Why is it that some people succeed and some people seem to struggle? What successful people know is that if you want to grow, either personally or professionally, it starts with good habits. Nearly every founder we speak to credits a large part of their success to habits they have built up over the years. We've spoken to 6 experts to give their opinions on the habits of successful founders.
Slisha Kankariya - CMO - With Clarity
Entrepreneurs are always created and not born. While some may be born with skills that are more conducive to starting and running their own company, the application of those skills and cultivating the right mindset to be an entrepreneur is created through life. Motivation, hard work, self-driven results and an ability to look past and learn from failure are essential when it comes to a new business. These are mindsets that you must remind yourself to cultivate everyday. Only those who are able to create this version of themselves will actualize the vision of their dreams.
Becoming an entrepreneur was all about positively disrupting the industry I grew up in. I'm a third generation jeweler in the diamond industry. My company With Clarity bridges the gap between online and offline shopping, replacing the uncertainties of traditional shopping with a hands on experience at home. Consumers try replicas of their favorite ring styles before they buy. I decided to start this company to change the way consumers think about and shop for jewelry online and eliminate the need to ever walk into a jewelry store again. Being an entrepreneur is not just about having an idea, it's about effectively using industry knowledge and customer insights to solve a problem for a customer. In this way, you're transforming and causing positive changes within an industry and carving out a place for yourself.
Building consumer trust is difficult. People have high expectations and high doubt when it comes to purchasing a high ticket/luxury item and assuaging those fears while winning their business requires persistence and determination.
Perfecting the quality of your product to ensure that you can be on par with other luxury brands that have a perfected product. Product perfection is an iterative process. So a startup must work at a furious pace to make their product and shopping experience perfect.
Competing with the big budget marketing campaigns that other luxury brands have. It is tough to establish a startup within the luxury space, as successful luxury brands already have a large budget. In order to compete a startup must differentiate itself with a unique shopping experience/product.
Establishing an Organic Presence. In the saturated online space, the only way to have a consistent flow of traffic and orders coming in is to have organic presence. This requires establishing industry expertise, rapidly creating unique content and publishing it. This can take time and resources.
Building a Team With Expertise: Building a brand requires attracting the best talent available. It can be difficult to attract the best talent as a startup since many may not want to work with a small team or a young business.
3 Tips For Starting and growing a business:
Differentiate yourself! Be sure that you have something that differentiates your business from the competition. It must be something that makes you memorable. This way even when competitors have larger marketing budgets, the marketing that you do, will make an impact.
Invest in a talented team that is innovating constantly. You need to ensure that the team that you surround yourself with is talented and capable and constantly coming up with new ideas. It helps to have new ideas to overcome challenges that you will encounter along the way.
Always be prepared to experiment to find new ways to sell your products and services, however be sure that you can measure the results of these experiments.
Our work and personal lives are in synch sharing common values and gives us meaning and purpose.
Paige Arnof-Fenn - CEO - Mavens & Moguls
We value our time dearly and spend it wisely with people and activities that bring us joy. We will outsource things and spend money to insure we have more time to do what we love with the people we like to be with. We recognize that money comes and goes but time goes one direction only. For me, respecting my time on the calendar and taking myself as seriously as I take my most important clients is the least I can do because if I am not at my peak performance I am not going to be useful to anyone else either.
We work hard on things we care about and also plan down time to recharge on a regular basis. We savor vacations, sharing meals with family and friends, hobbies, the simplicity of a walk on a beautiful day, a good book or a great conversation. You have to give yourself permission to say no. Whether it means sleeping in (no to an alarm clock), getting a massage, taking a walk, or just turning off my phone and computer (no I will respond later on my own schedule), simple acts of letting myself relax and enjoy the moment are the very best gifts I can give myself that help me stay balanced and productive.
We give back and volunteer to help others. We are grateful and appreciate our lives and want to help others achieve their dreams to by sharing our gifts with them. There are so many ways to give back that enrich your life by helping others. I find the more you give the more you get.
We find ways to laugh often.
Carisa Miklusak - CEO - tilr
Smart founders make it a practice to hire people smarter than them
One thing I learned early on as an entrepreneur is that you don’t need to hire in a hierarchy and be everyone’s boss. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who put their egos aside and hire people who are smarter and more talented than them. People are your best asset, and when you’re starting up a business, it’s important to put the strongest people in each role and then get out of their way. Your business will progress faster when you have people who are capable off the bat, can operate independently and can lend their expertise to improve your products and processes. Conversely, you’ll stymie your company’s growth if it’s limited to your own ability and your key people know less about their own job than you do.
Also, give them the latitude to give you direction and guidance in different parts of the business where they’re experts. As Steve Jobs famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Entrepreneurs who emphasize founder-market fit as much as product-market fit have a competitive edge
It’s typical for founders to be obsessive about demonstrating product-market fit to prospective investors and, while this is true to some degree, it can actually be more favorable at the inception of a company to communicate founder-market fit. Why are you and your team best suited to solve this particular problem? What’s your background, your passion and what insights do you have that will help you differentiate and win? For founders who proactively answer these questions, and highlight why they're better positioned to capitalize on a market than the next startup, it can mean the difference between solidly getting their venture off the ground or falling short.
Kean Graham - CEO - MonetizeMore
Solutions Oriented -It’s not only important to be good at solving problems, you should focus on the solutions rather than the problems. Too many ‘want’repreneurs (sic) dwell on the problem which ends up discouraging them. I not only look for a solution, I look for a solution that turns the problem into a blessing by making the business stronger than ever.
Intrepid - Entrepreneurs must not be scared of the unknown. They must be ready to innovate despite the consequences. Big rewards lie ahead to those that dare to try things that others wouldn’t dare even think of. A successful entrepreneur is guided by abundance rather than fear.
Versatile - Entrepreneurs must be able to roll with the punches especially early-on. Many things will happen that cannot be planned for. Early pivots are necessary. Entrepreneurs also must be able to run and understand each part of the business early-on. That will allow them to run a more lean setup and understanding each part makes the entrepreneur more capable to hire the right people for those positions eventually.
Adam Hempenstall - CEO - Better Proposals
There is one trait I recognize in fellow founders who built successful businesses - they don’t micromanage. They hire the best people they can and let them do their tasks to the best of their ability. When I first launched my business, I thought that I had to knew every little detail of what my designers and developers were doing. Then I realized how much time that took away from me.
Nowadays, I come up with tasks that need to be done, give them to my team and not worry about it. They do what they know best, which gives me time and space to scale my business and think of ways to improve it. That is the only true way to grow as a founder - delegate as much as you can so you can think big.
Arto Minasyan- CEO - 10Web
If you read interviews or books of the most successful founders, you will easily find one common thing - they all care about their customers and wear their shoes. Being customer-centric since day one is an obvious secret that is hard to follow from day to day. Still, it's an effective way and actionable advice you could learn from the best. All these founders don't be afraid to talk to customers in groups, comments or channels. They are the first ones who will approach users and ask for feedback.
So talk to your customers directly and every day to see how their perception of the product has changed, what they need now, what type of issues they face while learning about your product, proceeding to the checkout or talking to the support team. It also shows the openness and transparency of the company. When your feedback is heard, you relate to the product on a personal level. All of this is much needed to keep your product relevant to the customer’s needs which equals being successful.