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The #1 Characteristic of Successful Small Business Owners

Posted by Paul Spiegelman on November 12, 2013

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Given the task to become a frequent contributor to our agency blog, I was faced with the question of what to write about. My entrepreneurial spirit buzzing, I decided to explore the characteristics and personality traits of a small business owner.

Some of us are better speakers. Some are better writers. I’m the former. Leaning on the research strategy of Google, a quick search for “number one characteristics of a small business owner” provided me with many differing lists of the many traits a small business owner should possess before jumping off the cliff and starting their own business. I was curious to see if what I considered to be my number one trait made the cut.

Here’s a (not comprehensive) list of the traits one must possess for optimum results as a small business owner:

  • Desire for strong independence
  • Strong sense of initiative
  • React quickly to change
  • Dedicated to their businesses
  • Persevere through tough times
  • Sound judgment
  • High level of energy
  • Specialized business experience
  • Abounding Curiosity
  • Bursting with Creativity
  • Clarity of Vision
  • Ability to Communicate
  • Leadership Acumen
  • Risk Taker
  • Tenacity
  • Integrity
  • Balance

I’m in good shape so far – no one has mentioned my number one characteristic. Or could this be a bad thing? I took my Google research one step further by adding the term “successful” to my search query. This brought up a new set of characteristics and lists.

Through the myriad lists that I reviewed, I could not find my number one characteristic: Trust.

Trust in yourself. Trust that you’ll show up everyday—with all of the requisite “business owner” characteristics—and know that while you have no control over other peoples’ responses and actions, you can control your own.

Trust that, at the end of each day, you did your best and the rest is out of your control. Trust those around you—unless they prove you otherwise.

When you wake up at 3:00 a.m. in a cold sweat, say to yourself “There’s nothing I can do about it right now. I’ll just choose to trust that it will work out.”

Trust is the foundation that supports all of the other qualities, smarts, acumen and personality that you must have to be a successful business owner. Without it, the evil nemesis of Trust will show up to tear it all down: Fear.

About Paul Spiegelman

Paul is the Founder of the Small Giants Community, and serves as the Chief Culture Officer of Stericycle. Paul has written several books about company culture based on practices at his former company, Beryl Health - including Why is Everyone Smiling? and The Smile Guide.

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The Small Giants Community is a global membership organization focused on the promotion, implementation and advancement of running a successful values-driven business.