Keys to Success: 8 Traits of Business Owners (and How to Adopt Them)

March 23, 2024 | Insurance 101

As a small business owner, you know that for good things to happen, you’ve got to make them happen. You’ve started down that path by creating your company and pursuing your vision. But you don’t want your business just to survive; you want it to thrive. That’s why it’s crucial to adopt certain traits of business owners. 

There are many operational steps you can take to help ensure your company’s success. For instance, you should protect your finances by having the right business insurance policies. When it comes to important traits of business owners, fiercely protecting your company’s finances is high on the list. We strongly recommend carrying adequate business insurance because insurance is our focus, of course, but also because we know of too many stories where a business was uninsured or underinsured and had its finances devastated by a lawsuit, property damage loss, or other incident. 

Beyond operational actions, several personality traits are essential to business success. You probably have many of them already, and you can adopt those you don’t have. And needless to say, the sooner you do, the better off your business will be. Competition is increasingly fierce, and reaching your goals requires doing everything in your power to position your company for success. 

This article describes the personal and social characteristics we see in the owners of successful businesses and explains how you can adopt those traits and leverage them to your advantage. So, let’s dive in!

Man stands in front of shelves full of packages

5 Mental/Emotional Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Adopting or enhancing the traits below will help you manage your small business more effectively and successfully. But maybe you’re thinking, “Some of them just aren’t me.” That’s no problem. It’s a well-studied fact that people can develop positive habits. It takes a little time and effort, but you can do it.

Take optimism—the first in the list below—as an example. Maybe you’re a worrier by nature. That’s not uncommon for owners, given all the risks small businesses face. But you can overcome your pessimism by focusing on catching it when it occurs and consistently picturing positive outcomes and (importantly) the ways to achieve them. By doing that, you teach your brain to seek solutions.

In our experience, some of the most important traits of successful small business owners are:

  1. Optimism. Nobody is recommending you pretend difficult challenges and unfortunate events don’t exist. They do. But in every situation, you have the choice of dwelling on the negative or identifying your ideal outcome, given the circumstances, and making a plan for moving in that direction. 
  2. Strong work ethic. Driving a business toward success takes ongoing effort. As a business owner, you likely have this characteristic already. But maintaining it (and enhancing it if there’s room for improvement) is essential. A good way to bump up your work ethic is to make a task list and use it to measure your effort. Maybe you discover that you tend to knock off 2-3 small items in a given day but could tackle 4-6. Your added effort will pay off for your business. 
  3. Believing actions drive outcomes. Are you in control or at the mercy of unforeseen circumstances? Successful business owners often find that something as simple as developing a positive mantra (“I’ve got this!”) can make a big difference in how they perceive their chances of success and, consequently, their willingness to keep moving forward when times get tough.
  4. Resilience. It’s safe to say you will encounter setbacks as a business owner. How you deal with them is critical. To be more resilient, it helps to acknowledge your challenges and disappointments, consciously let go of the stress they cause, and reassert the optimism you’ve developed. 
  5. Adaptability. This is one of the most important qualities of a business owner, and it goes hand in hand with resilience. Convincing yourself that your path to success will be a straight line from where you are today to where you want to be in six months or a year can be self-defeating. A better approach is to understand agility is essential and give yourself a pat on the back each time you demonstrate it. Rather than crashing into the inevitable obstacles, learn to sidestep them as gracefully as possible and continue your forward momentum.

3 Social Characteristics of Business Owners That Are Vital to Business Success

The traits of business owners above are primarily about how you process things internally. There are other equally important characteristics about how you interact with others. Three of the most crucial are described below.

  1. Leadership. Unless you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’ll need to help your team understand and move toward the company’s goals. Being a good leader isn’t easy, but it’s a skill you can continually improve on. How did that recent interaction with your employee go? Could you have been more patient or supportive? Would it have been more beneficial to let them come up with a solution rather than providing your opinion? Asking yourself these types of questions will help you become a better leader. 
  2. Networking. Few businesses can succeed alone. From suppliers to peers who might be good sources of referral, you’ve got to engage with others in your business ecosystem. One helpful step in adopting this mindset is to join your local chamber of commerce, a trade association, or another business-focused organization. Then, you need to stay actively involved.
  3. Compromise. Business success requires the ability to find or create win-win scenarios whenever possible. In virtually every interaction with customers, business partners, and other stakeholders, an optimal outcome is achievable through a give-and-take approach. Taking the time to understand what you want, what they want, and where the mutually beneficial middle ground is will help you achieve positive results. It will also contribute to your reputation for fairness in business dealings, which can pay huge dividends.

A Final Success Tip for Business Owners: Bookmark This Article

We’ve all read helpful insights and felt inspired to make changes in our lives or businesses but then had daily challenges push those plans to the back burner. You can overcome that natural tendency by referring to this article as needed. We recommend you bookmark it and revisit the traits of successful business owners periodically to assess your progress and recommit to improvement.

You can find more insights and information in other articles in biBerk’s extensive library of business topics. You can also get support from our licensed insurance experts if you need it. 

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