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Tips to Become a Successful Entrepreneur

Updated on August 3, 2012
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I've known my fair share of entrepreneurs - some of them successful and others, not so much. What distinguishes those entrepreneurs that succeed from the ones who fail?

Many people aspire to be their own bosses, but it takes a certain kind of person to have the courage to drop the 9-5 job and the security of a steady paycheck and to take the risk of an unpredictable path. It's not enough only to come up with an idea and establish a business. No, it takes certain personality traits and skills to execute an idea successfully.

Those entrepreneurs who actually succeed share some common traits. In this article you will find tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur, a list of those attributes that entrepreneurs share, and an interview with a successful entrepreneur from New York City.

 
Common Traits of Entrepreneurs
 
 
Action-oriented
 
 
Ambition
 
 
Anticipation of change
 
 
A vision
 
 
Confidence
 
 
Creativity
 
 
Flexibility
 
 
Hard-working
 
 
Innovative thinking
 
 
Intelligence
 
 
Leadership skills
 
 
Managerial skills
 
 
Optimism
 
 
Originality
 
 
Passion
 
 
Persistence
 
 
Results-oriented
 
 
Risk taking
 
 
Social skills
 
 
Initiative taking
 

Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs

To the right you will find a list of attributes that many entrepreneurs share. I believe though that although all of those can be found in many entrepreneurs, successful entrepreneurs usually have the following five attributes.

  • Ambition - The desire to succeed is a key attribute determining the success of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur must be passionate about what he/she is doing and truly believe in the success of the venture.

  • A Vision - An entrepreneur doesn't just have ideas, he has a vision on how to make an idea a success - a plan for actually implementing the idea.

  • Creativity - We often hear about "thinking outside the box" but as an entrepreneur, this is a particularly important concept because as an entrepreneur, you want to provide solutions beyond the ordinary ones - as an entrepreneur you strive to have extraordinary ideas.

  • Intelligence - This one is a bit misleading since there are all sorts of intelligences. There's the traditional IQ intelligence which is called logical-mathematical intelligence and there's interpersonal intelligence which is the ability to interact well with others, among others. I believe that the required intelligence differs based on the industry.

  • Risk taking - An entrepreneur usually has a higher risk tolerance than the average person - he takes calculated risks and this really sets him apart from the average person.

Elm Health in Manhattan

Courtesy of Elm Health
Courtesy of Elm Health | Source

What is Idea Management

Idea management allows one to be prepared for the unexpected - to anticipate change. It is important that the idea management process is structured and moderated. A number of tools exist for practicing idea management, which are:

  • company idea management systems
  • quality circles
  • project groups
  • idea research scheme
  • creativity techniques such as not allowing criticism

An Interview with a Successful NY Entrepreneur

You know what they say about New York - "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" so who better to ask about entrepreneurship than a young entrepreneurial New Yorker who's "made it". I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Gleit, who has two health food stores called Elm Health and Grocery in Manhattan.

Eric Gleit, 32, has pharmacy in his DNA. He was born on April 30th, 1980, as the second child of Sonia and Michael Gleit in Brooklyn, NY. Both his father and uncle are doctors and are in the pharmacy business. They went into the business 35 years ago, opening four pharmacies throughout New York’s boroughs. Eric was expected to continue the family’s pharmacy business but with his creative and innovative thinking, he had other plans for it, which ultimately completely revolutionized the business.

About a decade ago, when Eric was just a teenager, he foresaw a growing trend in the health food market that presented itself as an emerging opportunity for the family business. Both Eric’s father and uncle have a deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical market however Eric went on to study business administration, which promoted creative abrasion ideas for the family business on Eric’s part. With support from his family, Eric convinced his family to provide funding for a new pharmacy that would incorporate the revolutionary concept of a pharmacy that provides not only traditional medicine, but also serves as a healthy products outlet. Eric's vision was to bring healthy options to his paisans in New York City!

Elm Health would not only sell medicine, but would operate as a health food store specializing in organic food, produce, cosmetics, vitamins, supplements, and would have a juice bar along with a bartender. The first store opened its doors about a decade ago in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This new concept proved successful and just a decade later, Eric’s family business of pharmacies, are now about 90% health food and just 10% pharmacy.

On November 15, 2010 Eric opened the second Elm Health and Grocery store in the trendy West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. This is particularly remarkable since this new store location replaced a national pharmacy chain - Rite Aid.

National pharmacy chains, health food stores and juice bars are the core of Elm Health competition however this does not worry Eric; on the contrary, it inspires him. Eric says, “there is no lack of competition in New York on most things business but that is part of the challenge and fun of having your own vision succeed.” “Although we have a lot of competition, I do not consider them the major threat, it pressures us to be better. Being better attracts and keeps customers coming back. There are always opportunities to expand. There are always opportunities for us to grow. My most recent location was opened because we found a great deal on the real estate side of the business - because of the recession, we were able to negotiate a great lease in a great location. Although there is a very saturated amount of competition, I felt we could get a large chunk of their market share, so far we are doing that.”

With this new store location, Eric hopes to make Elm Health the "go to" neighborhood spot for advice on medicine and nutrition in the same way it was able to achieve that goal in the Upper East Side with Elm Health's first successful location.

When asked as to why Eric decided to open a new location, he responded, “Firstly, I love projects. I really wanted to build something from the ground up and have so with the two locations in Manhattan and they have come quite close to where I had envisioned them. Secondly, building a health food and pharmacy allows me to give to the community a place where people can have a one stop shop to get all their health needs from prevention (health food / vitamins) to a cure (prescriptions). And it’s also nice to know that I’m expanding the family business and helping my employees by growing.”

When asked how Eric keeps current in his area of business, he responded by stating, “I attend trade shows, read trade magazines and internet trend setting sites as well as see where the community is headed in food and health. In addition, we do regular training on products both food and supplement. I also enjoy food so going out to restaurants and following chef trends helps show what types of food are becoming popular which tend to translate what will be popular in peoples’ diets”.

Eric also knows a thing or two about brand equity. About two years ago, he made the strategic decision to carry a number of Private Label products including nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, vitamins, supplements, tinctures, and is now working on a cosmetic line. Private labeling builds brand loyalty.

Speaking of brand loyalty, Eric has been able to create a following amongst some celebrities residing in NYC. Some of Elm Health’s frequent customers include Jesse Eisenburg, Kelsey Grammer, Susan Serandon, and Julia Styles.

Eric's Entrepreneurial Traits

Eric possesses a number of entrepreneurial traits which have helped him become a successful entrepreneur. First of all, Eric had a vision which he stuck to. Second, he took initiative making his vision a reality. Furthermore, he is passionate about the field he’s in. He is ambitious, he takes risk, and he has great management skills.

Entrepreneurship Poll

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Success Factors for Entrepreneurs

Although many believe that entrepreneurial success comes from great ideas, it's important to understand that great ideas are only the stepping block toward becoming successful. It is crucial in order to be a successful entrepreneur to execute those ideas well - which is facilitated by having various traits and skills.

Below is a set of tips that have helped entrepreneurs become successful:

Stay motivated. Entrepreneurship is a winding path that undoubtedly has its ups and down. As an entrepreneur who's just starting out, you'll be living and breathing your idea... for what seems like forever to get things moving. At some stage, you'll be doing the same work day after day, which will become monotonous. If you're down, do everything possible to bring yourself up again - talk to friends who believe in you about your ideas, read inspirational books and do whatever lifts your spirits and keeps you committed.

Stick to your plan. Plans fail but if you learn from your failures, that's success in itself. Don't get discouraged but keep trying! Also keep in mind that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a given amount of time. Don't get discouraged if you fall behind schedule - keep working toward your goal until you reach it!

Think big, start small. You have an amazing idea but to implement it, you will need to take baby steps in managing it to do it right. Remember that getting to your goal isn't like a sprint but more like a marathon!

Do you have what it takes to also be a successful entrepreneur?

Are You an Entrepreneur or Aspiring One? Share Your Thoughts!

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    • Crowdinvest profile image

      Crowdinvest 4 weeks ago from 3 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, England W1J 5PA, United Kingdom

      Insightful article and helpful for entrepreneurs. Every entrepreneur should keep working and learning about their industry. Test and improve their marketing strategies to smooth out the rough edge.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

      Great hub. I thought for sure there'd be a reference to having a degree in business. I'm pleasantly surprised by the fact that it's not mentioned here. Very well organized as well.

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 3 years ago

      Excellent article. I have been a businessman for more than 16 years and I would like to add one more very important point : Persistence . I have seen many people who get lured by this concept of making more money than their present jobs & as soon as they come face to face with some real challenges they give up & return to working regular jobs. Never Give Up attitude is a must in all entrepreneurs.

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks, Urmila! Glad to hear you enjoyed reading the tips on entrepreneurship.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 5 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Great informative hub. Enjoy reading and learning new ideas. Thanks for sharing it. Voted up!

    • Olde Cashmere profile image

      Olde Cashmere 5 years ago from Michigan, United States

      A truly motivating and helpful hub. I'm currently working on my dreams and this article is just what I needed. Excellent work, voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting :)

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thank you, Ali!

    • alipuckett profile image

      alipuckett 5 years ago

      "Think big, start small". GREAT piece of advice right there.

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! I'm honored that you enjoyed the article.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      This is the perfect article for anyone to refer to that has a "brainchild" business plan. I like the way you used a real person's experience, and how the personality traits are presented.Voted up and shared! And very useful, of course!

    • collegatariat profile image

      collegatariat 5 years ago

      I love your advice! Being an entrepreneur is gutsy, but the freedom and self-sufficiency it brings are great, as well as a great deal of satisfaction. Thanks!

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a wonderful hub! I enjoyed reading from beginning to end! And I agree with Cyndi! As writers we are entrepreneurs. I will be sharing and bookmarking this myself. It's given me a lot to think about!

    • businesstrader profile image

      Natalie Watson 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I could really relate wo this hub as I did this exact thing approx 3 years ago. Walking away from a 9-5 job was a scary decision, but glad I did. Great hub!

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Hi Lana! You are very brave for having followed your dreams - that is very admirable. Even if your career change made you realize that it's not really what you want, it's still a great accomplishment because you won't be looking back with regret wishing you had pursued a law career. Good job and thank you for sharing your story!

    • LanaLu profile image

      LanaLu 5 years ago from New York

      THis is a great hub... You are absolutely right, people fear dropping their 9-5 job and taking a risk but sometimes a risk is worth taking. After I graduated from college had an awesome event planning job and worked with many celebrities but thought I wanted to be a lawyer so I quit my job on the stop and said I will not work until i find a Job at a law firm where I can start my career. It took me a month to find the job I wanted and made me realize Law was not my thing after all... My point being is that I was not afraid to quit and start fresh and the fresh start made me realize what I truly wanted and went for it... This hub is very inspirational and well written...

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Hello Cyndi10: Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the article.

    • Global-Chica profile image
      Author

      Anna 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Hi Cindy! I completely agree with you that writers are also entrepreneurs. Thank you for commenting and sharing!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Global-Chica, Great article. Lots of information and insight along with a good dose of motivation. Thanks for writing this and I'm glad Cyndi shared it.

    • sunkentreasure profile image

      BERNARD LEVINE 5 years ago from RUIMSIG, SOUTH AFRICA

      SECRETS OF SUCCESS By BERNARD LEVINE

      You are the architect of your life.

      Create your own opportunities

      and make things happen.

      Set yourself a specific goal

      and monitor your progress.

      Be of service.

      Keep doing things for others

      without counting the cost.

      Turn your defeats into victories.

      Control your environment.

      Mix with the kind of

      people who inspire you.

      Keep your attitude positive

      and your health in fine trim.

      Let God go before you

      in everything you do.

      Pray regularly with feeling.

      Always be planning

      something constantly.

      You are the magnet of

      your circumstances.

      Never give up!

      © Bernard Levine

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      I'm going to bookmark and share this - I think lots of writers are entrepreneurs but might not think themselves as such. Great hub and fabulous tips!!