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“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

Venture capitalists might seem like fearless risk-takers, but they’re more like calculated risk reducers in the grand game of small business. Unlike entrepreneurs who boldly step into the fray, venture capitalists scrutinize the landscape, seeking those who stand out from the crowd. As an entrepreneur, recognizing what sets the extraordinary apart from the average is crucial. Here are the qualities that truly matter:

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

  1. Market Mastery: Entrepreneurs who excel have a profound grasp of their market. While many might rely on empty claims, successful ones conduct meticulous market research, segmenting the field and anchoring their claims to solid evidence. Their claims are rooted in data, not wishful thinking.

  2. Competition Awareness: Understanding the competition is key. Those who dismiss this threat are setting themselves up for failure. A clear comparison of their product against alternatives is a sign of preparedness and a winning mindset.

  3. Financial Savvy: Entrepreneurs with financial acumen focus on essential areas that drive profitability and cash flow. They understand the power of numbers, knowing the trends in gross margins, fixed costs, and other crucial factors. Their grasp of financial dynamics guides their decision-making.

  4. Cash Flow Consciousness: The lifeblood of a business is cash flow, and exceptional entrepreneurs get this. They understand that lack of cash is a threat to survival. They’re prudent with their funds, using them only when it aligns with their objectives.

“The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

  1. Personal Responsibility: Successful entrepreneurs take ownership of their successes and failures. They don’t make excuses; they learn from their missteps. They’re driven to improve, seeing their performance as a reflection of their character.

  2. Confidence with Grounding: Inner confidence trumps baseless optimism. Successful entrepreneurs don’t rely on blind faith; they’re confident because they’re prepared. Their confidence is rooted in a solid understanding of their offering’s superiority.

  3. Action-Oriented Planning: Planning isn’t glamorous, but it’s essential. Entrepreneurs who thrive turn their strategic objectives into actionable plans. They meticulously outline steps, allocate responsibilities, set deadlines, and monitor progress.

  4. Reality-Infused Strategy: The best entrepreneurs confront challenges head-on. They acknowledge risks and have fallback plans. Their strategies are grounded in reality, and they’re always prepared for the worst-case scenario.

  5. Talent Recruitment: Smart hiring is a sign of an exceptional entrepreneur. They seek out the best, even if it means partnering with those smarter than themselves. They attract talent by offering equity participation and building a team of motivated experts.

Growth & Scaling Workshop Series for $1M+ Company CEOs Learn How the Top 5% of Entrepreneurs Succeed at Influencing $10M, $50M and $100M+ When Only 1 in 400 Companies Reaches $10M in Sales, and 1 in 6,300 Reach $100M

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee

  1. Sustained Effort: Success requires relentless effort. Entrepreneurs who excel understand that it’s not just about the idea; it’s about consistent execution. They outpace competitors with sheer determination, pushing beyond the norm.

  2. Infusing Fun: Building a business isn’t just work; it’s an adventure. Successful entrepreneurs create an environment where passion thrives. They make work enjoyable, fostering an atmosphere where everyone is invested in the journey.

  3. Unquenchable Fire: Above all, entrepreneurs who succeed burn with an unquenchable desire to achieve. They’re driven by an insatiable need to conquer challenges, win battles, and ultimately emerge victorious in the war of business.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

So, the next time you encounter a tuxedo-clad entrepreneur with scuffed shoes and no cummerbund, remember that appearances can be deceiving. This entrepreneur could very well be the epitome of dedication, pursuing business success with an unstoppable fire. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, embody these traits and commit to mastering them. With the right qualities, you can be the entrepreneur who not only survives but thrives in the competitive business landscape.

Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur, CEO and investor who founded six companies with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors for a 25X ROI. Two others are still in development. He has trained, consulted and advised thousands of Entrepreneurs, CEOs and boards since 2002. Mr. Norton works with companies to 2X to 10X growth rates and valuation using AirTight Management™, the world’s most comprehensive Leadership Operating System. He also helps companies raise capital to fund growth. He is also the Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship Universityfor early-stage companies that have not reached product-market fit and $1M ARR.

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