Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. According to Bloomberg, eight out of ten new businesses fail in the first 18 months. With odds like that, it takes a special kind of person to think he or she can buck the trend and get on the fast-past to success. Do you have what it takes? Check out these characteristics of amazing small business CEOs.
Supersized levels of optimism. With small businesses failing all around you, it may seem crazy to think you can beat the odds. But the truth is, if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? If you’re going to convince investors to give you money, attract and hire great people, or get people to try your new product, you have to believe in yourself.
Juggling skills. The life of an entrepreneur is filled with highs and lows. You might present to your board in the morning and order toilet paper and office supplies in the afternoon. It’s your job to make sure that nothing drops through the cracks (after all, you do need toilet paper). Just make sure to spend most of your time on activities that will move the needle.
The ability to let go. You can’t possibly get a small business off of the ground if you need to make every decision yourself. You need to hire people who can figure out what needs to be done without waiting to be told, and then do it. This is not the time to let your ego get in the way. Hire self-starters, and then get out of their way.
A simple value proposition. Having a strong vision is not enough. In today’s short-attention-span world you need to be able to articulate that vision in plain English, in 90 seconds or less. You can’t recruit employees or sway investors–not to mention get customers–if you can’t quickly make them understand and appreciate your dream.
Charisma. You need people that will give 110% of themselves to your company. Not many startups can offer a sizable enough paycheck to inspire that kind of loyalty, so you need to lead with personality. Rally employees around a shared mission. Give them a reason to believe–a higher purpose to get behind–and be sure to make it fun.
Customer obsession. In today’s world, your product is only as good as the service you back it with. Many well-established industries are being disrupted by companies that offer better customer experiences. Just look at Lyft, Munchery, and Surf Air. A relentless focus on customers needs to be part of your company’s DNA from day one.
Are you that special kind of crazy? If you think you have what it takes to take a startup to stardom, just take a deep breath and jump right in. You can do this thing!
By Jamie Domenici