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The 7 Virtues of Entrepreneurship

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Want to maximize your chances of success? Practice these.

I’ve been lucky, through the growth of this blog and our business, to get access to a lot of entrepreneurs that I trust and respect.

I do everything that I can to study them, learn from their wins and failures, and apply those learnings to what we do at Groove.

One thing that is absolutely true is that there’s no one type of successful entrepreneur.

There are great technical entrepreneurs, and great non-technical ones.

There are great introverted entrepreneurs, and great extroverted ones.

There are great specialist entrepreneurs, and great generalist ones.

And the list goes on.

But most entrepreneurs that I try to emulate share a few common traits, and I think that if we were building a list of things that hopeful founders should practice, I think that these are a great place to start.

The 7 Virtues of Great Entrepreneurs

These are all learnable skills, and I highly suggest taking the time to practice them.

1) Scrappiness

In the early days, most things “aren’t in the budget.”

But when those things have the potential to make or break your business—key hires, marketing, services—you figure out a way to make it happen.

You negotiate. You get creative. You hustle.

You get things done with less; in the beginning it’s because you have to, and later on it’s because it keeps your business lean and healthy as you grow.

2) Self-Improvement

You don’t know everything, and you don’t pretend to. You’re honest—especially with yourself—about what you don’t know.

But you’re willing and eager to fill those gaps. You know that the ROI of investing in yourself when it comes to learning and building your skills is huge.

You don’t assume that just because you hired someone to do marketing or bookkeeping or customer service, that you don’t need to know how these things work. You might not be an expert, but you know enough to make intelligent decisions about every aspect of your business.

You read. Take courses. Swap knowledge with peers. Build relationships with mentors.

And you never stop improving.

3) Patience

You know that almost nothing great happens overnight.

You’re willing to put in the work, knowing that the real payoff won’t begin to come for months or years.

You sacrifice short term wins for long-term success, because you know that it’ll be worth it.

And you won’t let the wait hurt your decision-making, or drive you crazy.

4) Urgency

Even though you’re patient, you also know that being passive will get you nowhere.

You make thoughtful decisions with a sense of urgency, because only action creates progress, not procrastination or analysis paralysis.

You don’t worry about making things perfect. You make them great, you release them, and you improve them until they’re excellent. And then, you move on.

5) Empathy

The value of an idea is zero. The value of a great team is zero. The value of a business, or any part of it, without a single customer paying it money, is zero.

In order to succeed, you need to create value for others. To do that, and to get others to believe in you, you need to have superhuman levels of empathy.

You deeply understand your customers and employees. You understand their biggest challenges, their deepest fears, their loftiest goals and their most burning desires.

And everything that you build exists to address those things.

6) Persistence

Millions of unbuilt businesses are killed by a single word: “no.”

Great entrepreneurs hear that word, but it never stops them.

They ask “why not?”

They wonder “how can we make it happen?”

“No” is how many amazing customer relationships, hires, and business deals start. 90% of business success often lies on the other side of “no.”

And you’re not afraid to push past it.

7) Vision

What do you want your business to look like in a year?

In five years?

Ten?

We spend so much time thinking about right now, or what we need to do today or this week, that many of us rarely step back and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Successful entrepreneurs are thoughtful about their vision, because when they know what it is, they can map their way to it.

That prevents you from getting distracted doing things you may not need to be doing, building things you may not need to be building, raising money you may not need to be raising, or serving customers you may not need to be serving.

Having a vision makes decisions infinitely easier, because either something aligns with your vision, or it doesn’t.

How to Apply This to Your Business

This isn’t meant to be a discouraging post.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

None of these are innate skills that you can’t develop or improve. They’re all learnable.

I’m certainly not perfect on all seven. But I work hard to get better at all of them.

And I hope that this gives you the focus that you need to do the same.

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From “aha” to “oh shit”, we’re sharing everything on our journey to $10M in annual revenue. We’re learning a lot and so will you.

About the Author

Alex Turnbull is the CEO & Founder of Groove (simple helpdesk software for small businesses) who loves to build startups and surf.

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