Explainer: Qualities of a Mentally Tough Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship requires focus and mental toughness. Not everybody has the psychological aptitude to handle the challenges of running a business. This is especially true when it comes to the early stages of an enterprise. From finding sources of capital to the actual operations of business, there are many challenges that only a psychologically tough person could handle. For instance, an entrepreneur oftentimes needs to find investors or lenders who could provide the necessary capital for the business. It is not just a matter of presenting the technical details of your business proposal but also a matter of charm. An entrepreneur must have a certain level of charisma that could persuade potential investors or lenders.
According to some estimates, startup businesses have an average failure rate of between 80 and 90 percent. Based on the statistics, it seems that failure is more of a norm rather than exception. This is not surprising considering the fact that starting a new and untested enterprise is like groping in the dark. Oftentimes, it is a trial and error process that could be truly frustrating.
Only a few mentally tough persons can hurdle these frustrations and apply what they have learned from their mistakes. Entrepreneurship is about taking risks but it is different from mere gambling. The right attitude plays very important part in entrepreneurship. As what the great inventor and entrepreneur, Thomas Edison, said: “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” It may seem that the very successful entrepreneurs like Thomas Edison and Bill Gates are geniuses but their success were mainly because of hard work made possible by their dedication and persistent attitude.
You do not actually need to be a genius or very lucky to belong to the upper ten percent of entrepreneurs who succeed in sustaining startups. Success is primarily determined by attitude. It is attitude that determines the way you will deal with problems and the way you will relate with people. If you are not mentally tough, you could easily breakdown under pressure. You may alienate your investors, suppliers, employees and clients if you do not know how to control your negative emotions. Successful entrepreneurs have some things in common in terms of attitude and habits. Here are a few of these commonalities.
1.) High EQ – Virtually all entrepreneurs have high emotional quotient. This means that they know how to deal with people because they are sensitive to the emotional needs and mood quirks of people. This is applicable both on personal and sociological levels. An excellent entrepreneur, for example, has almost instinctive insight about the customer preferences based on basic human emotional motivations.
2.) Confidence – Mental toughness emanates from the sense of self worth and trust on personal abilities. A good entrepreneur has high level of self-confidence that his or idea will work. This confidence is projected on other people. An entrepreneur also has confidence on the abilities of his or her team.
3.) Flexibility – The ability to learn new things and adapt to changes are crucial trails of a good entrepreneur. The business world is dynamic and continues to evolve. An entrepreneur must be flexible enough to adapt to these changes. For instance, integrating digital or online marketing strategies are now very crucial in the survival of new businesses.
4.) Delegation of responsibilities – Although hands-on or micro-management is necessary during the early stages of an enterprise, an entrepreneur must know how to properly delegate tasks and responsibilities to his or her subordinates. This will ensure efficiency and continuity.
5.) Customer-first attitude – The old maxim, “The customer is always right,” is applicable on a broader sense. It might not be literally true but it means that the welfare and demands of the customers should always be prioritized. Most startups fail because of the inability to address the needs of the customers. A business exists primarily to cater to the customer demand.
6.) Saying no – Good entrepreneurs know how to spot opportunities but they also know how to say no to things that would otherwise slowdown their progress. Not all opportunities are good opportunities. One should only focus to those opportunities that have potential to help your business grow and become sustainable.
7.) Learning from mistakes – This may seem like a cliché but it is actually central in the development and growth of a new enterprise. As an entrepreneur, you should be able to learn from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs and from your own mistakes. In this manner, you will be able to avoid these mistakes and be able to improve on your strategies.