This post is part of BlueprintRF’s entrepreneur series, a collection of articles intended to equip business owners and executives with the tools, information, and resources they need to thrive in the hospitality industry.
Many factors can shape an entrepreneur’s success as they launch, operate, and scale their hospitality business. These factors often include the timing of their business launch, the amount of capital they can obtain, the market’s competitive nature, their supply chain’s dependability, and the current economic climate.
In addition to these external factors, successful entrepreneurs have several character traits in common. While some of these characteristics are intrinsic, virtually all of them can be learned. Let’s dive into what these traits are.
The ability to exercise a sense of empathy is an essential trait for entrepreneurs. Whether a business owner manages a large team of employees or works directly with their customers on an individual level, they must have the ability to understand and connect with others on a genuine level.
Successful entrepreneurs can put themselves in others’ shoes, considering their customers’ and employees’ perspectives as they navigate critical business decisions. In hospitality, empathy takes the shape of anticipating your customer’s needs and expectations, empowering your team members to take time off to recharge when they need it, and giving both employees and customers space to voice their opinions and concerns.
Entrepreneurs who have the soft skills necessary to connect with others can experience various benefits that directly impact the business, such as increased customer loyalty, more customer referrals, and increased employee productivity.
Especially for new entrepreneurs, grit is one of the most critical factors that separates many successful entrepreneurs from those who are more likely to give up. According to Angela Duckworth’s bestselling book Grit, she defines it as “passion and sustained perseverance applied toward long-term achievement, with no particular concern for rewards or recognition along the way.”
A couple of the core traits that shape thriving, high-grit entrepreneurs focus specifically on being motivated and future-oriented. Because these character traits are built on habitual, repetitive action, several practices can strengthen your entrepreneurial grit and make you more resilient to setbacks and more likely to succeed in the long term. From building your resourcefulness, learning from failures, and holding yourself accountable, Kenny Kline outlines many of these practices in his article on Inc.com.
Every successful entrepreneur you hear about likely started with an idea or image about something he or she felt passionate about creating. Unfortunately, many potential entrepreneurs have big dreams and ideas but never develop a concrete vision.
An entrepreneurial vision statement is a picture you have for what the venture will become in the future or what you envision it will grow into. An entrepreneurial vision specifically considers precisely what you want your venture to become, what this venture will look like, what the driving forces are, and what values and culture should surround it. While it may not be easy to write your vision, at the very least, set aside time each day to train your mind to think and reflect on the vision you are setting for yourself.
An entrepreneurial spirit gives leaders the capacity to carry a manner of thinking with them each day that enables them to overcome obstacles and meet challenges with a can-do mindset. What does it mean to have an entrepreneurial spirit? In the case of a hospitality entrepreneur, it could mean being passionate, purposeful, positive, bold, persistent, and curious.
Passion is a vital element of the entrepreneurial process. Without it, an entrepreneur’s drive to run the business can diminish. Passion and spirit are what keeps an entrepreneur going when external forces send negative messages or less-than-positive feedback. The combination of vision, grit, and spirit reinforces each other and keeps the entrepreneur on the right track with the business’s next steps.
5. Flexibility and Versatility
A common trait among successful entrepreneurs is adapting to change and solving problems as they arise. A strong leader can shift their priorities to specific areas that need attention or whenever the team needs assistance and guidance. In this context, flexibility is shaped by your ability to be receptive to other people’s needs, opinions, and ideas, as well as being open-minded to feedback from your team.
Similar, having the ability to pivot, shift, and adapt to changes is a closely related attribute that defines versatile and agile entrepreneurs. Versatility takes many different forms when you’re running a business. From being an early adopter of new technology to embracing new channels to reach potential customers, having an open mind can go a long way in being a flexible, versatile entrepreneur.
In most circumstances, entrepreneurs are faced with perplexing tasks and challenges they have never encountered before. In the world of hospitality, that couldn’t be more true. Being resourceful is a mindset that helps entrepreneurs overcome challenges and accomplish goals that may not have a clear path to achieving them.
Entrepreneurs who can work resourcefully can effectively solve problems and grow and scale their businesses without having all of the answers or resources. Learning how to be resourceful requires a can-do attitude, an open mind, and a willingness to work creatively to effectively manage a business without having the immediate know-how.
While challenging to do in the dynamic world of hospitality, having reliable processes is essential for any successful entrepreneur. A process is a repeatable series of steps that help those working within a business to complete necessary tasks in business. Processes can apply to various aspects of the business, including sales, onboarding new team members, production, and product fulfillment.
When business owners have a process-oriented mindset, they can work smarter, not harder. Implementing processes in various areas of the business can prevent waste, allowing business owners to scale and grow their businesses. Additionally, when business owners have repeatable processes in place, they are able to quickly train new team members to fulfill essential aspects of the business without sacrificing time or quality.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of small businesses fail within the first four years. Although it’s important not to undermine the value of hard work as a factor for entrepreneurial success, one’s level of output does not always determine success, especially in hospitality. Being receptive, resilient, adaptable, and resourceful are a few traits that will help pave the way for success.