The key factors that make an entrepreneur successful

This month I travelled to Las Vegas to attend a conference on entrepreneurialism. As the owner of my own business, and as someone who works closely with entrepreneurial clients, I find it invaluable to continually expand my knowledge and gain insight from thought-leaders in this space.

While there was much to learn over the course of the event, today I wanted to share some highlights of what resonated most with me:

  • Failure is part of the process. This is not something to be avoided or ashamed of – embrace your mistakes, learn from them and grow.

  • Be prepared to hear ‘no’ far more than ‘yes’. Learn from the no’s and celebrate the yes’s

  • Actively seek out like-minded mentors. It is vital to solicit and embrace constructive feedback. But to truly connect with a mentor, you need to take the time to understand why they want to invest in you. Only then will you be able to trust their advice and guidance.

  • Confidence and self-respect are important, ego is not. It is good to be proud of your accomplishments, but always lead with humility and empathy.

  • Respect is crucial. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the pressures of the daily grind when building a business, and to let that impact that way you are, and those who you’re around. So wherever possible, remove the people from your professional and personal life who are disrespectful to you or to others. And then ensure to show your appreciation to those around you that enable your success – staff, colleagues, friends and family. Never take any of that for granted.

  • Pay it forward. Seek out interns and graduates hungry for their first opportunity and give them the benefit of your experience. Passion and drive are infectious and there is much to be gained from the perspective that a fresh set of eyes can potentially offer.

  • Identify your vision of success and set goals to help you achieve it. But just having a vision is not enough. Put in place daily practices to help focus your thoughts and actions to hold yourself accountable. Analyze what is working, what isn’t, what could be done better and what needs to change. A vision without a plan is just a dream.

  • Work life balance is important. There is a tendency to glorify the ‘always-on’ entrepreneur, permanently attached to their phone and exhausted. In reality, that pace of life saps creativity, makes people unhealthy, and doesn’t lend itself to fresh thinking. Take the time to disconnect and reenergize your mind, body and spirit. Your business will thank you for it.

  • Embrace the power of fear. The fear of failing and the fear of rejection are common concerns for every entrepreneur but can also be seen as a motivator. While you can’t future-proof for every possible scenario, do your homework and prepare, prepare, prepare for every eventuality – particularly those you fear the most.

  • Entrepreneurs are often masters of reinvention. If something doesn’t work, embrace the opportunity to reinvent and reinvest in yourself and your vision.

For many seasoned entrepreneurs, the above takeaways aren’t necessarily groundbreaking or new. But they are good reminders, particularly as we head into the Holiday season and have a few moments to reflect. It is all too easy to be consumed by the daily grind of working and lose track of our vision or to see a way forward. Take a moment to be thankful for all you have achieved and then reset, refocus and reenergize for the year ahead.

Valerie Chanentrepreneurship