What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common?

What Do Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common?

What makes certain entrepreneurs succeed? There’s no magic formula for the success of entrepreneurs, but there are certain things that they all have in common. A few studies done on successful entrepreneurs show key characteristics of small business owners who flourish. Here are some things that thriving business owners do right and some things they can do better.

What successful entrepreneurs do right

1. They start strong

Around 84% of respondents to a poll by Kabbage of 500 successful entrepreneurs claim their businesses became profitable in the first four years. While over two-thirds made a profit in the very first year. In contrast, only 8% reached profitability after the fifth year.

Lesson learned: Focus on getting into the black as soon as you can.

2. They always seek new customers

The number one business challenge reported by entrepreneurs in the survey is obtaining new customers. It is much more important than cash flow management or doing better than the competition.

Lesson learned: Don’t sit still. Constantly work on generating new leads and closing new sales.

3. They invest in their businesses

If you had extra cash, what would you do? In a different study done by Kabbage found that 40% of entrepreneurs said they would invest it back into their business. And 47% said they have used their personal funds to finance their business at one point or another.

Lesson learned: Successful small business owners put their business above everything else.

4. They work hard

If someone tries to tell you that all small business owners are slackers, here is some proof that they are wrong: Around 86% of entrepreneurs claim they work on the weekends. 23% say they take less than two vacation days per year, and those who go on vacation, 75% of them work while on vacation.

What successful entrepreneurs could improve on

1. They could invest more in marketing their businesses

It probably makes sense that because of their big passion for gaining new customers, according to the survey, small business owners say that marketing strategies are their top priority. However, most of them aren’t putting their wallets to their wishes. Most survey respondents admit they spend way less on marketing than they do on rent, payroll, and purchasing equipment.

Sure when it comes to choosing between marketing and meeting payroll, the choice is obvious. But that doesn’t mean that marketing doesn’t deserve more attention, time and resources. And most entrepreneurs regret not investing more in marketing.

Here is a breakdown that shows what the respondents spend on marketing and what they now wished they spent.

  • Year 1: Marketing was 7% of the budget; they wish it had been 28%
  • Years 2-4: Marketing was 13% of the budget; they wish it had been 25%
  • Years 5-9: Marketing was 7% of the budget; they wish it had been 16%
  • Years 10-19: Marketing was 5% of the budget; they wish it had been 23%
  • Years 20+: Marketing was 11% of the budget; they wish it had been 23%

More than half of the businesses surveyed have $1 million or more in revenues. Can you imagine where they would be today had they invested more in marketing?

2. They could plan to seek financing

Although the surveyed business owners claim to reinvest back in their business, a lot of them don’t choose to finance as an option. Majority of the surveyed entrepreneurs said they required working capital to expand at a certain point. More specifically:

  • 38% of companies borrowed capital during their first year
  • 29% of companies borrowed capital in years 2-4
  • 17% of companies borrowed capital in years 5-9
  • 14% of companies borrowed capital in years 10-20+

If you think you can support your business growth needs from cash flow alone, you will be disappointed. You should instead be prepared to look for financing from outside sources if you will need it. Even though in the end you might not need to tap into investors or lenders, it’s always best to be prepared.

Similar Articles

business curve

With graduate-entry level positions becoming increasingly competitive, more graduates than ever are considering setting up a business of their own and going down the self-employed route. But how do you get started? How do you source funding and mentorship? Here we will look at how graduates can turn their great ideas and skills into a fully-fledged profitable business.


An event that is successful requires a lot of planning and brilliant execution. Perhaps, you are organizing an event to position your business brand in the minds of most people who will attend the party. It has to be vibrant and leave a lasting impression with every member present.

10 Things CRM Can Perform For Your Business Growth

If you know what CRM is, you must have also heard that implementing an easy to use CRM application for your business has a high ROI (Return On Investment).

8 Reasons Why You Must Need a Mobile App for Your Business

It is evident now that the firms are becoming more and more aware of the advantages of mobile applications for their businesses. As a matter of the fact, the mobile app usage has surpassed the desktop usage in the past few years. So, it has become necessary to embrace a mobile strategy according to the market requirements.


Starting a business can be a daunting process at any age, but with youth can come an unfounded bravado that can come in very useful as an entrepreneur. Although with age often comes more experience and resources, young entrepreneurs will tend to find they have less to lose and more to gain

Building Awareness as an Entrepreneur

Building your reputation as an SME is a difficult hill to climb. As you are essentially coming from nothing, you need to work a lot harder than more established brands to get your product or service well known within your target audience


Have you ever needed a bit of extra cash? Going to a local payday lender is the last thing you want to do. Although you can access funds conveniently through a payday loan, they come with high fees. Fortunately, there are several ways you can make money in less than 24 hours

A Guide to Successfully Scaling Your Business

When starting a business most people like to dream big. However, once you have overcome the hurdles of starting a business and escaped the initial risks that come with start-ups, it can be a daunting thought to put everything you’ve worked so hard for in jeopardy by attempting to scale your business significantly.

E-learning for Organizations

The process of learning is often found aimless in this millennial generation. In fact, we have almost forgotten the advantages of focused learning. Corporate e-learning is a concept that aims to educate and prepare the employees to enhance the potential and growth of the organization they serve.