What Does it Take to Be a Successful Entrepreneur?

By Daymond John

To be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t need to have a lot of fancy degrees, and you don’t have to spend years climbing the corporate ladder to get the experience necessary to run your own business. You might actually be surprised at how simple it is to be an entrepreneur and to start and run successful companies without playing the 9:00-to-5:00 game.

When you watch Shark Tank, you’ll notice that all of the “sharks” are really different people with some very distinct personalities and opinions. From Mark Cuban to Lori Greiner to myself and everyone else in between, we’re all definitely individuals, but we all have a few things in common. If you can emulate these traits, you can be a successful entrepreneur, too.

Take Your Projects Seriously

First of all, a lot of people think that being an entrepreneur means striking it rich on a great idea and then living the rest of your life on a beach. Well, let me tell you, if you want to own your own island and sail the world whenever you want like Richard Branson and other successful entrepreneurs, you’re going to need to be very serious about all of your projects, from beginning to end.

Prioritize Your Business

Part of taking those projects seriously is prioritizing them. In the early days of FUBU, when I was working in restaurants, I spent every waking hour that I wasn’t waiting tables working on my brand. The first days, weeks, and months of your business’ life are the most important if you want it to succeed.

In fact, if you really want your business to be a success, I want you to forget the words “tomorrow” and “later”. If you can do something right now to build your brand and get your business on its feet, why put it off till tomorrow or even later today?

Have a Plan for Everything – Including Failure

Next, what’s your plan? How do you intend to become successful? If your answer isn’t much more detailed than, “I want to sell this cool product and get rich,” then you’re going to have trouble. The more detailed you make your plan, the more you’ll be able to see its flaws and potentials for failure.

Understanding where and how your business can fail and what it will take to keep you running will put you in a great position to succeed. It’ll show investors that you’re serious about success and that you’ve done your market research. I can’t tell you how many great ideas I’ve seen on Shark Tank that I didn’t invest in because I knew that the people pitching them hadn’t put in the effort necessary to really sell me on them.

If you don’t put that effort in, I know you haven’t done your research on the market. That means you don’t know about the demand for your product, anything about your competition, how much it will cost to run your business, and all kinds of other details that I need to know if I’m going to invest my money in your venture.

Be a Shameless Self-Promoter

Finally, don’t be afraid to promote yourself and your business. No one gets rich by underselling themselves, but you can go a long way just by being your own biggest cheerleader. This shows that you believe in your product or service and that you really think you can make this work. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur and run your own business, know your worth, believe in your projects, and don’t be afraid to tell everyone about it. You never know who’s listening.

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