Innate traits of successful entrepreneurs

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about what makes a good entrepreneur.  In the startup community, I don’t think we spend enough time on the small details.  I’m a firm believer that if we focus on the little things, everything else becomes easier.  Yet, in the startup universe, it seems that we ignore or bypass the little details that make entrepreneurs successful.  A lot of this stems from a belief that there are certain innate traits that successful entrepreneurs possess -either you have them or you don’t.  Just like anything else, I think these skills can be taught.  Yet, no one seems to highlight the small details that can have an out-sized impact on our success.


My favorite small detail is follow up.  Have a meeting with someone? Before you leave, debrief on next steps.  When you go back to your office (or by the end of the day), fire off a short email with next steps.  Meet someone new and get their contact information? Shoot them an email to solidify the contact.  Even if you can’t clearly see any future contact with this person, it’s always a smart idea to close the loop.  That person you think you’ll never talk to again suddenly becomes the person with that one skill that you absolutely need.


Follow up can become a habit, but it can be time consuming and the more you put it off, the harder it becomes to make a habit.  Whenever I have a meeting, I hold myself to a firm deadline of responding within 24 hours (maybe 36 if it’s a weekend).  A follow up email should be short and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to write and send off.  Make it a habit and reap the rewards.



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