Last week I visited Malaysian Entrepreneur Convention and along with over 3000 other visitors listened to successful stories of Malaysian entrepreneurs. It was organized by KK Chua who invited amazing individuals such as Dato’ CC Ngei, Benjamin Yong, Hui Mathews, Joel Neoh, Jeevan Sahadevan, Chris Tan, Sherlyn Tan, and other inspiring people. They shared valuable tips on how to succeed as an entrepreneur, yet I found that all of them had the following common qualities:
1- People skills
People is a precious resource for any business. The success or failure of an entrepreneurial initiative is determined by the quality of relationships that the entrepreneur establishes with investors, suppliers, partners, staff members, and customers. In fact all entrepreneurs at that convention agreed that one of the main success factors of any new venture is the quality of people that are involved in it.
Therefore, people skills are necessary as they are needed at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey, from brainstorming a business concept, to forming a business plan, to convincing investors, to sharing a vision, to retaining great staff members, and to building profitable customer relationships.
Although this is a cliche, but without this factor hardly any entrepreneur succeeds. Despite researching, analyzing and planning, problems will arise out of thin air. It takes courage to face all the naysayers (who are often the closest people to you), strong determination to challenge such problems, and unbelievable willpower to standup after falling for the 100th time.
Unless you truly believe in what you are doing, unless you put your heart and soul into your dream, unless you are ready to work 15 – 17 hours 7 days a week, you are not ready. #Hustle!
Non of us knows everything. Once an entrepreneur convinces him or her self that they have become unmatched experts in their field, they begin falling. As such, it is crucial to surround your self with people who have achieved more success than you did and learn from the pitfalls of others to avoid the same mistakes in your journey.
Here comes the value of mentors. Although I skeptically look at mentorship programs and believe that one can learn a lot from books, online speeches or talks, to my surprise many of the entrepreneurs at the convention recognized the beneficial role of their mentors and how important their insights were for business growth.
4- Comfortable with Change
This quality has become common among all business leaders. It is often said: “we live in a world where the only constant is change”. This is true when we look at the increased economic volatility, demographic shifts, and technological development manifested with the 4th industrial revolution.
Consequently, entrepreneurs not only need to adapt to these changes, but rather embrace them. They have to look for the opportunities that emerge from change and be ready to take risks. They have to feel cozy being out of the comfort zone, and trying new things has to become a habit.
In conclusion, I would say that the qualities above do not guarantee entrepreneurial success, however their absence, in my opinion, ensures failure.