by Randy H. Nelson |
Why do some businesses go belly up while others prosper? Often, it all comes down to the qualifications of the person who started the business. Anyone can start a business, because no real qualifications are required to do that. But not everyone is qualified to run a business once it's off the ground.

Through my career as a Navy submarine officer and my professional experience of starting and building numerous successful businesses, I've identified five essential traits that every entrepreneur and manager needs to improve the odds of business success:


1. Discipline
It's important to be disciplined to help move your organization forward and to produce good leadership decisions within a managerial team. Disciplined managers know when they don't know something. This self-knowledge makes it clear how the manager's shortcomings may be affecting his or her company, and so helps them make better decisions for the long run. These professionals also understand that, for the business to succeed in the long term, a transition must occur from the business being about "me" as the manager, to being about the overall needs of the company.


2. Leadership
To help a business succeed, it's important to understand that leadership within a company entails knowing your responsibilities and role, and knowing when to share or even delegate responsibility.


3. Self-Awareness
In some cases, the person who created the company may not be CEO material and needs to understand that and find someone else to fill that role. You have to take into consideration your own needs and desires and the needs and desires of the company. It's about the self-awareness journey through which you evaluate your skills and interests in each key aspect of managing a growth company.


4. Understanding of Issues and Challenges 
Within any the company's life cycle, numerous issues and challenges may arise. To lead a successful business, a manager needs to understand and acknowledge that four issues in particular may pose a challenge to his or her efforts to build a successful organization. Those issues are: insistence on autonomy; unwillingness to build structure, cultivate expertise, or delegate; boredom; and failure to engage in self-examination.


5. Self-Assessment 
It's a bit ironic that managers who are good at holding others accountable for their performances don't take time to gauge how well they are doing themselves. It's important for the success of your business that you be able to do self-performance reviews.


Randy H. Nelson is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Second Decision: The Qualified Entrepreneur. He is also a speaker, coach, former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, and an entrepreneur. He co-founded and later sold two market-leading, multimillion-dollar companies: Orion International and NSTAR Global Services.