5 skills and abilities that successful entrepreneurs share

Richard Branson looking to the left with his chin rested on his hand
Branson family
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 30 January 2017

No two successful entrepreneurs are the same. In fact, it’s their individuality and different ways of thinking that make them successful. However, having been an entrepreneur for 50 years, and having met so many wonderful leaders, I have come to realise that all successful entrepreneurs share these five distinct skills and abilities.

Richard Branson smiling looking to the left
Image from Virgin StartUp

Takes calculated risks

The luckiest people in business are those that are prepared to take the greatest risks. We can all create our own luck by taking the necessary risks to open the door to change, progression and success.

Learns from failure

Every successful entrepreneur has learned from failure. Nobody gets everything right the first time. Business is like a giant game of chess – you have to learn quickly from your mistakes. Successful entrepreneurs don’t fear failure; they learn from it and move on.

Sees the bigger picture

When we began Virgin, I didn’t see it as an end in itself, a noun; I saw it as the beginning of a whole range of services, an adjective. Successful entrepreneurs take an idea and let it fly. 

A young Richard Branson sitting down on the phone with his notebook with Sam Branson as a child standing on an armchair looking out the window
Image from the Branson family

Delegates wisely

To see the bigger picture, an entrepreneur needs to learn how to delegate effectively. It’s a fairy tale to think that you can do everything by yourself – it’s vital to the success of your business that you learn to hand off those things that you aren’t able to do well.

Communicates effectively

Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said – and in some cases what is not being said. I believe that communication is the most important skill any entrepreneur can possess.