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Essential attributes of a successful small business owner

Essential attributes of a successful small business ownerWhat traits do you need to be a successful entrepreneur?

It’s a subject that provokes a lot of opinions, but here are some of the main qualities we think are people need to run their own business:

Determination. It takes a lot of this to transform a start-up dream into a business that’s actually making money. You’ll need plenty of tenacity to shrug off all the setbacks, persistence to solve all the problems and drive to overcome all the hurdles that you’ll encounter along the way. But, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Take risks. You’ve got to be happy to be the rainmaker, because no one else is going to build your dream for you. If you’re daunted by the prospect of starting from nothing or if you feel intimidated by having the sole responsibility for the success or failure of your small business, then you’d better keep your day job. Besides running a small business is not just about taking risks, its also about managing them. Making sure your business is protected with the right small business insurance is one way to prevent curve-balls from disrupting your journey.

Passion. This is what will help get you out of bed each morning and reassure you that the risks are worth taking. You’ve got to have a deep passion for what you do: to truly believe you’re building something great, something that is better than all your rivals. It’s a strong, personal attachment to your business. Anyone who says “its business, not personal” has never built a start-up from scratch. Of course it’s personal – that’s why you do it.

Creativity. As Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” You’ve got to be able to think beyond the existing scheme of things, to ask “why” rather than simply “because”. And in the early days you’re going to need to make a splash without having much money. That will take imagination. You’ll want to think of ways to solve your customers’ needs, before they’ve even thought of them.

Patience. You can’t be in a rush to build your business. If you take shortcuts then often you’ll find it will take you longer to build the kind of business you’re proud of.

Delegate. Many people start a small business because they want to be their own boss. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t let a do-it-yourself attitude turn into a belief that you have to run every aspect of the business all the time. Soon, rather than you running the business, you’ll simply be the most senior employee of your own firm. You’ll get burned out quickly and you’ll probably wind up back as an employee for someone else. Your wisest decision will be to hire people cleverer than you, to nurture them and give them the space to help develop the business.

At Hiscox we know what it’s like to have a real passion for what you want to achieve. We’re passionate about creating a new kind of insurer: one that puts you at the center of all we do and which will help you to fulfill your dream of creating a great business that you’re proud of.

We hope to support you on your journey.


  1. Posted September 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I found this article extremely well written and right to the point. You hit these traits right on the head. Especially the taking risk and patience part. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was still working my 9-5 for a boss who didn’t care about all the efforts and ideas I was providing to his company, even though they were making him a ton of cash. I worked this way for numerous years making this guy a bunch of money, one day he sold the business and laid all of us off, because the new owners were outsourcing their entire staff our of the country. I think this was the main turning point in my life, throughout all those years I always day dreamed about starting my own business, but never had the balls to actually do it.

    Now that I look back, I am glad that I was laid off. I am now the happy owner of a fairly large closeout & liquidation business. Now don’t get me wrong, it was not easy at all. Luckily I stayed patient, to be honest it took me almost 2 years to make a steady profit. I sunk all I had into my business and I can now say that it was the best thing I ever did. Be confident and take charge, you will make mistakes along the road, but those same mistakes will make you stronger and a better business person. Again, this article was great and even though I am a little more versed as a business owner, I still scour the internet looking for other like minded people that will help me to continue to be successful.

  2. Hiscox Blog
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Angelo,

    Thanks for your comment. Sometimes it takes a big change like being laid off to make the leap into becoming a small business owner. Once you get past the initial startup phase, it’s up to you where to take your business from there. Like you said, it’s not easy and it’s a lot of work, but if you’re patient and put the effort in you’ll be rewarded with a successful business.

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