In the past few years, many skilled workers from just about every job field have been laid off. Some of these people, unable to find another job as unemployment rates continue to rise, have decided to put their skills to use by starting a small business.
However, not everyone who starts a business is successful – not even close. And many of those who are successful fail multiple times and make many small business mistakes before finally hitting on an idea that works. When comparing the world’s richest entrepreneurs, you can see several qualities and characteristics that seem to be more common among these people than the general public – qualities that have obviously helped them get to the top.
Here are the 5 most important personality traits shared by the world’s top entrepreneurs. They might shed some light on what it takes to build a successful business yourself.
Some successful businessmen have had to deal with at least one failed enterprise to their name due to either a low-quality idea or bad planning. Others have come from poverty but were able to overcome this major obstacle on their way to becoming an entrepreneur success story making billions. The richest person in Germany, Karl Albrecht, worth over $23 billion, was the son of a miner and a baker. IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, went door to door on his bicycle selling matches to neighbors in his small village before moving on to fish, pens, and pencils.
Creativity allows for ideas and innovation. Ideas and innovation often lead to money and success. Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google in their colossal quest to master the Internet search engine. Steve Jobs and Apple revolutionized the gadget industry with iPods, Macbooks, and the iPhone. In many cases, a single creative idea can makes its inventor billions.
Without risks, there can never be great rewards. Some of the most well-known billionaires took huge risks before succeeding. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, and countless others have traded their stable lives in order to risk everything on their ideas. Perhaps no one is a bigger risk-taker than George Soros, the world’s most prolific currency trader. Soros has bet $10 billion on currencies strengthening or weakening – and has made billions from his most lucrative transactions.
Some of the world’s richest people acquired the capital to finance their small business idea by utilizing their skills in a field completely separate from their entrepreneurial endeavors, or by using their knack for business to take advantage of opportunities to build wealth at an early age. Kirk Kerkorian made his first $100 million – money he used to finance the development of the Las Vegas Strip and MGM Studios – by buying and selling airplanes and airplane fuel. Jeffrey Bezos was a computer scientist on Wall Street before embarking on a cross-country trip that inspired the Amazon.com business plan. The commonality here is that these billionaires used their experience in one field to pioneer another, more lucrative, one.
Visionary entrepreneurs are known for their strategic abilities and their ability to view things with a long-term perspective. By being able to identify and capitalize on a demand for a product or service, the “visionary” rides financial waves to success. For example, Jorge Lemann and his partners founded the Banco Garantia, an investment banking firm, in the 1970’s. Instead of remaining satisfied with his successful investment banking firm, he saw potential in the liquor industry. As a result, he bought out a Brazilian brewery that is now part of InBev and controlled a majority share of this extremely profitable Brazilian beer production. He is now the third richest person in Brazil.
Although other qualities surely play a role in finding success, and luck is always a factor, these attributes correlate strongly with wealth. All of us can be inspired by these incredibly successful entrepreneurs, and even strive to cultivate these qualities in ourselves. What qualities do you think are most important in making a successful entrepreneur?