6 best traits of little-known tech entrepreneurs
Successful business owners are constantly looking for ways to grow their enterprises and achieve success. Advice books from industrial superstars like Richard Branson, Sheryl Sandberg, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Cuban appear on the shelves of offices everywhere. But some of the best habits, shared by less-famous but highly successful entrepreneurs, fly under the radar.
We decided to look at some of the most valuable and under-appreciated habits of successful tech entrepreneurs that you’ve likely never heard of. Based on our observations (and plenty of real-world data!), adopting these six traits has the potential to push your business success to the next level.
1. Build something people want
One of the essential traits of successful tech entrepreneurs is that they strive to build something people want. As an entrepreneur and owner, your goal should be to create something people want to have — something that will make life better for the intended customer.
American entrepreneur and programmer Sam Altman championed this trait through his previous work at startup accelerator Y Combinator. In his Startup Playbook, he encourages business owners to simply look around at the most successful companies of our day:
“They all started with a product that their early users loved so much they told other people about it. If you fail to do this, you will fail. If you deceive yourself and think your users love your product when they don’t, you will still fail.”— Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator
2. Be a one-on-one person
The most successful tech entrepreneurs know how to develop relationships. They spend time connecting and meeting new people to build a solid personal network. They also make it a point to have meaningful conversations with their internal team. These one-on-one interactions can help you understand your product from a different angle and solve problems you might be encountering.
In a weekly podcast, Founders Journey, published by Baremetrics, founder Josh Pigford explained why being a one-on-one person helped him consistently make sure everyone was happy:
“After you’ve done a few 1-on-1’s with the same person, you’ll start picking up common themes that are important to them, small frustrations they may be having and ways they want to grow. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to learn more about them as humans and not just employees.”– Josh Pigford, Founder of Baremetrics
3. Believe in the analytics
One of the most important traits of successful tech entrepreneurs is to honestly believe your analytics. It sounds simple, but many small business owners have a hard time tracking their data and then understanding how it’s affecting their company’s performance. Some entrepreneurs can be in denial about their true audience and potential customers. They come up with personal reasons to disagree with data and continue to run their business based on false assumptions.
Tracking analytics will help you make more informed decisions about your marketing strategy and future efforts, but you must be able to believe it is accurate and trust what you see. Sylvia Kang, FemTech Innovator and CEO at Mira, relies heavily on Google Analytics to check who is buying and where they are coming from:
“Make business decisions that are necessary according to the reality of your website and your audience. Better than that, you can also check who hasn’t bought on your site, what stage of the purchase process these people are giving up on, and more. This allows for a constant improvement of your website, your product, and, consequently, your final profit!”– Sylvia Kang, CEO of Mira
4. Be an early adopter
Successful tech entrepreneurs are always on the cutting edge of new technology. They’ve been early adopters and know how to take advantage of the latest innovations. This trait is especially valuable in software development, where innovation is constant. If you want to succeed in this industry, you need to be willing to consider new technologies as soon as they come out. Being an early adopter can have enormous benefits for your business, as it allows you to get ahead of the competition and get the best opportunities first.
Early adopters are tastemakers and often take pride in being ahead of the game. Likewise, a successful entrepreneur must be willing to spend money on innovation and think ahead of competitors. Sonya Dineva, a Business Psychology Lecturer at the University of East London and former Head of Marketing and Finance for Elprom Energy, says that an entrepreneur’s perception of risk may be more impactful on success than anything else:
“Deciding to incorporate digital tools or infrastructure can be daunting because of the unknown it represents, but shying away from the process can be a far riskier path. By understanding the psychological barriers behind digital decision-making, industry stakeholders can and should encourage technology adoption in small and medium-sized businesses — in doing so, they will strengthen the backbone of the global economy.”
Sonya Dineva, Business Psychology Lecturer at the University of East London
5. Be a master of networking
Networking is a skill that many people overlook because it takes time and patience, which are two things that entrepreneurs may not have in excess. However, networking will give you access to the resources you need to succeed. You can learn about new opportunities and avenues for growth and find mentors and friends who will guide you along the way. Even if you don’t like to socialize with others, it’s worth it to network with other tech entrepreneurs who might be your future clients or partners.
Frank Wazeter is the founder of WazFactor, a web and graphic design agency, believes that mastering the skill of talking is an invaluable trait for success:
“Talking is fairly straightforward. It’s the ability to talk to people one-on-one and communicate your ideas in a way that the other person can understand. By being able to connect, sympathize, empathize, and explain a concept to anyone else, you create strong trust.”Frank Wazeter, Founder of WazFactor
6. Don’t be afraid to pivot
As an entrepreneur, you will need to be prepared for various challenges, and the only way to do that is by being willing to pivot when necessary. This means choosing flexible tools, optimizing processes, and sometimes starting all over again. A famous example of pivoting can be found in Steve Jobs’ journey with Apple. When Jobs first took over, he didn’t see any potential in the machines that Apple was making, so he pivoted and made it his mission to create innovative devices instead.
Austin Cohen, Founder and CEO of personal training platform FlexIt, believes that being ready to pivot helps you stay true to your company mission:
“Staying flexible and staying honest about your values and mission can give you the strength to turn a potentially ruinous circumstance into an opportunity. Necessity isn’t just the mother of invention; it’s the mother of innovation, and the pressure that resulted from the challenges gave us a chance to do more for ourselves and our users.”Austin Cohen, Founder & CEO of Flexit
The journey continues
While these six traits can be found in the leadership at nearly every profitable tech company, many factors help drive success. Being a devoted, life-long learner is our bonus tip because to be successful anywhere in life or business, you must always be ready to learn something new. Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic and co-founder of WordPress, has an excellent list of book recommendations that can help you continue on your journey to success.
Use the comments below to share your insights on other traits you’ve discovered that are crucial for business victory.