Considering starting a small business? Looking for inspiration as your business grows? As we approach National Entrepreneurship Week, there’s no better time than now to take the leap and start a business, or reinvest back into one that was once thriving! Here are some of the latest small business start-up statistics in the U.S.

  • 55% of Americans believe they are able to start their own business.
  • 60% of people who start small businesses are between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • 54% of self-employed entrepreneurs say they make more money now.

Do you fit the mold? Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and from any number of backgrounds. But typically, they have a few traits in common.

Here are the 6 most common traits among successful entrepreneurs.

1. They’re not afraid to commit.

Many entrepreneurs start their own business because of a burning desire to work for themselves. But committing to self employment isn’t for the faint of heart. It often means giving up a full-time job and everything that comes with it — like a steady paycheck, health insurance and other benefits, and a predictable schedule.

So many business owners try to start their business with one foot in and one foot out until they feel their venture is secure enough to take the plunge. Unfortunately, trying to build a business “on the side” more often than not stunts growth and prevents many businesses from getting off the ground.

Still gun shy? Here’s a stat that should give you more confidence in starting your own business.

97% of self-employed professionals say they would never go back to traditional employment.

2. They’re obsessive.

Remember that full time job? Starting your own business is like having two. Suddenly, you’re the CEO, CFO and CES (Chief of Everything under the Sun).

The most successful business owners obsess over their craft. They’re less likely to take evenings and weekends off, because they know their livelihood is at stake, especially if they subscribe to tip #1.

Famous entrepreneurs can’t seem to agree on exactly how many hours you should spend in your first year as a small business owner.

  • Viral sensation Gary Vaynerchuk says 18 hours a day will do.
  • Grant Cardone says a modest 14 hours a day is more reasonable.
  • Christine Baker takes a more flexible approach and says it’s only necessary to work until the job is done, whether that takes 20 hours a week or 70.

Want something more concrete? According to Gallup, nearly 40% of business owners work 60 hours a week.

3. They can answer the question, “Who is your customer?”

And there is a wrong answer.

So, “Who is your target customer?” If your answer is, “Everyone!” you may have some serious struggles ahead of you.

The most successful new businesses do two things well:

  1. They solve a clear problem.
  2. They narrow their focus.

This helps with everything from product and services design to how you market your business (and to whom).

EY’s 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Brad Keywell says,

“Big companies like Amazon are great at delivering value through technology to mass market audiences,” but that’s not where the growth opportunity is for smaller businesses. “It’s the niches they do not deal in that offer real opportunity to entrepreneurs, who can be flexible and move quickly.”

Try to please everyone, and you’ll end up pleasing no one.

4. They make friends with the competition.

OK, maybe not literal friendships. But smart entrepreneurs do a thorough competitive analysis of current and future external threats.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How many businesses near me sell the same or similar stuff?
  • What do my competitors offer that I don’t?
  • What can I offer to add more value than my competitors?
  • Where do my competitors market their businesses?
  • What are my competitors’ price points?

5. They know other entrepreneurs.

Great minds think alike. It’s lonely at the top. Misery loves company.

There are hundreds of sayings and idioms that all point to the same overstated, but still true, fact: If you’re going to do something as risky as starting your own business, do it with support. Build a network of entrepreneur friends you can share ideas with, call for help, or simply vent to when things don’t work out exactly how you hope.

How to meet other business owners:

  • Attend Chamber of Commerce and City Council meetings.
  • Go to local networking events and trade shows.
  • Frequent neighboring local businesses.

6. They stay positive.

According to Psychology Today, optimism and positivity are key personality traits among successful entrepreneurs. Why?

  • Optimism supports creative thinking.
  • Optimism urges people to act.
  • Optimists persist in the wake of challenges.
  • Optimists are more likely to try again after experiencing failure.

So staying positive isn’t just a phrase suited for an embroidered pillow or scripted sign above your bed. It actually makes good business sense, and it can be a valuable contributor to your success.

Want more entrepreneur tips? National Entrepreneurship Week offers webinars with free education for business owners.