When Steve Jobs founded Apple in 1976, his vision was to make the computer small enough to fit into a pocket. With the advent of the iPhones, the dream is alive and now one of the most valuable startups in the world.
The story remains the same when you study the life of other founders. You discover that there is a similar thread that runs through all of them. A trait so common that without them, they never would have been successful.
In this article, we’re going to disclose these traits, and how they help in your journey as a founder. If you’re lacking in any of these traits, don’t be saddened; you can always learn and improve. After all, learning is the beating heart of every founder.
A successful founder can project his or her idea flawlessly, connecting the dots to the very end without missing the mark. A dream is not a vision – this has led many startups into being another statistical figure of failed startups.
We all have dreams – things we would love to have or accomplish. But vision is taking a step to translate that dream, that magical thinking and fantasy into reality. In this case, a founder is someone who gets real, letting go of the fantasies and fighting to make something tangible.
When things get real, founders can see the challenges ahead – the monsters, zombies, and ogres – the obstacles that every founder must face if their vision must become a reality. As a visionary founder, you see the problems ahead, and you’re ready to tackle them head on.
2. Deep and Narrow Focus
Most successful marketplace founders are passionate about creating new solutions to existing problems. But a common roadblock they often encounter is going against large established authorities. If you go against them, you’re likely to get crushed… never to be heard of for eternity.
But being small and nimble, you can drill down your focus into an aspect the big giants may have overlooked. Even if they are aware of such a niche, they simply can’t deliver due to their size.
By having that deep and narrow focus, you can easily filter out the distractions and delve right into business. Focus entails saying no to things outside the scope of your solutions.
3. Being Resilience
Resilience is, perhaps, the most important trait of successful marketplace founders. It is one of the most important things you carry on this path. Resilience is not giving up when the going gets tough. Resilience is staying positive, optimistic, protecting your team, and overcoming negativity and doubt.
As a founder you have to always lead by example, working smart, hard, and making quick and thoughtful decisions that lead to defined goals. Being resilient is not flip-flopping often, doubting yourself when you can’t find an answer, or using blame to shield yourself.
Neither is resilience, forgetting where you came from, refusing to change, and making use of IQ instead of EQ. When you are resilient, you’re like a cockroach that won’t ever, ever quit. These kinds of founders emit a magnetic aura that draws everyone to them. When they get serious, nothing can stop them.
4. Passion, Patience, and Integrity
Running a marketplace can be both emotionally and physically draining. If you lack passion for what you’re doing, you will find it hard scaling through the storms and waves. Deep passion in your vision is like fuel in a jetpack, and it’s capable of driving you to the next level.
Many times founders have missed a big opportunity because they were not patient enough. When they face tough times, they compromise and follow another road that seems easy. Staying in course is the key, no matter how strong the waves might be.
A typical example is Thomas Edison, who failed one thousand times before discovering the light bulb. It takes inordinate passion and patience to persevere during crises and failures, and it is what makes founders unique.
The single most indispensable trait of successful marketplace founders is the ability to pick up the phone and make a cold call to a potential customer. That’s why it’s important for every founder to be a brilliant salesperson. Without salesmanship, getting your offers out there becomes a hassle.
Salesmanship comes in all variations, and an elevator pitch is one of them. You probably have seen a lot of software startups that failed because of their inability to make a coherent sales call.
These folks are merely developers, not brilliant salespeople, and thus, they failed to sell their products or services.
It calls for having a salesperson or copywriter on your team who can sell anything to anyone because they understand what you’re selling and who they are selling to.
They are there to help sell your idea, better than you will ever do while you focus on other important aspects of business.
Founding a company comes with a thin line of intent, focus, and humility. You have to be focused enough to ignore the naysayers and joy saboteurs, and humble enough to seek counsel and help when you need it. No matter how self-sufficient you think you are, there will always be a time when you will need help from people.
Fast Company Contributor, Jeff Booth, refers to this as the “arrogance-humility circle”. This is when the confidence that scales you through the initial stage of your startup can no longer propel you further.
When your business has amassed some traction, it is important to slow down and reevaluate your assumptions. But how do you know it’s time to get humble?
It’s pretty easy.
When success starts knocking on your door, when the numbers start to rise, and people start telling you that you’re right, that’s the time to get humble, fast. It is during the time of your success that you need to maintain stronger relationships with your investors, mentors, and angels than never before.
7. Team Builder
You can be an Alpha, or perhaps a Sigma. You might be good at a lot of ‘stuff’, but you can never translate your vision to reality alone. You need experts. Not just anyhow experts, but those that know what it takes for your startup to start soaring the sky.
Unless you’re a one-person coffee stand at a busy street corner, you need the right experts to get a lot of things done. That includes various fields like tech people, tax people, personal assistants, and even financial advisors.
To run your team to efficiency, you must be a founder who can make hard decisions about other people. You should not let emotions determine the course of your actions. That is why business with families or close relatives is risky.
If you must be a successful marketplace founders, you must be empathetic and humane, but not to the extent of derailing from your goals. A little insight into human psychology will help you guess how people will respond to your decision and why.
And when your team has done a great job, compliment them, motivate them even further by ensuring their salaries are paid on time, with taxes, insurance, and pensions covered.
That is why companies like Taskrunner, PayHour, Tidyapp, and numerous others use Gigapay to pay their workers. We’d be excited to show you how this works. Go ahead and book a demo.