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What Does It Take to Be a Successful Entrepreneur?

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill

Recently, I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote presentation at SUNY Albany for their Entrepreneurship Group. I presented my view of the qualities, skills, and experience required to establish, grow, and manage a profitable business.

While there are many traditional and nontraditional paths to becoming a successful entrepreneur, my route was more indirect. I consider myself to be an “unintentional entrepreneur,” in that I found my way to business ownership as a natural progression of my experiences.

My diverse background in sales, marketing, recruiting, public speaking, and leadership paved my way to entrepreneurship. From stockbroker assistant to art auctioneer to marketing executive at, I picked up skills along the way that led me to where I am today. Now, as President of FPC National, I oversee a countrywide network of 65 franchise offices with more than 150 recruiters in our organization.

As a coach and mentor to our franchisees, I‘ve had the privilege of sharing my experiences with many new entrepreneurs. I have learned that there are certain characteristics that are essential to building a successful business. Here are the five qualities that I believe every entrepreneur should have:

  • Leadership: The first fact that every entrepreneur must accept is that only businesses with strong teams succeed. As a leader and business owner, your first priority is to recruit and retain top performers. Those who feel threatened by talented people are missing the point and setting themselves up for failure. The #1 rule in business is: “It’s all about the people.”

  • Humility: Effective entrepreneurs have a modest view of their own importance. They are self-aware and take the time to assess and understand their potential and their limitations. They are able to capitalize on their strengths and they are not afraid to solicit candid, critical feedback so they can improve their shortcomings. Remember this oft-cited quote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.”

  • Tenacity: Never, ever give up. Consider these facts: 90% of all startups fail and three new startups launch globally every second. With so much competition for capital and attention, only the most focused and determined entrepreneurs will survive. I often think of the advice that Bob Montgomery, former CEO of, once told me: “Be willing to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.” Your persistence and dedication are what will separate you from the pack.

  • Creativity: Successful entrepreneurs must learn to explore their creativity and their curiosity. It’s important for owners to spend time working on their businesses, and not just in their businesses. To build a profitable company, entrepreneurs need to innovate, take risks, and think outside the box to develop differentiating factors and multiple revenue streams.

  • Honesty: The only way your business can grow authentically over the long-term is to adopt a policy of 100% honesty and integrity. When your employees, customers, franchisees, and partners all know that your word is your bond, you can cultivate meaningful relationships and trusting alliances.

Do you believe that you have the qualities to become a successful entrepreneur? Even if you have never owned a business before and have no recruiting experience, you can still build a profitable company if you have the right characteristics. In fact, many of our franchisees are first-time entrepreneurs and have developed lucrative recruiting agencies. We provide all the tools, mentorship, and guidance to help you succeed.

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