A look at the qualities of success

While economic growth in the United States has been slow since 2008, some businesses have done very well in the last few years. Consider the 250 businesses that are finalists in Ernst & Young’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year program. These businesses are expanding, creating jobs and making money.

Last year, Ernst & Young teamed up with the Kaufman Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship, to survey the leadership of the 2012 finalists. How is it that some managers lead their companies to growth at a time when so many other managers hunkered down, just trying to keep their doors open? The research showed that successful entrepreneurs:

Have a unique perspective on risk. A majority of the entrepreneurs indicate they believe entrepreneurs are born, not made. These folks have a passion for identifying unmet needs in the marketplace and then set out to meet them.

Communicate their vision and instill passion in great teams. These companies overwhelmingly cite people as their leading priority. This is in sharp contrast to well-established global companies, many of which have been more interested in implementing efficiency and productivity increases that translate into headcount reductions.

Demonstrate resilience and rapid recovery. While all businesses make bad decisions from time to time, the best entrepreneurs and their teams seem to bounce back from those mistakes with minimal damage, many even learn from their mistakes and emerge stronger.

Embrace innovation. Established companies tend to resist radical innovation that might displace their existing revenue streams in the short term. Successful entrepreneurs know that their agility and propensity for innovation can make them an attractive investment, acquisition or partnership target.

Do what they do best. High-growth entrepreneurs focus on the things they do best and find partners to handle the technology, administration and anything else outside their expertise.

Preserve what they’ve built. Successful entrepreneurs look to preserve those qualities that made them a market leader. Their top concerns: preserving company culture, attracting and maintaining top talent, protecting and enhancing brand/reputation and retaining best customers.

Has your organization been performing at peak during the last few years? If not, think about these qualities. If they don’t describe your company, what would it take to develop these qualities among at your company?

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