Top of Mind: What Does It Take to Be a Successful Entrepreneur?

Here’s what, courtesy of 9 successful entrepreneurs.
June 1, 2015

To succeed once a business launches, business owners must be passionate about what they are doing. Their passion will permeate everything they do. The business owner has to stay focused—too many business owners get distracted.

—Gerry David, CEO and president of Celsius Holdings

Related: 5 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do on the Weekends

Successful entrepreneurs are persistent and creative when it comes to solving problems. They are willing to do whatever it takes to remove roadblocks, especially when it involves reaching out of their comfort zones, taking risks or making extra-difficult decisions. Successful entrepreneurs are relentless. They will find a way to get what they want.

—Ashu Desai, founder of Make School

Starting a business is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. You'll have far more doubters than believers in the early days. Therefore your passion and commitment to put in the work, create competitive edges and work tirelessly to launch your business are key.

—Nick Bayer, president and CEO of Saxbys Coffee

An entrepreneur does not fear failure but rather uses past experiences to achieve future success. An entrepreneur is not afraid of taking risks or delegating tasks, and trusts the team he or she has built.

—Mazen Karnaby, CEO and founder of Cedra Pharmacy

A majority of new ventures fail. It is therefore incredibly important not to focus on financial results. A good way to look at it is like a report card: Financial results show how well you are doing, but are not a day-to-day driving force. The key is to focus on your strengths and leverage them in the daily grind. Money should not be the main driver.

—Elan Katz, co-founder of Cure Urgent Care

Successful entrepreneurs are aware of their strengths and limitations. For example, I have ADHD—impulsiveness can sometimes be a problem. But with measured self-awareness, the hyper-focus can lead to great, creative outcomes. In addition to understanding yourself, success comes to entrepreneurs who clearly define and execute goals in sales, product and finance.

—Ken Cho, CEO of People Pattern

Being a great entrepreneur takes communication skills. It never hurts to have clean grammar when making first impressions and sharing ideas. You also need an ability to learn from mistakes and perseverance. There will be dark moments, and you must be willing to press onward.

—James Console, owner of AntLion Audio/GTDevice

I don’t believe in spending a ton of time improving your weaknesses. Instead find someone who can do it better than you while taking half the time and energy to get it done. Try to focus 75 percent of your time on the areas you enjoy and for which you have a natural talent. Time is our most precious resource, so we should use it wisely.

—Veronica Saldivar, investor, entrepreneur and speaker

The three fundamentals of entrepreneurship are the strength of your ideas, your resources and your environment. Your ability to leverage these fundamentals to create opportunities is crucial to your success. Once you and your team embrace this concept, you’ll not only survive, you’ll grow.

—Alex Riley, president of MeritHall Staffing

Related: 7 Do's and Don'ts for Entrepreneurial Success

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