When we set goals, some of us aim high. Some of us wake up every morning, ready to take on the world at 100 miles an hour. The folks in this category want everything, every opportunity and every chance to succeed. That outlook coupled with a thirst for knowledge is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s DNA.
One of the most important things to understand as an entrepreneur is that success requires them to be leaders. It’s not about being a natural-born genius whose idea can change the world as soon as it’s launched. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates—all of these maverick entrepreneurs who changed the world knew they couldn’t make big things happen alone.
But, while they created things that altered our lives, they kept their feet on the ground. They led enormous teams to see their visions, harnessing every resource available to them along the way. They weren’t afraid to try something bold. There may be no magic formula for success, but entrepreneurs like this have taught us how to lead—how to take an idea from just that to something much bigger. These are just a few of the traits that successful leaders share.
They Have Heroes
Good leaders study the best. They read biographies of innovators, watch documentaries, read articles in magazines. They soak up every snippet of information about the folks they look up to, finding inspiration from motivational figures, spiritual leaders, and, yes, business success stories.
But they don’t stop there. Strong leaders form lasting relationships with mentors and friends that push them. They believe that the people we spend our time with have an impact on our behavior and, ultimately, our success. So they surround themselves with people that they can continue to learn from and lean on.
They’re Sponges for Knowledge
Curiosity is an essential trait of an entrepreneur, not just because businesses that fail to evolve with the times won’t succeed for very long. But also because building a company requires understanding (at least on a basic level) all of its moving parts. To be a successful leader, you need to have a firm grasp on everything that your teams are working on. If you’re developing an app, you don’t need to learn how to code per se. But you should know enough about the development process that you can ask intelligent questions, track progress, and offer guidance when they need it.
To successful entrepreneurs, having the opportunity—and expectation—to continue learning and amassing knowledge is one of the best parts of the job. Ask an entrepreneur you admire for a book recommendation, and you can bet they’ll have one up their sleeve.
They Set Big Goals
How far are you willing to go to see a dream realized? Do you have the passion to go above and beyond the competition? What is it you really want to achieve? Being honest with yourself about goals is a critical first step in the battle for reaching success, but that also means you can’t let others dictate your vision.
As an entrepreneur, there are many ways to define success. One person might be looking for a high-dollar buyout in five years. Another may be looking to build a business that will last them to retirement. Maybe you want to help as many people as you can. Maybe you want to change the world.
Whatever your ultimate goal, the first step to achieving it is to not be scared by it. The entrepreneurs we look up to dreamed big, probably to the dismay of people around them. But they knew what they were after and were able to put plans in place to get there. They set lofty goals year over year until eventually that dream didn’t seem quite so big anymore.
They Make Sacrifices
More often than not, leaders are the first to the office in the morning and the last out at night. They make personal sacrifices in order to give their company its best chance at success.
More than that, they’re always on the lookout for opportunities to boost the company. Leaders get on every podcast, take every media request, and take every chance to promote their product. Every opportunity to get their product in front of people matters. They have to share their vision—to connect with as many like minds as possible.
They live and breathe their companies because they don’t want to look back and wonder if they could have done more.
They Don’t Lose Hope
No business is built without some struggle. Leaders will inevitably face challenges they weren’t expecting and will feel doubt creep in. There will be high highs and low lows along the journey. But no matter what, it’s the job of the leader to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going. Whether they rely on their heroes for inspiration or turn to an inspiring book for help, they make sure that hope remains. Because if the leader doubts, everyone doubts—and if the team doubts, the road to success gets even tougher.
Strong leaders are beacons of hope within their organizations. They celebrate their team’s wins and help them through their challenges. They know not only how to pick themselves up but how to lift those around them, as well.
With so many inspiring leaders to look up to, entrepreneurs today can learn from the examples they set. Building a great company requires a great idea—that much we know. But it also requires leadership skills to guide your team toward a shared vision.
Ready to soak up some more valuable leadership advice? Check out more leadership-focused articles on the ScaleFactor blog.