7 traits of a successful entrepreneur

Charlie Mullins, millionaire plumber, returns with his top 7 tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur.

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14th July 2009 at 6:51 pm

Do you have what it takes to be successful? Entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Charlie Mullins, managing director of Pimlico Plumbers, reveals the traits that got him to the top.

1. Know Where You’re Going – Set Goals

I was never one for school. I found it just didn’t interest me. So from a young age, somewhere around 8 years old, I immersed myself in work. I began helping out a local plumber and soon found I was hooked. He took pride in doing a good job and was the only person I knew who had a car, and from that moment I decided I wanted one too.

From that point on I have been setting myself goals – and achieving them or getting pretty damn close! If I wanted something, I worked hard for it and I have always known that I didn’t just want success, I wanted to be the best.

I believe having a clear vision for the future and most importantly, never losing sight of it, is a key part of being a successful entrepreneur. That’s not to say goal posts can’t move or change, but as an entrepreneur the key is to always have an objective. And don’t be afraid to challenge yourself – aim high and see where you reach.

2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

If you’re going to succeed you need to play to your strengths, but also be aware of your weaknesses. No matter who you are, you will have weaknesses or areas in which you are less able. The secret is to acknowledge these areas and to work on them, or delegate and use the skills of others. A successful entrepreneur will admit when they have a weakness and take steps to improve or learn, not just when they are starting out, but throughout their career.

3. Spot Every Opportunity

Successful entrepreneurs spot the opportunities – and maximise them. This is really more of an instinct than a skill that can be learnt. It is a mindset of thinking ‘is there an opportunity here?’ ‘how can I use this moment to my own advantage?’ You won’t however spot anything hidden away in an office. You need to get out there – talk to people, network, read, go to events, make calls, see and be seen and you’ll soon find the opportunities. When you spot a gap, weigh it up and make an informed decision on what you could or should do about it. But have the confidence to pursue opportunities. Most entrepreneurs will be risk takers, who haven’t got where they are today without taking a risk.

4. Know Your Business, Your Market and Your Competition

You must know your business inside out to succeed. That includes learning everything you can about your competition, and understanding how your own business measures up against competitors. It also includes knowing exactly where your business stands in the context of the financial goals you have established.

5. Don’t Let Your Finances Get Out of Control

Successful people effectively manage their finances. I have always believed in upholding traditional business values and at Pimlico Plumbers that’s meant I have always strictly refused to ever incur credit debts throughout its 30 year history. Finances can be the downfall of many a business, so you need to know exactly how much money you have, where it is, where it’s going and when it’s coming in. Limit your waste and streamline your business to make it efficient. Restraint is a trait of a successful entrepreneur. For a long time you will no doubt need to plough any and all money you make back in to the business and give up those luxuries, such as holidays, new house or car, until you’re firmly established.

6. Never Settle for Second Best

A successful entrepreneur will want to be the best. They will strive for excellence and professionalism in the service they provide – everything from how they conduct themselves to the standards they set for others. They will also surround themselves with the best. For example, at Pimlico we make sure we get the right people on board and that they stay with us for the long haul. The reason we have such exacting standards for recruitment is that our people are the face of Pimlico and one of the most important things beside qualifications and experience, is whether the customer will feel comfortable with them in their home. Pimlico has built its reputation on positive word of mouth and indeed up to 80% of our trade can be repeat business, as customers will not go anywhere else if you give them the quality they require.

7. Hard Graft

Prepare to graft. Successful people are willing to work long hours, weekends, nights, whatever it takes, because they know it is necessary to move the business forward. This is especially true in the first few years of launching a new business, but has continued for me throughout my business life. You will not be successful if you are afraid of putting in some hard graft.

Above all else, you must feel passionate about what you are doing. It is your self-drive and ambition which will see you become a success or end as just another statistic. And if you’re putting in 60 hour weeks, investing everything you have and own in an idea, then you must be passionate about it. Take satisfaction in the knowledge that you are building a business that is yours, and building a future for you and your family.

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Charlie Mullins

Charlie is the archetypal entrepreneur having started his business from scratch and then building it into a multi-million pound enterprise. He left school with no qualifications, but after a four year apprenticeship had enough plumbing experience to start his business, Pimlico Plumbers, which now generates a turnover in excess of £15m and boasts many well known names among its many clients. http://www.pimlicoplumbers.com

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  1. […] Perhaps they should take some advice from one of London’s best known millionaire plumbers. […]

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