The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
Question: What’s one personal quality you think all great startup leaders share?
“Road maps always change on the journey of making a company successful. Great startup leaders are those who know how to handle change well, and come up with new solutions when unexpected roadblocks get in their way. This ability allows the startups with great leaders to keep moving forward while the others perish or start a cycle of mediocrity.”
– Lawrence Watkins | Founder & CEO, Great Black Speakers
“More important than the ability to fly is knowing where to fly. Successful and productive startup leaders are so in-tune with their ultimate vision that they can effectively utilize and allocate their limited resources to generate the greatest return investment. Vision also helps entrepreneurs make important decisions about what opportunities to pursue and which ones to decline.”
– Kent Healy | Founder and CEO, The Uncommon Life
“All great startup leaders know that forging a new path is not simple and there will be adjustments along the way. Without losing faith or getting distracted from the goal, leaders with perseverance can keep their team motivated and moving through setbacks.”
– Kelly Azevedo | Founder, She’s Got Systems
“A great leader sees not only see the potential success of their company, but also the tremendous risk of failure that comes with it. It takes someone with true courage to understand that risk and continue down the path day after day, even if this path to success is difficult, not always obvious, and full of temptations to quit.”
– W. Michael Hsu | Founder & CEO, DeepSky
“No one person can come up with all the right answers. While a founder may have come up with the original idea behind the product, the ideas from customers, employees, and advisors make that product great. Having an open mind and creating settings for collaborative creative thinking can go a long way.”
– Andrew Hoeft | CEO/Founder, Pinpoint Software, Inc.
“Founding a new company is risky business and the bravery is commendable, but you can’t let it get to your head. Early successes are what builds momentum, but they can also jade a leader from what’s best for the business when an ego begins to grow. Set that ego aside, listen to your employees and advisers and make informed and smart decisions to move your startup forward.”
– Benjamin Leis | Founder, Sweat EquiTees
“Great startup leaders are very focused on their goals and accomplishing what they set out to do. Without focus, businesses would be scattered and move everywhere but forward.”
– Angela Pan | Owner/Photographer, Angela B Pan Photography
“As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in the ‘I can do no wrong’ mentality. It’s difficult to accept failure after a long history of success. However, admitting when you are wrong — and solving the problem before it gets worse — is essential to the future of your startup. It takes a lot of strength to admit that you’re wrong, but the results are worth their weight in gold.”
– Justin Beck | Co-Founder and CEO, PerBlue
“Particularly during the early days of a startup, leaders need to be able to effectively pitch something that doesn’t fully exist to multiple audiences such as customers, investors, and existing and potential employees. Leaders have to demonstrate passion and use their powers of persuasion to ensure other people buy into their vision and help bring it to fruition.”
– John Berkowitz | Co-Founder & Vice President of National Sales, Yodle
“I have found that the most successful startup leaders are absolutely arrogant about their talent, their idea, their product and their capabilities. I’ve seen investors invest in arrogant CEOs because they not only have confidence, but they have a commanding personality that says, ‘I’m going to succeed, no matter what, and you’re lucky to be a part of this deal.’”
– Jun Loayza | President, Ecommerce Rules
“Most other qualities and characteristics differ and more often than not, one entrepreneur will swear by something that another entrepreneur swears against. But the one thing every entrepreneur has in common is passion for what they do. Without passion, the business will die.”
– Richard Lorenzen | CEO, Fifth Avenue Brands
“As a startup leader, you can never stop asking the question, ‘Why?’ Curiosity should run through your veins, as you believe there is always a better way to do something. We get into this business to create change, but don’t ever stop being curious.”
– John Meyer | Founder/CEO, Lemon.ly
“Every single one of the most phenomenal entrepreneurs I know are scrappy. I define scrappy as unrelentingly determined no matter what you throw at them. This goes far beyond perseverance, and includes traits of creativity and a general lack of trepidation. It’s the ability to pull off the ‘impossible’ and make it look routine.”
– Seth Kravitz | CEO, Technori
“All startup leaders need to embrace uncertainty, thrive when on the edge, and be willing to fail over and over again until they succeed. They need guts!”
– Alexis Wolfer | Founder/CEO, The Beauty Bean
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