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Traits of Successful eCommerce Leaders

by Ron Kurtus (revised 2 December 2009)

Whether you are an executive in a large e-commerce company or are running a small online business from your house, there are certain traits that can help you succeed in your business. We have listed key traits for success in e-commerce.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Six traits

The six traits of successful leaders of e-commerce or online businesses are that they:

Details of traits

The details of the traits of e-commerce leaders follow.

Seize the moment

eCommerce and online business trends, as well as technologies, change rapidly. What was popular yesterday may be obsolete today.

Thus to be successful, you must have the trait of seizing the moment and acting quickly, often by using the latest models and tools to deliver value. Examples are forming partnerships, starting new enterprises, and recognizing opportunities.

Radiate vision

You need to be enthusiastic and even evangelical about communication your business mission and vision to your employees and customers. Effective communication is important.

If you have employees, you should use TQM methods to empower those employees, such as letting them have a say in company decisions.

(See Improve Your Business with Total Quality Management (TQM) for more information on that subject.)

Have a 80-20 mindset

In order to run an effective business, you need to examine your company data, do more research and understand the risk-to-return ratio. Realize that 80% of the return comes from 20% of the business.

This is especially true if you are seeking e-commerce clients as opposed to simply taking online orders.

Get the right stuff done

If you are serious abut your e-commerce or online business, you need to have a focus, such that you do not get distracted by tasks with little payoff. This is actually an extension of the 80-20 mindset. An example is making a long to-do list and prioritizing activities. You need to focus on what matters.

Improvises organization

You need to build and maintain a fluid organization that is responsive to customer needs and moves by the competition. This is true whether you are an executive of a large business or running a one-person operation.

Is learning obsessed

You should remain constantly in the feedback loop and be improvement obsessed. Examples are learning from peers and employees, studying competing websites and keeping up with the technologies.


A first step in success is to know yourself—your strengths and weaknesses. You can examine this list and see how well you fit in those traits and management philosophies. You could also use the list to apply to prospective employees.

Obviously, this is just a simple analysis of the traits of success in eCommerce leadership. These traits may be something to emulate, but they are no guarantee of success. Also, in hiring others to help run your company, it is very difficult to determine what traits a person has.

At the very least, this list is food for thought.


There are work and personality traits of successful e-commerce leaders. One example is that they seize the moment, radiate vision, have a 80-20 mindset, get the right stuff done, improvise organization, and are learning obsessed. Such lists are food for thought in becoming a leader or hiring one.

Lead by empowering others.

Resources and references

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