Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs: Commitment

February 02, 2016

Part two of a ten-part series - Check out our first entry in the series: Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs: A Step by Step Guide to Creating SMART Small Business Goals

There’s an old joke about commitment that’s been paraphrased by many successful people, including tennis great Martina Navratilova. She said, “The difference between commitment and involvement is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.” Successful entrepreneurs are more than just involved, they are committed.

Six signs of committed entrepreneurs

They work all the time

The committed entrepreneur may not be sitting behind a desk 24/7, but that doesn’t mean they’re not working. At the dinner table, in the shower or stuck in traffic, the committed entrepreneur is thinking about their business. These are the people who keep a notebook and a pen beside the bed so they can write down the ideas that wake them in the middle of the night. Of course, it also means that they are fiercely committed to protecting their business with small business insurance. Even before the business was started, the entrepreneur was committed to the idea of it. Planning, making lists, doing research—these are the things that took up their time even before the company was launched.

Everyone knows what they do

An entrepreneur who is truly committed simply cannot help themselves. They craft the perfect elevator pitch and will tell everyone they meet and anyone who will listen—and sometimes those who won’t—about their business. This has to do with their commitment, but it has another benefit as well. A true entrepreneur understands that you never know who may become a customer, a partner, a supplier or even an investor. A random conversation in the checkout line at the grocery store can turn into a big deal for your company. The more people you tell about your business, the more successful you will be.

They’ll try anything

The first idea doesn’t always work, but any successful entrepreneur will tell you that failure is just part of the process. The committed entrepreneur will look at each failure as another step closer to success, as though you have to fail a certain number of times before you succeed. (No one seems to know exactly how many times that is, or if they do they’re not saying). If you are committed to your business, you will keep trying different things until you find the one that succeeds.

They’re flexible

Being committed and being flexible may sound like opposites, but they really aren’t. Entrepreneurs who are flexible may find that the company they end up with looks nothing like the company they started out with, and that’s okay. In fact, it often results in a better idea and a stronger business concept that the one that was first conceived. By learning from your experiences and changing as you grow, you set the stage for your success.

They are willing to get their hands dirty

When you’re starting out, you need to do every job in the company, simply because there’s no one else to do it. But this, too, has an unintended consequence that can pay off big. As you expand your company and hire employees, you will know how to do what you’re hiring them to do. This will make you more efficient and empathetic as a manager. Just be sure that you let your staff do their jobs, and recognize that they may have a different, or even better, way to get the work done.

They practice more

Professional athletes and musicians will tell you that those who are more committed practice more, and those who practice more have more success. It’s the same in business. Commit to actually doing the work, not just brainstorming, planning, and hiring staff to do it. This may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how many people will plan, organize and contemplate their businesses into the ground because they just don’t do the work.

Professional athletes have a lot to say about commitment, and they know of what they speak. Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti said, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” If you can commit yourself fully to your business, you have one of the biggest building blocks to success. When you face an obstacle, remind yourself of your commitment, dig deep and find a way to move forward. As you do this over and over, you’ll find you’re getting closer and closer to your dream of being a successful entrepreneur.