5 success factors all entrepreneurs share

6 min read
Ashliegh Gehl

It takes time, tenacity and dedication to turn a ground-breaking idea into a prospering business. Canada’s leading entrepreneurs are a testament to that. If you’ve been wanting to launch a startup or are eager to challenge the status quo, you’ve probably wondered if you have the traits of an entrepreneur. Read on for the success factors the best share.

Uber co-founder Garrett Camp revolutionized the car service industry when he sought to solve a problem that cab users could relate to.

“I would call and they wouldn’t show up and while I was waiting on the street, two or three other cabs would go by,” said Camp in The Guardian.

“Then I’d call them back and they wouldn’t even remember that I called before. I remember being late for first or second dates. I could start getting ready 20 minutes early and still I’d end up being 30 minutes late.”

After one too many unfortunate experiences hailing a cab, the foundation for what would become Uber was born.

Simple ideas make it big

Another exceptional entrepreneurial example is Mandy Rennehan. Her decision to start Freshco, a unique construction firm, changed the retail maintenance field.

And then there’s Diana Olsen, who brought the communal spirit of French cafés to Ontario in the mid-1990s when she launched Balzac’s Coffee Roasters.

“Starbucks was all there was, and that had such a North American vibe to it,” said Olsen, in Trek Magazine. “I loved what they were doing, but I didn’t like the ambience.”

Since then, Balzac’s has sprawled across the province to more than a dozen locations, revitalizing historic spaces, which are just as treasured as the caffeinated beverages customers consume.

These remarkable Canadians have travelled a distinctive path to get to where they are. The commonalities between them might have you realizing that you do, in fact, have the traits of an entrepreneur.

Related: Is this the year to start a side hustle?

The top 5 success factors entrepreneurs have in common

What do all of these success stories have in common? The entrepreneurs behind them approach business with a similar mindset, including these five factors:1.

  1. Have a problem? Solve it.
  2. See it. Do it.
  3. Get out there and meet people!
  4. Doing the unthinkable means taking big risks.
  5. Be robust.

Wondering if you are cut out for entrepreneurial success? Let’s look at the success factors they share.

1. Have a problem? Solve it

Success Factors Two Men Drawing on White Board
Like Uber, many successful startups begin with a desire to solve a problem.
Photo: Kaleidico on Unsplash

One of the main characteristics that connects all of the entrepreneurs mentioned above is their ability to efficiently solve problems.

If problem solving were easy, everyone would be doing it (and making a lot money off of their innovative solutions).

As venture capitalist Arlene Dickinson writes in her book All In, “If you're careful to listen to your instincts and question conventional wisdom, set priorities, and make thoughtful choices, eventually you will figure out how to design a lifestyle that suits you.”

Problem solving is often linked to disruptive thinking because the change in perspective can be a linchpin for shifting cultural norms and turning the status quo on its head. Go forth, and challenge convention!

2. See it. Do it

Vision, big-picture thinking and passion are three traits that are invaluable to entrepreneurs. Ask yourself: What do I want to accomplish in the short term? What do I hope to achieve in the long term?

Success Factors Tray of Cosmetics
Short-term is: create a better palette. Long-term? Dominate the global eye shadow market.

By understanding the vision encompassing your idea, you’re increasing your motivation and challenging yourself to stay competitive and relevant. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds, dealing with all of the small, but important day-to-day tasks. By taking a step back and dreaming, you’re building a roadmap to success.

3. Get out there and meet people!

There’s the old adage, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” And although this way of thinking might make you cringe, it’s important to think about it differently. After all, Garrett Camp was only able to take his idea for Uber (originally called UberCab) to the next level after building out his idea with his friend Travis Kalanick. Together they combined their thinking and talents to create an unprecedented startup.

Keep in mind that what you know can be enhanced. With others' help, the impossible becomes possible.

When the synergy is there, you’ll feel it!

Editor’s note: Nothing puts an idea out there like a website. Build one now with GoDaddy Website Builder — free for 30 days!

4. Doing the unthinkable means taking big risks

When Zita Cobb launched the luxurious Fogo Island Inn, rural communities were suffering due to increased urbanization and globalization. "It's scary what's happening,” said Cobb, to the CBC.

“If you look at the census numbers for the little places in Newfoundland, we are much stronger than others because we've been at this 10 years.”

Going remote wasn’t a trending hashtag back then, and travel companies certainly weren’t promoting isolated communities with inclement weather as must-see tourist destinations. And yet, determined to help revive her community, Cobb took a risk that has garnered international acclaim. From there, she started the Shorefast Foundation with her brothers, and perpetually takes risks in order to make Fogo Island economically resilient.

5. Be robust

The entrepreneurial path is not always going to be easy. In fact, it’ll get hard — really hard — before it gets good.

If you're like many entrepreneurs, you’ll find yourself pitching your idea to anyone who listens. You’ll receive waves of criticism from skeptics. You might lose confidence in yourself, in your idea, and doubt that it’s worth the time and investment.

Success Factors Automated Vacuum Cleaner
Some of the world’s most popular products took time to catch on.

Weather whatever storm may come and be resilient. It’s worth it in the end.

The top 5 traits of an entrepreneur

From razors to cars, restaurants to apps, the most popular ideas are launched by people with a similar set of characteristics. The best entrepreneurs:

  1. Are effective problem solvers.
  2. Have vision, passion and can see the big picture.
  3. Network, network, network.
  4. Are risk-takers.
  5. Are tough, robust and irrepressible.

If you share these five success factors, go out there and represent your ideas! You’ll be glad you did.