24- Passion

Photo Credit: Robert Morlot

Successful entrepreneurs must have an enduring passion for their dream. That passion will see them through the many failures that will inevitably occur. Fulfilling that dream, is best accomplished by surrounding yourself with a motivated and gifted team of people who share your dream but bring a diverse set of skills and thinking to your enterprise…. people who are as passionate about your dream as you.

See also  24 Entrepreneurs Explain the Best Traits of an Effective Leader

Thanks to Robert Morlot, Clearwater Business Advisers!

#25- Multitasking

Photo Credit: Zarar Ameen

One of my top tips for being a successful entrepreneur is the often complex task of multitasking. As a CEO or the manager of your business, it’s easy for big tasks to pile up. When you’re overburdened, it’s hard to keep track of how much you should be prioritizing and investing in each task. In that case, you’re almost always doomed to fail. You never want to let your work get the best of you. Keep a calendar, a to-do list, daily reminders, and delegate to the people around you. Remember that overburdening yourself with responsibilities will not only lead to burnout; it’ll also be a massive blow to the quality of your work.

Thanks to Zarar Ameen, CANZ Marketing!

#26- Teachability

Photo Credit: Oscar Chavez

Teachability is the single most important trait in becoming a successful entrepreneur. There is no single, uniform “cookie-cutter” approach to success, but the best way to learn is to learn from people who have walked a similar path and gotten the results you crave and desire. Yet most people don’t understand that the biggest thing standing in the way of attaining success is ego. Ego is the confident persona standing in the room, who acts as if he knows what is best, but he doesn’t have the experience or competence to back this up. Yet ego is also the shy, timid persona, who is incredibly skilled at what he does but downplays his value. Being teachable means that you are open to learning and you have integrated your strengths and weaknesses into your conscious identity. You’re making that commitment to honor your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses to create a more rounded identity – one what is resilient and able to withstand the challenging times ahead.

Thanks to Oscar Chavez, CxO Equip!

#27- Drive

Photo Credit: Lucia E. Robles

There are many traits that are needed to be a successful entrepreneur, I’d say most of them are really part of your DNA and not taught. While passion and grit might be high on the list at the end of the day none of us would get very far without DRIVE. Drive is the single most important trait because it’s the one thing that’s going to continue to propel you forward when everyone else doesn’t see your vision, doesn’t agree with what you’re doing or while you don’t yet have the results you want which is usually either sales or money. I know for me, at some point people thought I was totally nuts for what I was doing and had I listened and not continued on, my story would be totally different than what it is today. It’s such a journey that most people don’t weather well that drive will be what really gets you through those lean and scary times. Drive is what will get you out of bed after only 3 hours of sleep to keep going while the more comfortable thing would be to stay in bed, even if for just a few minutes longer.

Thanks to Lucia E. Robles, Lucia & Co.!

#28- Ability to be mindful

Photo Credit: Katie Burke

What does it mean to be full? I think of a cup half full or all the way full. To be full of the mind is a tricky thing. We want to be full in spirit, but not full of anxiety-driven thoughts. We want to be full of love, but not full of jealousy or doubt. In our days, the mindful movement is about asking the question, “what is going right?” instead of “what is going wrong?” It’s about having the bravery to hold your tongue if what you’re going to say doesn’t elevate the situation. It’s about being courteous enough to speak only 20% of the time, and letting your peers speak 80%. It’s about knowing that we all listen with a filter of our personal perspective, and as we watch our thoughts float in like a TV show, becoming less reactionary to the stimulus and more reaffirming from an observer space. Our job in this life now is to help people know that they are enough. That they are fulfilled in just being their unique, imperfect self. The mindfulness movement is something we need as a reminder to mind our thoughts, because they are not true. To mind our words, because they have an impact. To mind our hearts, because they trick us. To mind your time, because it’s limited.

Thanks to Katie Burke, B_Inspired!

#29- Determination

Photo Credit: Jonathan Aufray

From my experience, the most important trait for successful entrepreneurs is determination. You need to be determined to succeed and keep ongoing. Why? Because you will have ups and downs, you will have failures and you need to be determined when things aren't going well. When you're falling, determination will help you get back on track. You can use failures as motivation and opportunities to learn from your mistakes and fail forward.

Thanks to Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers!

#30- Confidence

Photo Credit: Cat Howell

Your confidence in your vision is the greatest resource your business has. Once you lose your mojo or confidence, things can start to spiral downhill. Protect your mindset by reflecting on your goals every day and spending time checking in through meditation.

Thanks to Cat Howell, Eight Loop Social!

 What is the most important trait for successful entrepreneurs? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information 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 Blue16 Media.

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