Successful online businesses don’t happen overnight, and they don’t happen without someone who knows how to take a great idea to market. True, it takes a team to succeed, but it takes a leader to make it all happen in the first place. Some people are born with it, some have the responsibility bestowed upon them. Regardless, the most successful entrepreneurs have certain characteristics that position their company toward growth and stability. If you are the head of a company, or someone in a position of leadership, take some time to see how you match against these qualities:
Successful entrepreneurs know the importance of not spreading themselves out too thin or allowing their business to lose focus from its’ original vision.
At a developer’s conference in 1997, Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, “When you think about focusing, you think ‘Well, focusing is about saying yes.’ No! Focusing is about saying no.”
Around this time, Steve Jobs had to make a lot of tough decisions to kill off a lot of the products and projects Apple was involved in. Apple’s poor management caused the company to spread itself out too thin. Steve noticed this and began to focus the company which inevitably helped Apple be the powerhouse brand and company that it is today.
Take time to step outside of yourself and your business and see where you have started to lose focus. Focus on making the best product instead of making ten mediocre ones. Focus on growing the best e-commerce business in one industry instead of trying to incrementally serve several niches.
2. Has the 80/20 Mindset
In order to run an effective business, you need to examine your company data, do more research and understand the risk-to-return ratio. Realize that 80% of the return comes from 20% of the business. This is especially true if you are seeking e-commerce clients as opposed to simply taking online orders.
3. Wants to do the Hard Things
As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, has said before “You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well. People notice that over time. I don’t think there are any shortcuts.”
Successful business leaders aren’t satisfied with becoming just another member of the the herd. They look to separate themselves from the competition, and when problems inevitably come their way, they look at it as a challenge, not a roadblock.
4. Be an Early Adopter of New Technology
It’s never a good idea to become set in your own ways in general, but this is especially true when it comes to business technology. Understand that your competitors are doing everything to get any edge they can, and our ability to understand technology is the current and future arms race.
Many of the great things that people have accomplished in life have at first seemed impossible. Many accomplishments are because someone had a vision about what they could create. So dare to visualize and dream big. After all, having a vision for the future is a way of maintaining hope and motivation when morale starts to get low.
6. Knows How to Self-Educate
In my personal dictionary, “entrepreneur” is synonymous with “jack of all trades.” If you’re starting a business, you will need to do all sorts of things that are new. So almost by definition, you will need to learn new skills.
Some examples may be product photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop or writing basic HTML code for your site. You need to know how to get the most out of your e-commerce platform and, for that matter, how to choose an e-commerce platform or shopping cart.
If you find that you learn best from videos, consider getting memberships at sites like Lynda, which provides software and photography training, or Think Vitamin, which teaches web development and design.
7. Writing Skills
Content marketing plays a huge role in the success of an E-commerce business, which means as the lead statesman of your company, you need to teach yourself not only the basics of good writing but also keep practicing constantly until you raise your writing skills to a near professional level. Read often and with passion and use whatever you can get your hands on – from blog posts to the literary classics. The more you read, the easier it will become to conquer the fear of the blank page. You can also take a writing course or find expert literature on improving writing skills.
Being able to adapt to changes and challenges is crucial for any business. In fact, most entrepreneurs will inform you that their idea or business plan is drastically different than when it began. Great entrepreneurs are flexible enough to make the adjustments to make that idea feasible. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are prepared and willing to modify their plan when new information arrives and when there are changes in circumstances.
9. Audience Awareness
In order to be a success, you need to think about who you’re trying to impress. And when it comes to e-commerce – those people are your customers. What do they like? What don’t they like? Find out everything (and we mean everything) there is to know about your customers.
Do your market research and put together a buyer persona , which is a detailed profile of your customers. That way, you’ll be able to effectively communicate with them. And you’ll be able to tweak your product and brand so that it reflects what they want.
Even if you do launch your entrepreneurial business as a one-man or woman enterprise, there are people you can sub-contract to help you in certain important areas. Even though writing and web design and development skills are invaluable for e-commerce entrepreneurs, these are also functions that you can delegate or sub-contract.
You may even involve a partner or outsider to help manage your business while you concentrate on getting the business up and running. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you must be a great judge of talent, and your company will only be as strong as your weakest link.
11. Cultural Affinity
We talk to our prospective new hires about our culture, and how it directs everything that we do. We know our managers at Gooten are great leaders, coaches and high achievers, but we need to make sure they are 100 percent invested in the culture that makes us different than any other business in our industry. Leaders can identify their core values, and will bring aboard people who can identify with their vision, and buy into their way of business.
The art of patience is something that takes years to control and perfect. We look for managers who can exercise a deep understanding and awareness of patience with team members, clients, vendors and sometimes even with themselves! Patience is key to keeping a steady hand when challenges arise, and having the right temperament to understand that progress will always take time to develop.
Last and certainly not least, there’s passion. Passion is the key ingredient in growing a successful new business. It’s the reason entrepreneurs inspire the rest of us in the first place. Many of us dream of getting paid for doing what we love, just like entrepreneurs do. And their deep commitment in their undertakings keeps them forging ahead in the face of obstacles.
So if you look through and see you have some items you may need to work on, never fear! Even people who are seemingly born with these qualities struggle to implement them on a day to day basis. But by being aware of the characteristics of a great leader, you can start today to practice developing your skills, and soon they’ll come as naturally to you as riding a bicycle.