The Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Entrepreneurs

what successful entrepreneurs have in common

We can all learn from studying successful business people. How do some individuals seem to have the knack of succeeding? Are they lucky, or do they have certain skills or traits that help them to achieve?

Paul Bassi CBE, a successful business owner himself, looks at what successful entrepreneurs have in common.

Budding entrepreneurs often ask me how I became successful, and what they can do to grow their business quickly.

We are so often told how achievement should look that people think there is only one way to get ahead, and one type of life that means you have succeeded. This certainly is not true, as we each define what success means to us.

Successful Entrepreneurs Do…

1. Know what they want

Ability is fantastic, and can help take you far, but it is nothing without the drive to succeed. When people ask what they need to do to get ahead, the answer is frustratingly simple: you need to want it, and keep wanting it.

I am a firm believer in the importance of having a ‘big picture’, a vision of what success looks like to you. Once you have this, you’re on your way, providing you with motivation to push forward through the difficult beginnings of business.

Keep your vision in your mind as you build your business, always driving on towards it, with markers on your journey so you can see how far you’ve come and stay motivated to succeed.

I recommend writing down your ‘big picture’ and coming back to if often, updating and expanding it as you progress, and using it to see how well you are doing.

Once you know what you want, and what the path towards it looks like, you will have faith in your ability to achieve it.

2. Focus on solutions and principles, not problems and details

Successful entrepreneurs have in commonThe successful people I have met during my thirty plus years of property investment have been experts in their field, knowing how their industry works and what makes their company thrive.

They do not, however, feel the need to be aware and on top of every small detail and problem happening within their business.

While it is key to understand the major workings of your business, you cannot simultaneously manage every action in your team and keep the big picture for your company in your mind.

Great entrepreneurs trust in their employees, allowing them to keep an eye on the business while also looking ahead at where you are steering it.

Recruit smartly and you will have an efficient team that allows you to focus on solutions and the future. Which leads me to…

3. Keep the right company

No person’s success is down to them alone, as tempting as it may be to think so. We are social animals, and who we connect with helps define us and our success. This applies to those you work with first and foremost; make sure your team is made of those who want your business to succeed,

I always encourage those starting their own businesses to network both inside your industry and beyond, identifying those who can advise and grow with you.

The key to surrounding yourself with the best people is not just about spotting the good contacts and support, it is also about being able to recognise those who are not going to help you succeed. The people who achieve their dreams are not impressed by time-wasters, or those who talk a big game.

Match your positivity about opportunities with a level of cynicism when you meet those who promise the earth, and you’ll be able to grow a network of supportive and successful people who will help your business go far.

Successful Entrepreneurs Don’t…

1. Fear change

Change can sometimes be intimidating, but it is always inevitable. Nothing stays the same forever in business or life, and successful people see this and harness it. Whether there are shifts in your industry, new markets and audiences opening up, changes to process, each new thing in your business can be an opportunity.

If processes are forced to change, be positive and see this as a chance to streamline how you work and review the way that things are done. Changing client bases allow you to evaluate where your most important customers are, and where potential new markets lie.

By staying open and optimistic, changes can provide new ways in which your business can grow, rather than slow you down on the path to success.

2. Believe in obstacles

The mark of success is not found when things are going smoothly; it is most pronounced when there are obstacles to your progress. In my career I have found that positivity is key to keeping on track when the going gets tough.

Obstacles can make things seem impossible, but those who believe in what they are doing view these as challenges, opportunities to learn more and grow stronger. Once you ignore the concept of limitations, of glass ceilings holding you back, you can take on these hurdles with more confidence, sure that you can bound over them.

3. Compare themselves to others

As I mentioned, I do not believe that there is one form of success; we define for ourselves what would make us successful. For some it is money, but for most it is something else; security, stability, property or satisfaction.

Not only do the most successful people I know not focus on the money as the goal, they do not compare their achievements to others.

Your journey and your success are particular to you, and cannot be compared to those of anybody else. I encourage you to watch, admire and learn from others, helping you to see how things could be done, but never judge your own progress based on others.


The path you take to succeed depends on your business, your competition and the circumstances surrounding your industry. But whether you are fundamentally able to get ahead is fully within your control, and depends on you and your outlook.

Remember that your drive and your vision will be the things to help you achieve your dreams, supported by the network of colleagues, mentors and friends you build.

Do not fear change or obstacles; instead see challenges as new opportunities to learn and to grow, ignoring what others may be doing or saying. Once you have this mindsight, flexible, optimistic and focused, there is nowhere for your business to go but up.

About the author

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Paul Bassi CBE, CEO of REI Plc, co-founder of the Bond Wolfe Charitable Trust and author of new book Brick by Brick: Success in Business and Life. All of Paul’s profits from Brick by Brick will be donated to Bond Wolfe Charitable Trust.

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