There are millions of entrepreneurs around the world, all seeking to combine resources and generate new value. But, as you might have guessed, it’s a tough thing to do.
Entrepreneurs operate in perpetual uncertainty. There’s no sure fire way to know whether an enterprise is economically viable or not. Sometimes, all you have is an idea and the courage to try it out in the real world. Luck plays a significant role.
With that said, though, there are some common traits shared by the world’s most successful entrepreneurs: things which seem to improve the odds of success. Here are five essential habits that they have.
Bill Gates tries to get through a book a week. In fact, he’s so committed to reading; he has his personal assistant pack him a satchel of books to take with him whenever he goes away. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is partial to a bit of reading, too, always looking for a new perspective on the world.
Top entrepreneurs have a genuine hunger for knowledge. They want to understand and encapsulate the world, seeing it for what it truly is. There’s a need always to gain knowledge, find new opportunities, and exploit them to create value for others.
What’s interesting is that the more successful the entrepreneur becomes, the more they spend their time educating themselves. Warren Buffett, owner of Berkshire Hathaway - a parent company of many other major brands - says that he spends at least six hours per day reading.
While many budding entrepreneurs like to believe that success relies on the realization of their talent, that’s not always enough. Skill is essential, but so too are the people you know, especially if you’re after funding.
When you investigate the stories of the most successful entrepreneurs, you almost always find that there was someone in the background, prepared to support them on their journey. Founder of Blue Apron, Matt Salzberg, said that he was able to build his network after graduating from Harvard and working at a large venture capital firm. People knew he was good, but they also happened to be just the individuals he needed with money to invest in new projects.
Creating robust networks, though, is about more than financing. It’s also about generating relationships that help steer the enterprise in the right direction. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with rational and critical voices: people who can point out where they’re going wrong and how they should change.
For most people, work is finite. You complete a project or a process, and you’re done for the day. But for entrepreneurs, things are different. There’s always something that they could be doing, but at the cost of doing something else.
Entrepreneurs have the same 24-hours per day as everyone else. But the way they should use them is different. The role of the entrepreneur is to focus on the highest-value task: the thing that will allow the business to get closer to its goals.
It’s important to note that prioritizing the most critical task doesn’t mean carrying it out yourself. Perhaps you’re due to file your company accounts in a day. Your job isn’t to do the reports yourself but rather to find somebody who can.
Focusing on high-value tasks requires discipline. Often the things that need doing the most are also the most tedious or difficult. Successful entrepreneurs thrive on challenges and want to solve problems. For this reason, they develop the habit of focusing on the most pressing task on their to-do list first, no matter how nightmarish it is.
No entrepreneur achieves success without making a bunch of mistakes on the way. It’s part and parcel of the job. Entrepreneurship isn’t something you can train for: it’s something that you have to practice to perfect.
Many budding entrepreneurs, however, fall into the trap of believing that their mistakes are a reflection of them as a person. They can see themselves as a failure and then get trapped in a world of negativity which hampers their ability to progress.
Positive entrepreneurs see their mistakes for what they are: a learning experience. They stay positive, don’t see it as a reflection of their character, and continue to focus on their worthwhile goals.
Having a positive demeanour can also work wonders for company culture. People want to work in uplifting, rewarding environments. They thrive on aspirational leaders with goals that help improve their attitudes towards life and work. Many of the most positive entrepreneurs are able to surround themselves with teams of people with a passion for creating great products.
Being successful isn’t all about having mountains of money in the bank: it’s also about pushing back against modern lifestyles and protecting your body.
Granted, not all entrepreneurs follow strict exercise regimes, but the majority understand the benefits. They know that if they want to be at their best, they need to do some kind of physical activity daily - to let off steam if nothing else.
You don’t have to look like a ripped bodybuilder or a fitness Instagrammer to be successful. But you do want to send regular shocks to your body, telling it to stay lean, healthy, strong, and active.
Many entrepreneurs find that exercise combined with a healthy lifestyle can help them work harder, faster, and better. Focusing on daily activity, and eating a diet of anti-inflammatory, whole foods improves the environment for the brain, reducing markers of stress.
Does that mean banning cakes from the office? Unfortunately, it does.
Following the above five habits doesn’t guarantee success as an entrepreneur, but it can dramatically boost your chances. While there’s always luck involved, sticking to these habits will enrich your life tremendously, even if your firm ultimately winds up going bust. Exercising, eating well, building a network of relationships, feeling positive about the world, and reading are key pillars that will boost your quality of life regardless.