5 Key Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs
I thought about what makes a successful founder while working with the Microsoft Accelerator at ILDC (Israel Development Center) companies. If you are looking to apply for this program, take a look at these traits and see if you have what it takes
The more I thought about it, the more “schizophrenia” seemed to be a prerequisite. Here’s my short list of the dichotomy traits of great founders
- Persistence and friendliness. Successful founders follow up. The RotaryView founders followed up every draft and every piece of work they needed. At AppsFlyer, when there was an absolutely urgent project I found myself standing at the central train station going through a presentation word-by-word over the phone. The founder needed the work reviewed, and it didn’t interest him that I had no time and no internet connection. But they weren’t pushy. All of the founders I worked with were so nice, you couldn’t possibly get annoyed when they were breathing down your neck.
- Attention to detail but focus on essentials. As I was sitting with two of the founders of Modubiz, perfecting the punctuation on their investor presentation for the umpteenth time, one of the founders started to catch the mistakes himself. The other one said “Don’t tell me you’re infected, too?” On the one hand, these guys were obsessed with getting their presentation perfect before putting it in front of English-speaking investors. On the other hand, they knew that capitalization wasn’t going to make or break their startup.
- Amazing Personal Relationships. Stevie is one of the perfect examples of a company where you just feel energy whenever the founders are around. They didn’t need my services while in the accelerator, but I kept wishing they would notice me, because they were having so much fun over there.
- Openness and Clarity of Vision. Either Microsoft intentionally selected for this trait, or there has been a cultural shift, or both. The founders we worked with were open to constructive criticism. At the same time, they had clarity of vision. Medisafe is a perfect example. While they stuck to the original vision of making it easy for people to take medication on time, they were able to see the value of the data for research purposes, and look at the market for that data.
- Power in getting “yes” with the ability to hear “no”. Successful people don’t do it alone, and that means you are always asking other people to do things. Whether you pay people or not, it takes a certain comfort level to just keep asking people to do things. People say no. A lot. People say yes and then flake out. The successful founders ask for what they need. The Microsoft Accelerator got better over time, because whenever there was a service they didn’t already offer free, the founders let them know what services would be a great addition. This next class is in for a real treat.
I’ve already started working with one founder from the next class, but since it hasn’t been announced yet, I can’t tell you who it is. The next class is coming up in December. If you are considering applying for the accelerator, HURRY! Check out their page here and send in your application now.