I woke up this morning at 3.30am and could not stop thinking. My brain was on overload. All I could think about was business.

Expanding a business internationally is not exactly the easiest task to undertake. It requires a lot more work than you think and some serious planning.

When a person has a big business goal, it can be all-consuming. It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week gig. And when you put that sort of effort into something, you are looking for one hell-of-a-return. I know I am!

Most entrepreneurs think about the end goal. What is it that they are trying to achieve. Then they work back from there. What steps need to be taken to achieve this goal.

To me, this is the norm, but what sets one successful person apart from the run-of-the-mill entrepreneur can often come down to a set of traits. So, what traits make a successful entrepreneur?

21 Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur

21 Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur
1. Passion: Successful entrepreneurs are all passionate. They love what they do and everyone around them knows that. They have an inner glow when they talk about their business and they are not afraid to tell everyone and anyone just how bespoke their business really is.

2. Goals: Having a goal is paramount, otherwise we walk around in circles or at a slow pace in a particular direction that has no signage or known destination. Successful entrepreneurs set goals that most people would never dare to set. They are usually quite ambitious goals that push the entrepreneur to lift to a whole new level.

3.  Money: Entrepreneurs know that money is king. Understanding your financial position and boundaries allows you as an entrepreneur to come up with creative solutions to ensure that your cash at banks helps you deliver on your goals.

4.  Customer-centric: If you don't know your customer and are not 'in love with your customer' you are never going to be a successful entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs believe in the people that believe in them. They all know who their customer is, what they eat for dinner and how they like to make buying decisions. Importantly, they talk to their customers one-on-one.

5.  Image Conscious: It's not what you wear, it's how you wear it. Successful entrepreneurs understand what image they are projecting to the world and manage it accordingly. They comb their hair in a particular fashion, and wear their trousers neatly dry cleaned. They think about what they say and how they say it. They deliver on their brand promise through a tight control on their image and how that promotes their brand at every touch point.

6.  Self-investment: Successful entrepreneurs know that people need to evolve, grow and learn. Just by being yourself is not going to put you in the upper echelons of success. Investing in yourself and self-improvement whether it is to be a better leader, to have better intuition, improve public speaking capabilities or learn about other entrepreneurs and how they became successful - is all part of the parcel in becoming the most successful entrepreneur you can be.

7.  Wear less hats: Work on the business, not in the business. A lesson I learnt years ago through a speaker at an Entrepreneurs Organisation event. If you are the HR Manager, the Accountant, the Sales Person, the Innovator and the Marketer - you are not going to be able to give your business the focus it needs to reach the levels you want to take it. By wearing less hats and outsourcing areas of the business that specialists can do, you will be more productive and more focused on achieving the end result.

8.  Be open to possibility: In the 13 years that I have been an entrepreneur, I have come into contact with many globally successful entrepreneurs. A trait that they all have is the ability to be open to possibility and opportunity. To capitalise on a situation and make a decision there and then on their next steps. An ability to look past the obvious and see opportunities that perhaps others may not be able to see. Just by being open to possibility in every aspect of your life, and having the capability to change and adapt when needed - will put you leaps and bounds above other business people.

9. Employees: They make or break you. If you don't invest in your employees and make the hard decisions fast (like fire them when they are not working out), you will be left with a half-hearted business and some brand-killers on your payroll. Invest in your employees and take time out every single day to inspire them and encourage them to be better and to believe in your brand and your business goal.

10. Self-discipline: I know that looking at Facebook can be entertaining, but if you are wasting hours a day on it, you have no self-discipline. Successful entrepreneurs have self-discipline on every aspect of their lives from what they eat, to how they spend their leisure time and with whom. They don't waste time in the office procrastinating and instead utilise every minute of the day to achieve something. Rarely do you see a truly successful entrepreneur who doesn't have self-discipline.

11. Willingness to fail: Only recently did I realise that I was cautious on doing anything in business that could possibly fail. Only when I decided to take a risk and up-heave my entire life and business, (with a firm willingness to accept that failure is not a bad thing - but will only make me a stronger, more experienced entrepreneur) - did I really put myself on the path to reaching successful new heights in business.

12. Strong work ethic: I work long hours and do you know what - that's ok with me. No-one ever died having a strong work ethic but a lot of people have become very successful by having one. Things don't happen by themselves. People don't become successful without hard work.

13.  Strong leadership qualities: Leaders are born, not made. However, by getting a business coach, reading up on traits of successful leaders and speaking to others that you think are strong leaders, you will get handy hints on areas you can improve on. If you think about every single successful person in the world - you will see that they are strong, substantial leaders.

14.  Competitiveness: Successful entrepreneurs are competitive. They want to be the best and they don't want anyone else to be better than them. Simple.

15. Socially-aware: In 2012, even Obama is online. It's important that as a business person you are across what is happening in the world, and how people are now interacting. Whether it is having a LinkedIn account, being on Twitter, writing a blog or Facebook - you need to be socially aware. Social networks is the door to the world.

16. Sacrifice: Man, I have sacrificed a lot. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have sacrificed to be an entrepreneur in the position I am in today. Mainly for me, I have sacrificed my personal life and while I will not say that this is a good thing (it is not), I do know that all successful people have to make sacrifices along the way.

17. Persistence: Never give up dreaming. Never give up - full stop.

18. Sales Ability: Whether you are selling your product or service or perhaps yourself, you have to be able to sell. Hire a sales coach into your business to improve your sales capabilities.

19. See the forest through the trees: Need I say more?

20. Innovators: All successful entrepreneurs innovate. They come up with ideas. They challenge the status quo. They see things that others don't and make change before others realise change needs to occur. They show the rest of their competitors how it is done.

21. Stress: If you think you are going to be successful without having a little bit of stress - think again. You are dreaming! Successful entrepreneurs embrace it and learn to use it to their advantage. They also manage it and ensure that they put their health first.



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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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