Everyone has advice to give.

But not everyone has advice worth listening to.

Opportunity comes by creating it. The most successful of CEOs, entrepreneurs, and average people will tell you that.

Success comes from a unique combination of knowing where you’ve come from, where you want to go, your goals, knowledge, commitment, personality, etc. That combination has allowed me to successfully invest in a great number of industries. There are no shortcuts to anything in life. And if you think there are, you’re in for some very tough life-lessons. Life isn’t about possessions or money. It’s about people. It’s about working hard because nothing worth having will be handed to you.

Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess and learn to emphasize.

No. 1 - Have Credibility

Once you lose the trust of your audience, it’s gone. It’s tough to gain it back. Know your business inside and out. The last thing you want is to get caught with your pants down when you can’t answer a simple question about your own business. And always be ethical in your business approach and in the way you conduct business.

No. 2 - Accept that Failure is a Necessity

Success isn’t a guarantee. Not all rock stars were born with the voice of Robert Plant. Not all of us can perform brain surgery or be a rocket scientist. The truth is, we may not succeed right out the gate, or at all for that matter.
成功不是必然的。不是所有的摇滚明星天生就具有Robert Plant的好嗓音。并非所有人都能做脑部手术或成为一位火箭专家。真相是,我们可能刚开始就面临失败,甚至完全失败。

As discouraging as that may sound, we must accept failure as a necessity. It’s okay to fail. But it’s not okay to give up on what you hope to achieve. According to Bloomberg, eight out of every 10 entrepreneurs will fail in the first 18 months of whatever endeavor they set out to take on.

No. 3 - Remember that People are Most Important

If you’re difficult to work with, you’ll be thought of as someone to avoid like the plague. No one wants to work with a person like that - and trust me, I’ve dealt with plenty of those people.

Treat people as you would like to be treated. When it comes to business, it’s not about making money. It’s about treating people right and always doing what’s right. It’s about the compassion you have for others and your willingness to be there and put their feelings first. Respect your team, your public, your investors, and the people that make your business possible. Profits will follow as long as you take care of others.

That’s why I have an open door policy. Transparency above all else is essential if you want to be a success.

No. 4 - Protect your Standing

Failure to protect yourself, your name, your standing in society can hurt you for years after the fact. Your reputation is your most important asset. The moment it’s tarnished you stand to lose everything - customers, sales, partners, and eventually your business.

Always be proactive and aware of what is and has been said about you in the press. Failure to do so, failure to counter what has been reported, could cost you customer trust.

Trust and the loyalty that comes with it is one of the most essential parts of business. Keeping your promises, under-committing and over-delivering, communicating often, and looking beyond initial targets is a winning formula for a successful outcome. If you really want to impress someone and gain trust, make promises you can keep.

No. 5 - Know how to Manage Growth

By all means, grow and expand, but make sure you can adequately manage all facets of your business and be cognizant of what’s impacting the bottom line.

If you find that your business expenses are outweighing revenue, there’s a problem. If you find that you - or your employees - are unhappy and overworked, it may be a sign of not keeping up with growth.

Never believe that sales growth is the most important rule. Never lose touch with your customers.

No. 6 - Surround yourself with Success

The sooner you come to the realization that you’re ‘not perfect’ the sooner you will have ‘success’ knocking at your door. As we grow professionally and personally, we need to reach out to others for help. I do it all the time with a great team (I hope I tell them that often enough because they truly are).

If it weren’t for my family, the marketing team, sales staff, accountants, legal counsel, IT support, or just an old friend that tells me some of my decisions are off base without the fear of retribution, I, and many of us for that matter, wouldn’t be successful.

The best quality a great leader can have is realizing he or she can’t take on the world without some additional help. Unless you surround yourself with others that make up for any shortfalls you may have, you begin to limit your capabilities as an effective leader.

These are just some of the qualities I think make up a great leader. The good news is that all of these characteristics can be learned if you take the time to practice and be self-aware of what you’re trying to accomplish and how best to go about it.