5 Signs of the Successful Entrepreneur

From the time, they were kids, they knew they were different. While other kids flocked to the playground or a sporting event, they were organizing a community toy or garage sale, shrewdly increasing their profit margin with the sale of cool drinks and snacks.

While other college students worked the typical part-time job in a restaurant or bookstore, they sold or bartered their writing, research or math skills, proving to their business management teachers that they learned the finer points about American capitalism.

And while other people went to work, day in and day out, and griped about the boss and the inefficiencies of the workplace, they closely observed the protocols, questioned authority and vowed that it would be only a matter of time before they produced a more energized and productive business model.

Commonalities Bind Entrepreneurs

It’s the secret that all entrepreneurs share: from as far back as they can remember, they have always known they were different – always one step ahead yet also out of step with their peers.

They also know they are bound by some common traits, including:

  • A quest to succeed, on their own terms
  • A gift for communication, in their own way
  • Unbridled self-motivation and stamina, which they find difficult to “turn off”
  • Boundless enthusiasm for competition, but mostly by trying to outdo their own accomplishments, not those of others

Five Traits Fuel Determined Entrepreneurs

If you’re mulling a franchise opportunity in the ice cream industry, you’ve probably owned a business before – or at least, have long harbored a desire to launch one. Entrepreneurs may be one of nature’s divine creations; they are born, not made. Running a business is in their DNA.

The entrepreneurs I know best are what some people derisively refer to as “serial entrepreneurs” – those people who launch a business with great gusto but quickly get bored and move on to the next challenge. The other side to this slam is they usually leave (or sell) a thriving, financially successful business in the hands of someone else. It’s a gift, if you think about it, because “all” the new owner really has to do is replicate his or her predecessor’s smart moves.

For the last 10 years, from the vantage point of a metropolitan chamber of commerce, I’ve watched entrepreneurs with great interest. And I have learned that the most successful and resilient entrepreneurs share five other traits that fuel their determination to succeed:

  • They believe they can accomplish anything if they put their mind and energy behind it. Like a Jedi master, they believe there is no such thing as trying; they “Do, or do not; there is no try.” They have zero tolerance for negative thinkers, drama queens and kings, and people who treat setbacks as full-fledged crises. They roll with the punches, keep their eye on the higher goal and refuse to become consumed by minor distractions.
  • They expect setbacks and even failures and focus on learning from them. Perhaps more than any other trait, this one separates the entrepreneur from any other spirited business professional. Most prospective entrepreneurs review the same statistics; they know that about 75 percent of new businesses fail in the first five years. Entrepreneurs see themselves as the “lucky” 25 percent, partly because they are unfazed by the prospect of making mistakes. In fact, they embrace mistakes because they know they provide an opportunity to learn and improve.
  • They are innovative, “idea people.” In a group of conventional business people, the entrepreneur will stand out for floating ideas, making connections and proffering suggestions that no one else has even considered. Thus, they can be viewed as quirky or eccentric – definitely out of the mainstream. But this trait is often what makes entrepreneurs so proficient at solving problems; they visualize solutions with ease. Let everyone else talk about “thinking outside the box.” Entrepreneurs think while standing on top of the box.
  • They know how to create a fusion between fulfilling wants and needs. From the day they made their first toy sale (fulfilling a want) and topped off the sale with a parting lemonade on a 90-degree day (fulfilling a need), entrepreneurs understand that they can become an indispensable part of a customer’s life when they create a niche like no other.
  • They have a wide circle of savvy advisers. Contrary to their image as know-it-alls, entrepreneurs simply know who to turn to for advice and counsel. Running a business demands an understanding of a dizzying array of topics, and successful entrepreneurs know they must check their ego at the door in the interest of gathering facts from people who aren’t always going to tell them what they want to hear.

All this portends good news if you’re considering a franchise opportunity in the ice cream industry. And the news might get even better if you were the type of kid who knew how to smooth-talk Mom into selling you a frozen snack from the refrigerator for a dime – and then turned around and sold it to a neighbor for a quarter. Like the traits of an entrepreneur, an ice cream franchise opportunity may be in your DNA.