By Young Entrepreneur Council

Starting a business and leading it to success takes a lot of work, with long hours, seemingly insurmountable obstacles and great sacrifice. Hard work aside, accomplished business owners also share a series of special skills and behaviors that make them suitable for the challenges of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

A recent Harvard Business School study of the skills and behaviors that can determine an entrepreneur’s success identified several factors that make all the difference. These include the ability to identify opportunities and being comfortable with uncertainty, along with good financial management skills, the ability to build networks and having vision and influence.

So how do you know if you have what it takes to run a winning business? Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council list several crucial things an entrepreneur should do to ensure success when facing the challenges of today’s business world.

1. Turning Challenges Into Opportunities
Many business operators complain about the ever-growing complexities of business. I acknowledge that, but I would also like to add that those represent opportunities and signal shifts in the competitive landscape. Social responsibility, online presence and customer-centered focus are becoming a more important consideration for business. – Lonnie McQuirter, 36 Lyn Refuel Station

2. Adapting
As Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution posits, it is not the strongest, nor the most intelligent of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. Today, information and technology move at a very fast speed. It’s OK to be wrong and make mistakes, but be wrong fast and adapt to changes. – Aliaksandr Matseikovich, Excel Impact, LLC

3. Taking Action
Stop talking about what you’re going to do, and do it. Ideas are a great start, but action is the key ingredient. And action requires persistence, conviction, passion, and unwavering mental strength — areas where many entrepreneurs naturally falter. Show your success, don’t tell. – Sam Miller, Boston Biomotion Inc.

4. Niching Down
Niching down is the most crucial step in finding success in today’s internet-connected world. Your business is no longer confined to your local market, your market is now over 7.5 billion people. The more specific the service or product you provide to your audience, the more premium of a price you can charge, and the easier it will be to become the go-to expert in your niche. – Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

5. Testing Different Options
Always be testing assumptions. Your customers and their preferences may not be what you think they are. Coming from a brand background, I focused on making our product attractive, clean, and different. I A/B tested, but always variants within that criteria. Then, one day, we changed our icon to look like everyone else’s, and a little uglier. Doing that increased our downloads tenfold. – Pokin Yeung, Absolute Games

6. Avoiding Stagnation
To succeed in the modern business world, entrepreneurs must maintain their curiosity and propensity for action. Stagnation, or just doing things the way they’ve always been done, is a threat that seems largely ignored by far too many enterprises. The world is changing rapidly, and it seems most companies in established industries outside of tech are missing out on a lot of opportunities to change. – Michael Robinson, Armor Safe Technologies

7. Bringing in Overseas Talent
Utilize talent from around the world via online resources and you will be surprised how many freelancers with amazing talents at affordable rates you can find. Also make sure to bring a unique and personal approach to solving issues, motivating your employees, and to marketing online. Do you really think sending “40 percent off” emails every other day is the most effective newsletter marketing method? – Shu Saito,

8. Thinking Laterally
Entrepreneurs today need to use lateral thinking in order to grow faster than regular brick-and-mortar businesses, and to think outside the box. In order to achieve that, they need to combine the tools, routines and tactics of the top performers to gain efficiency and automate as much as possible. This will enable them to achieve clarity and work on their business rather than for it. – Arthur Menard, SPARTAN