Here’s a question that surfaces so often in scholarly articles, business magazines and a profusion of blogs – Are entrepreneurs born or made? Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo spent her time at Babson College, ranked the No1 School for Entrepreneurship in the world, however now sit’s at the helm of Converge, Scotland’s premier academic company creation programme. Having since witnessed many variations on the theme of entrepreneurship, Dr Claudia Cavalluzzo has created her top 5 keys for successful entrepreneurial leadership, how do these traits match up to your own?
Focus and self-discipline
First and foremost, successful entrepreneurial leaders possess focus and self-discipline. Self-discipline is the single most important quality for success in life and business. If you have that discipline, then your success is virtually guaranteed. Self-discipline requires self-control, self-responsibility and self-direction. When leading organisations and enterprises, we are often involved in several strands of activities. It is crucial to keep the focus and not let ourselves be pulled in many directions that are not fully aligned with our overall aim.
All successful entrepreneurs I look up to possess a high degree of empathy. Perhaps the most valued and respected quality you can develop is a reputation for absolute empathy -.being able to put yourself ” in someone else’s shoes”– and to understand someone else’s perspective or point of view. Leadership based on authority is short-lived, it’s when we genuinely challenge our thinking and try to understand what motivate others that we can ask them to follow us.
Entrepreneurial leaders have an almost innate ability to be persistent. This is an indispensable quality that goes hand in hand with all great success in life. Indeed, the courage to persist, particularly in the face of adversity and disappointment, is the one quality that, more than anything, will guarantee your success.
One of the best assets you can possess as an entrepreneur is a willingness to persevere longer than anyone else – persistence is a true measure of your belief in yourself and your ability to success.
Number four on my list is the ability to think creatively. A leaders’ mind is continually evolving. New ideas and new opportunities for innovation are crucially important for progress and therefore, there needs to be a continuous and conscious effort to look for that ‘eureka’ moment.
An entrepreneur powered by creative thinking can never sit still. Any investor will always be more interested in the entrepreneurs than their ideas. Investors only want to put their money behind people who have the creative wherewithal to turn ideas into reality, ideally a profitable reality.
Successful entrepreneurial leaders are strong networkers – easily engaging with their employees, suppliers, customers and all the key stakeholders. A good marketing strategy and an effective use of social media can present you with a myriad of opportunities to begin new relationships and of course, who knows where this might lead? One day you may wish to sell your business. If you have cultivated some great relationships, then who knows? The ‘purchaser’ may just lie within your own ‘eco-system’.