Having a good idea for a business is only part of the story if you want to become a successful entrepreneur. As well as a strong plan, it’s essential that you have the “right” attitude.
For me, a positive approach to running a company can be summed up in the simple phrase ‘be something more’, which I made my company motto. This is about striving for excellence and continuous improvement.
If you don’t have a good attitude, chances are you’ll find it difficult to reach your goals. With this in mind, here are some of the traits I have learned can stand in the way of your success as an entrepreneur.
Are you prone to panic?
Being able to deal with high-pressure situations is a must if you want to start your own business, or succeed in your chosen role or profession. There are very few positions that are completely stress or challenge free!
When you’re faced with an issue, you have to be able to keep a cool head in order to assess the situation and make appropriate decisions. Whether it’s holding your nerve during negotiations or responding to an unforeseen crisis, panic is never the best approach.
Are you too slow to change your approach?
It’s no secret that things don’t always go to plan in business – and this means that, to stand a chance of long-term success as an entrepreneur, you have to be willing and able to adapt.
If you’re too slow to react to market forces, changing trends, or when you encounter difficulties, you’re likely to struggle to keep your company on course. It can be hard – and even downright daunting – to change your approach, but I’ve learned that no idea or strategy should be seen as sacred.
Do you find criticism hard to take?
If you struggle to take legitimate, constructive criticism on board, you’ll find it hard to grow as an entrepreneur.
It’s not always easy, but if you’re willing to listen to what others have to say and genuinely consider their feedback, you’ll be able to learn from their comments and become stronger and more effective as a result.
Do you expect instant success?
Ask any famous actor or singer and they’ll no doubt tell you that it took them years to become an overnight success – and entrepreneurs are no exception. If you start a business expecting it to take off instantly, you’re probably not going to be prepared to put in the time and effort needed to make your venture work. And nine times out of 10, this will mean you’re in for an unwelcome surprise.
For me personally, it took years of hard work, set-backs, lean living and, as the photo shows, even some heavy lifting (that’s me on the lorry!) to get my first business off the ground. Almost 30 years later, it continues to take the time, effort and dedication of many people to maintain it. It’s definitely worth being aware of what it takes to be successful (in anything) and bringing the attitude needed to stick with it.
Do you find it difficult to take responsibility?
Taking responsibility is a big part of being an entrepreneur – and this applies to the bad as well as the good. There’s no point in blaming others or making excuses for problems you face. As the head of your business, you’re in charge of what happens to it. By accepting accountability, you should find it easier to respond constructively to the ups and downs. You’ll also find it easier to earn the respect of the people around you.
Chris Niarchos is a lifelong entrepreneur and founder of The Cobra Group of Companies, which specialises in incubating, developing and managing a portfolio of start-up enterprises and successful companies.