By J’Nel Wright

When Orange County Business Journal celebrated their 20th Annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship nominees on May 6, 2021, Amy Osmond Cook, founder and CEO of Osmond Marketing, was among them. 

Almost 780,000 new businesses launched in 2019, adding to the 582 million entrepreneurs currently operating throughout the world. According to experts, more than three out of every four small businesses are turning a profit. Those numbers are encouraging, but it doesn’t make entrepreneurial success easy when it comes to starting a new business. 

Every entrepreneurial journey has challenges, and those who launched and maintained a business during an uncertain economic climate are incredibly tenacious. For example, Amy launched Osmond Marketing amid the 2009 real estate and market crash. 

Twelve years later, honored with five MWCN Utah 100 rankings in a row, an HR Professional of the Year award for the COO, a batch of Women in Business awards, a handful of strategic partnerships, and numerous local and national accolades, Amy’s entrepreneurial endeavor paid off—literally. 

Successful entrepreneurs have at least five distinct traits that make them incredibly great at what they do. These traits can also help employees improve their leadership skills for any situation in a business setting. Whether it’s learning how to measure an urgent matter versus a full-blown crisis or perfecting ways to empower other team members to strengthen their decision-making power, these five traits lay the groundwork for innovative, productive, and game-changing strategies for any startup business. 

Flexibility and Adaptability

As our homes quickly turned to ground zero for work and school during the pandemic, the business world faced work-from-home business models and flexible work schedules, whether they were prepared or not. Many businesses that have been centered on the office for decades have now managed remote working, as employees join Zoom calls as the only way to connect with their teams and clients,” says Hanna VanKuiken, business director of Rapp MENA.

Those businesses that responded quickly to the change illustrate how essential flexibility and adaptability are to business success. “Today, the role of leadership is more concentrated,” say writers at Boston Consulting Group. “Leaders must quickly learn how to manage workforces that are fragmented across locations and time zones. Instead of focusing on supervising and overseeing, leaders must set objectives, modularize work, and enable teams.”

Time Management

Time management is an important trait, but not just managing their time, but knowing ways to optimize it by utilizing other people’s skills. That’s because entrepreneurs have to own every part of their business. “An entrepreneur must understand which tasks should come first, how much time to allocate to each task, and how and what to delegate to others in the business to move it forward efficiently,” explains Serenity Gibbons at Forbes.com. 

Influential entrepreneurs know how to prioritize tasks and delegate when possible to optimize the company’s time and resources. 

Clear Communication

During times of crisis—particularly when dealing with the effects of the pandemic on small businesses—using clear, concise, and calm communication helps leaders share information across departments effectively and quickly.

“The number one thing great communicators have in common is that they possess a heightened sense of situational and contextual awareness,” explains Sonia McDonald, CEO and founder LeadershipHQ. “The message is not about the messenger; it has nothing to do with messenger; it is however 100% about meeting the needs and the expectations of those you’re communicating with.”

Crisis Navigation

What may seem like a full-blown crisis to some may likely be a typical Wednesday for a seasoned entrepreneur. “What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them to look ahead,” said Gemma D’Auria and Aaron De Smet of McKinsey & Company

Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with talented people whose skills offer a balance for their own. This is especially strategic during times of urgency when leadership must initiate collaboration, share information, distribute authority, and foster transparency among teams to feel safe and better able to process the situation.  

Collaborative Delegation

Entrepreneurs are master delegators; they also encourage leadership within teams in collaborative delegative settings, which makes a big difference in maintaining team productivity and morale. “When a strong collaborative team has been built, the supervisor can delegate not only the task itself but the support for the task,” says Marie Jones, EdD. “It is important to communicate the level of authority the person has over the final decision and to set aside your own ego when you fully delegate. If you delegate authority, don’t second-guess them after the fact. Second-guessing will erode any trust they have in you.”

Despite an uncertain business climate, this year’s Orange County Business Journal 20th Annual Excellence in Entrepreneurship nominees remind us that the entrepreneurial spirit remains more vital than ever by reinforcing the importance of flexibility, time management, communication, delegation, and transparency. Whether or not a shot at entrepreneurship is in your plans, you can still transform your workplace with these five skills.