What is the formula for entrepreneurial success? Bold Business asked the founders, CEOs and managers of companies making bold impacts what traits propel entrepreneurs to success. Our list includes Arnie Bellini (ConnectWise), Steve Tingiris (Dabble Lab), Kasra Moshkani (Uber), Rebecca White (University of Tampa), Dirk Ahlborn (Hyperloop Transportation Technologies) , Scott Neil (American Freedom Distillery), Beck Besecker (Marxent), Jeremy Ring (Vivana), David Chitester (Seedfunders), Ed Buckley (Peerfit), Chuck Papageorgiou (International Screening Solutions), Joe Hodges (CareValet), and Sheryl Hunter (Hunter Business law).
Our exclusive interviews reveal four key areas: Vision and Focus, Risk-taking and Confidence, Determination and Resilience, and Willingness to listen and learn.
Vision and Focus
An entrepreneur recognizes a need long before anyone else sees it. Once a goal has been set, it will be impossible for an entrepreneur to tear his eyes away from it. An entrepreneur’s dedication to a vision stems from the belief that what they offer is valuable to the end user. This purpose gives the entrepreneur the tenacity to keep going.
Sheryl Hunter, President of Hunter Business Law, captures it best by stating, “Stay really focused, know what your niche is, know what you’re the best at and then execute.”
Joe Hodges, President and Chief Disruption Officer of CareValet, LLC, further adds, “If you have an idea, and you feel it’s important, then you need to do it.”
The belief that you place in your vision will determine its success. Kasra Moshkani, General Manager for Uber Technologies in Southeast US shares, “If you believe in something, you have to go forward.”
Risk-Taking and Confidence
Jeremy Ring, State Senator of Florida and CEO of Vivana, urges new entrepreneurs to be bold and confident. “Sometimes you just got to not follow rules in a way.”
Calculated risk-taking and creating new paths is another key component for entrepreneurial success. Imagine how things might have turned out if Steve Jobs did not push through with developing Mac or gave up on the company Apple. Entrepreneurs are called to forge new paths.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
More than twenty years since its release, Apple’s Think Different Campaign is still as captivating as ever. It’s a persuasive campaign cheering on the “crazy ones.” Those who refuse to fit in a box and were brave enough to go against the current. A spot-on campaign that revived a venture at the brink of bankruptcy, built by one of the known “crazy ones” of our time, Steve Jobs.
Scott Neil, Doer of Things, American Freedom Distillery shares, “Entrepreneurs are asked to be out on the edge and, and be vulnerable.”
Determination and Resilience
Change can be daunting for most people. Because of this, new ideas are often treated with hesitation. An entrepreneur must be undeterred in achieving his goal. Dirk Ahlborn, CEO and Founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, asserts, “You just need to push it as far as you can.”
Grit—the ability to see things through—is one of the key traits that an entrepreneur must exhibit. As what the CEO of Connectwise, Arnie Bellini, believes, “Be dedicated to the vision, have a vision, speak the vision, get others to buy into the vision.”
Achieving one’s goal requires effort and sacrifice. Sometimes efforts will pay off. But for instances when things don’t go your way, it may feel like giving up is the only option. Steve Tingiris, Founder and Managing Director of Dabble Lab, encourages entrepreneurs to never give up and keep going.
The Perpetual Student
Warren Buffet was once quoted saying, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” David Chitester, Founder, Florida Funders and CEO, SeedFunders agrees. “Listen to what the investors are saying because they’ve done it before.”
Entrepreneurs are always hungry to learn new things. They understand that to succeed, they need to constantly sharpen the saw. They need to constantly check what works and change what does not. Chuck Papageorgiou, CEO of International Screening Solutions, agrees by stating that you have to understand the things that you need to improve.
An entrepreneur also understands the value of good feedback. He accepts coaching with open arms and likewise gives genuine feedback to others. CEO of PeerFit Ed Buckley adds, “If you can’t be coached, if you can’t take input, you can’t give good coaching.”
So What’s Next?
Knowing what makes an entrepreneur successful is just the first step. The next step is to have an inventory of resources. Everyone trying to start a business must take stock of their strengths and weaknesses. Just as what Rebecca White, the Director of Entrepreneurship Center at University of Tampa, shares, “Success comes from what is within”. Look within and notice the things that you are good at. Do you have great ideas but has challenges in translating them to presentations?
Only after identifying your core skills and areas for improvement that you can start looking for people or teams that can help you realize your business goals. Looking at your immediate environment will also help you check if your business ideas will work or not.
As Beck Besecker Founder & CEO of Marxent shares, “Make it work for the actual end user that’s going to use it.” Customers should be at the heart of business endeavors because in the end, they are ones who will decide whether a service or a product is value-adding or not.
Lastly, to get there, you have to start somewhere. The time and place to start is right here, right now.