Is everyone but you on to the next big thing? Thanks to the levelling reach of the internet, becoming an entrepreneur and launching your own business has gone from a niche occupation to the ultimate dream for millions, and it’s easy to see why. When it goes right, owning your own business can be extremely fulfilling. From working for a company that is aligned with your personal values and making a difference in the world, to the joys of flexible working, problem solving and the buzz of knowing that any profits from your hard work are ultimately benefiting you, there’s no shortage of reasons why you’d want to strike out on your own. And as jobs are harder to come by, even for the most talented, and large corporates are slow to respond to the type of working environment younger employees want to operate in, more and more are taking the plunge to start up by themselves. However, the odds speak for themselves, with a massive percentage of start-up businesses not making it past their first year. Not everyone has the right qualities to make is as an entrepreneur, for a start. There are a specific set of behaviors associated with successful entrepreneurs – but the good news is, as long as you’re willing to learn, you can take them on just as well as someone who possesses them innately.

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Always Be Willing To Take Risks

A fear of failure has paralyzed many a successful business in the past and is something which often continues to hinder the agility of larger corporates with complicated reporting structures. Remember that this ability to embrace change is a very important selling point of a smaller business, so embrace it. Successful start-ups are ones that choose to embrace the possibility of failing and even see the value in it – after all, our failures can teach is far more than our successes ever do. Getting things wrong -as long as you learn from it – should be seen as a highly necessary part of the creative process and certainly not a barrier to progress. Learning to tolerate uncertainty is one of the great traits you can teach yourself as a leader, and becoming one of life’s risk-takers can be the making of your businesses. After all, there is no globally successful business out there that wasn’t once just a risky idea.

Constantly Make Connections

They say that it’s now what you know, but who you know and this certainly still rings true in the world of business. The truth is that every networking opportunity you have should be embraced, because it’s connections that can really boost your business. Find out about local networking events,  and take every opportunity to meet other local entrepreneurs and businesses – who knows how you might be able to help each other, now or in the future? Keep in touch and use tools like the LinkedIn Groups to network digitally as well. Don’t be shy about asking for advice – everyone has something you can learn from them.

Continuously Invest In Training

It’s hugely important to keep on top of the skills you need – and as systems, processes, the demands of your business and what you need to adapt to changes, you’ll need to review the knowledge that you have and think ahead to plan training in areas where you or any staff you take on aren’t proficient. As a leader, it’s important to recognize your own limits and understand where you need external support – everything from IT training to learning more about marketing or even soft skills like time management and negotiation. By investing in continuous personal development, you can keep your skills up to date and keep pushing your company forward.

Understand Your Niche

It’s a busy marketplace out there – so the more you have something that sets your company apart in the sector, the better. Discovering a unique aspect of a service or a feature that relates to a certain group of customers is ideal. You have to completely understand the people you are marketing to, and respond to their wants accurately. Cornering that bit of the market can be a springboard to greater success. Start with a tight focus on one niche and aim to completely master it before broadening out or expanding into other categories. Spreading yourself too thin to begin with is a recipe for disaster – learning your business inside out in one area first is a much better strategy.