Disciplined entrepreneurship is a process and a mindset. While listening to the awesome Disciplined Entrepreneurship audiobook by Bill Aulet, I started to think about the top traits of successful entrepreneurs and how to put these traits into practice.
Entrepreneurship is hard stuff. What’s that popular saying? “If it were easy then everybody would do it.” If you’re not willing to grind (at times), then entrepreneurship isn’t for you. I know it’s hard and that’s why I’m giving you a shot of inspiration and guidance with articles like these.
Allow me to define “success” in the context of this article. I make no secret of my Christian worldview. Success to me is something that yields relational and eternal results. It’s about more than earthly gain and the bottom line. A successful entrepreneur is a servant who gives his or her best to the client/customer, team member(s), partner(s), stakeholders, Church, and/or the world in general. A successful entrepreneur doesn’t stoop to immorality in his or her business for ill-gotten gain. A successful entrepreneur impacts lives, so that whom they serve are in a better place after they’re engaged with them. And they always consider what will be revealed about their business at the end of this Age. Nothing will be kept secret.
This post is broken up into five major sections that represent the top traits of disciplined entrepreneurship. The traits are DREAM, STUDY, PLAN, EXECUTE, and RECHARGE. Let’s proceed.
Table of Contents
Most manifested business ideas started with a dream. I start here because this connects with your soul (mind, heart, and spirit). Your dream separates you from everyone else. Within DREAM, successful entrepreneurs:
Know Who They Are (and Whose They Are)
Successful entrepreneurs are comfortable in their own skin. They don’t define who they are according to other people’s opinions. They operate within the frame of who God created them to be and what God created them to do. If you’re struggling with knowing who you are, ask God. After all, He knew you before you were formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).
Successful entrepreneurs know where they stand in their business morally, financially, and positionally. They dream, but don’t get lost in their dreams.
Successful entrepreneurs are in business to grow by going after big ideas and dreams. This is perhaps one of the more widely known characteristics of entrepreneurship. You can experience growth by positively impacting more lives — even one person at a time. Sure, you can impact lives and obtaining profits at the same time, but sometimes the two are mutually exclusive. I contend that growing a business that impacts lives and/or grows financially requires lofty goals — thinking of doing “big things” if you will.
Prayer is our medium for communication with God in Christ’s name. It’s a Christian entrepreneur’s intimate time expressing his dreams, desires, questions, concerns, and praise to God. Prayer opens doors to knowledge of God’s will for the entrepreneur’s business. Prayers get answered in God’s perfect way and in His timing. It’s also a good idea to have other Christians pray for you and your business. Operating a business without considering prayer would be fatal for your business.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8 ESV
God has a good work planned for you. Now, there’s no guarantee that the work He has planned for you will be fulfilled in the context of your entrepreneurial endeavors. Let me make that clear. But, successful entrepreneurs have faith that their righteously run business will fulfill a purpose through serving some greater good.
A successful entrepreneur is always learning and applying what he or she learns to their business. Within STUDY, successful entrepreneurs:
Do Market Research
Quite simply, successful entrepreneurs know what they’re getting into before they get into it. They learn the history of the industry and study what it takes to be successful. Do you know your business model like the back of your hand?
Know the Other Players (Competition) in the Game
If you don’t think studying your competition matters in business, then you’re delusional. This doesn’t mean that you plan to be cutthroat or steal anyone’s ideas, but it’s common sense to learn what others are doing in your industry. This is wisdom. Successful entrepreneurs apply what others do well to their business in their own way; and they avoid pitfalls that others fall into.
Read or Listen to Books
Successful entrepreneurs extract maximum value out of the books, periodicals, and articles they read. They believe in continual education. They know that books (audiobooks included) are worth more than gold if the lessons learned are correctly applied. With all that said, the Bible is the greatest collection of 66 books that one could ever read for life direction. Trust me.
Read Bill Aulet’s book Disciplined Entrepreneurship if you want a deep dive into the process of launching a successful startup.
Applied knowledge through intentional action leads to amazing results. They won’t always get it right the first time, but successful entrepreneurs have faith in an eventual breakthrough. Be wise and apply the good things that you learn.
A house isn’t built without a blueprint. A business can’t be properly built without a plan. Within PLAN, successful entrepreneurs:
How can you expect to go anywhere if you don’t set a desired mark? Your goals can be set according to historical or industry data, or a dream.
Keep It Simple
Gone are the days when you need a 100-page business plan. A business plan can be one page in today’s world, especially with all the technology that helps businesses launch faster and run more efficiently.
Find a Mentor(s)
There’s nothing like having access to a wise person who has experience doing the things that you want to achieve. All of the greatest athletes have coaches that help keep them sharp. Most successful entrepreneurs have a coach or mentor who steers them in the right direction and helps them avoid trouble.
As an entrepreneur, you should revisit your business plans and update them for new situations. A business plan is a living document and should be referenced and revisited often during the year.
All the dreaming and planning in the world won’t mean anything if you never put the rubber to the pavement. Within EXECUTE, successful entrepreneurs:
Successful entrepreneurs don’t overplan to the point of paralysis. Sometimes a little uncertainty can leave room for creativity and for God to do amazing things. But despite all of the doing, you have to remember that your most important customer is your current paying customer! Take good care of the customers who already support you.
Keep a Calendar
You have better chances for productivity and efficiency if you organize your day before the day begins. Of course, there will be interruptions, but it’s better to have a course designed as opposed to “freestyling” it all day.
Keep a Checklist
This is the next progression from keeping a calendar. Turn your tasks on your calendar into smaller attainable action items and mark them off upon completion. This is one of those things that separate successful entrepreneurs from the pack. Your checklist can be on paper or in digital form. The point is to have a way to track your productivity.
You can’t do it all. Find some people around you to execute the tasks that you can’t do or get to in a timely fashion. Also, you’re not great at all things. Try to only delegate tasks to people who can do the task better (or at about the same level) and faster than you can.
Successful entrepreneurs always know where they stand with their key performance metrics/indicators. KPIs include things like phone calls made or emails sent, meetings secured, deals closed, product returns (the lower the better), or homes shown (for my real estate agent friends).
Failing fast and moving on isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes it takes a few tries in order to successfully execute on a business idea. With that said, successful entrepreneurs know how to make the proper tweaks to their marketing plan, business model, and/or product or service offering in order to get their business on the right track.
Successful entrepreneurs are in it to win it and they won’t let a few bumps in the road deter them from their goal(s). Some failure is temporary and success sometimes comes down to how well and how often you get up after getting knocked down.
Grind and hustle are awesome things! But no human can maintain optimum output on a constant basis. Successful entrepreneurs work hard and then unplug, decompress, and rest. Within RECHARGE, successful entrepreneurs:
Worship and Fellowship
Church and fellowship are about more than getting away from your business. It’s a time to worship and honor Jesus Christ with other brothers and sisters in the faith. It’s a time to reflect on the goodness of our Savior in all that He has done, including dying for our sins. It’s a time to rejoice that He lives today.
Love What They Do
This is a ninja tactic. Most successful entrepreneurs love what they do so much that it doesn’t feel like work to them. But even if they love their work, they recognize the physical, emotional, and mental drain their business can cause.
Spend Time with Family and/or Friends
Life is all about relationships. You work to execute God’s purpose for you and to provide for your family. What does it say if you never stop to spend time with and appreciate your family and friends?
Help Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Whether it’s by mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, hiring interns, or giving a free talk in your community, you can inspire future entrepreneurs through your influence.
Successful entrepreneurs are disciplined and focused during work hours and take on all the risks of business ownership so that they can enjoy the freedom of entrepreneurship at a later time. And boy is that freedom sweet (and deserved).
I pray this list has served you well and that it blesses you in your business endeavors. Lord willing, you are on your way to being a successful entrepreneur!
Entrepreneurship is dear to my heart. It offers the ability to execute my purpose or calling in life and earn a living while doing it. But entrepreneurship is about more than work and career, it’s about fulfillment. I hope that this list of 25 traits of disciplined entrepreneurship will motivate you to work hard and smart and glorify God with your success.