Entrepreneurs launching new businesses must recognize and understand their own strong points and limitations to compete in a crowded market. Learning to play to strengths and compensate for weaknesses can go a long way in cultivating the positive attitude and leadership skills necessary for success.

The Right Stuff

To conduct a systematic self-assessment, list the qualities you believe a business owner should possess. While these can vary among individuals, the following are essential:

  • Ability to be a self-starter
  • Strong communication and rapport-building skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Physical and emotional stamina
  • Planning and organizational skills
  • Positive attitudes and drive
  • Sense of humor
  • Flexibility when dealing with change

Take a hard look at these criteria, as well as others you deem important – and give yourself and honest rating. If you find yourself deficient in one or more of these areas, think about hiring an employee or partner who has the skills you lack. Better yet, develop these traits in yourself by working with a business coach or attending classes targeting entrepreneurs.

Forge a Positive Attitude

Most successful business owners are optimists who use their positive attitude to weather the rough spots. This is no easy task, especially with all the planning, funding and other innumerable elements involved in starting a company. To stay upbeat and forward thinking – critical during the preliminary stages of launching a venture – use these motivational tips:

  • Set goals – short and long term. Make sure they are attainable.
  • Develop a manageable plan of action. Visualize daily, weekly and monthly expectations by using a calendar and a planner. This will keep you focused and motivated.
  • Create realistic deadlines. Workable time frames help to hold you accountable and turn intangible ideas into valid goals.
  • Do it now. Procrastination can kill motivation and thwart success. If you find yourself putting off important tasks, identify why. Some experts point out that feeling overwhelmed is a major cause of dawdling and delay. To cope more effectively and promote a sense of accomplishment, break down chores into smaller increments.
  • Accept challenges. Obstacles to success are a fact of life, so expect and prepare for challenges. By doing so, you may be far less tempted to give up when difficulties arise – and you’ll feel more motivated when you get past them.
  • Enjoy what you do. Make work fun. Being too uptight can dampen enthusiasm and imagination. Serious business will get accomplished with less stress if you have a good sense of humor, too.
  • Get help to stay positive. Reinforce an optimistic attitude by reading, associating with positive people and keeping tabs on your own spiritual energy. Network with other business owners to re-energize ideas and goals.
  • Staff your company with positive people. Very few business owners can build a company without help. Your employees should share your passion, so clearly define your vision for those you look to hire. Ask questions that draw out the interviewee’s motivations, attitude and ethics.

Leadership Motivates

Dynamic business leaders share common traits and characteristics that ignite their visions and engage their followers. Refer to the following checklist to guide you in your own leadership development program. 

A strong leader:

  • Leads employees by example
  • Communicates openly with staff
  • Remains objective in all business matters
  • Empowers staff to make decisions
  • Encourages accountability
  • Listens actively
  • Shares the credit for a job well-done
  • Rewards employees for outstanding performance
  • Displays sincerity, integrity, and candor in all actions
  • Bases actions on reason and moral principles
  • Helps employees set and achieve goals
  • Inspires others to do their best
  • Shows respect for personnel when dealing with performance issues
  • Admits mistakes and corrects them
  • Stays abreast of developments in the field
  • Seeks new challenges
  • Strives for diversity
  • Perseveres to accomplish goals, despite obstacles
  • Shows sound judgment
  • Demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to try new things

To keep these concepts fresh, make it a weekly – or daily – routine to revisit this information and to use it as another self-assessment tool.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC