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- For all the different types of businesses that exist, there are certain characteristics that leaders have in common.
- Rick Bisio, a franchise coach and author of The Educated Franchisee, told Business Insider that confidence is the most important trait.
- In addition, Bisio says passion for a particular product or service is overrated, and that it’s more important to have a passion for leadership.
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For the past quarter century, Rick Bisio has had a front row seat to American entrepreneurship, first as a business owner himself, then as a coach for hundreds of franchisees.
In the course of his career, Bisio has seen successes and failures, so Business Insider asked him to share what the best business leaders do right.
Here are seven common characteristics from the author of The Educated Franchisee.
They believe in themselves
The number one trait is confidence, Bisio says. Without that, most folks don’t make it very far.
“They would rather vote on themselves than vote on somebody else,” he said. They generally believe in themselves, they look in the mirror and they like who they see.”
They have long-term goals
Nobody can predict the future, but it helps to have a strong sense of direction about where you’re trying to go.
“They have kind of a long term goal that they’re setting up,” Bisio said. “They have a certain amount of clarity in regard to their vision. “
They have a sense of urgency
Money certainly matters in business, but there’s one thing that you can’t buy at any price: time.
“The most precious resource we have is time,” Bisio said.
People who are vague or lackadaisical about timing tend to miss opportunities, he added.
Successful people, however, “tend to have a certain amount of urgency. They feel time passing, and they’re ready to kind of grab on to it.”
They embrace learning opportunities
While the Silicon Valley motto “fail fast” is probably bad advice, successful business leaders understand that non-catastrophic failures aren’t the end of the road.
“Every day in your life, things won’t go your way,” Bisio said. “If you embrace that, there’s a learning opportunity.”
Of course, an important element here is reflection. Some analysis is necessary to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade.
They avoid perfectionism
Some occupations, like civil engineers, offer no room for error, but business owners can’t afford to control every detail of their operation and still see it thrive.
“Most business owners are looking for a vehicle that will get them down the road. It doesn’t have to be perfect because they know they can steer,” Bisio said. “They’re not looking for perfect. In most cases, they’re looking for good enough.”
They read for breadth more than depth
Curiosity is essential for entrepreneurial success, and Bisio says the best leaders read a lot about a wide variety of subjects.
“In corporate America, sometimes we gain very deep knowledge in very narrow topics,” he said. “In some ways, that’s the way we protect ourselves in a corporation by being indispensable with our knowledge.”
But when you’re the owner, it becomes much more important to have a broad understanding of the diverse topics you could find yourself encountering at any moment.
After all, it’s very hard to learn everything about a narrow topic and still have the strategic perspective to lead. Besides, Bisio said, “if they need siloed knowledge, they hire it.”
They’re passionate about being a leader
Bisio said the advice to “do what you love” is “one of the most dangerous pieces of advice that people receive.”
You may love food, but if you own the restaurant, you won’t be eating it for long.
What’s more important than passion for a particular product or service, Bisio says, is a passion for leadership.
“You need to be passionate about being a business owner,” he said. “If your real passion is to not be an employee, but to be a business owner — to build something of value for you, for your family, to be your own person, to control your time, to control your income — if that’s your passion, then the next question is, what’s the best road for you to achieve that.”