Success is a relatively easy concept to measure, yet it is remarkably difficult to define. Have you ever wondered what factors contribute to the stellar achievement of virtually all of the most famous entrepreneurs in the business world today?

Let’s examine the lives of five entrepreneurs to get a better sense of the qualities that made them stand out.

Mary Kay Ash

Famous Entrepreneurs: Mary Kay Ash Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, was faced with the challenging task of growing a business long before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. Her company rose to the top because she persevered in spite of all the obstacles confronting her. Through it all, she promoted the principle of “praising people to success,” believing that the best way to prosper was to treat her employees well.

Oprah Winfrey

Famous Entrepreneurs: Oprah Winfrey Another icon of female attainment, Oprah Winfrey is also famous for her generosity and empathy for the welfare of not only those who work for her, but the audiences that came to watch her television show.In addition, Oprah embodies another characteristic that seems to be essential in the makeup of these mega-entrepreneurs: she thought and behaved like a millionaire long before she started earning substantial amounts of money. In fact, Oprah’s early life was very difficult, both financially and socially. Yet, she did not let these very real impediments keep her down. Today, she is committed to relieving poverty and discrimination for women all over the world.

Mark Zuckerberg

Famous Entrepreneurs: Mark Zuckerburg Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg personifies another vital trait in truly successful people. Who would have thought that someone barely old enough to drink would invent one of the most lucrative websites in the world, especially one based on the then virtually unknown concept of social networking? How did Mark Zuckerberg resist succumbing to doubts or naysayers? He did what Oprah had done by creating a vision of his own success and never losing sight of it. What’s more, he did not have unrealistic expectations that his mission would be accomplished in a few months or even years. Instead, he thought in terms of decades and did not become discouraged by bumps in the road along the way.

Henry Ford

Famous Entrepreneurs: Henry Ford Speaking of roads, they certainly have become exponentially busier over the last century, in no small part due to the amazing Henry Ford. When you think of this automobile genius, the first thing that probably comes to mind is his invention of the moving assembly line.Ford, like Ash, Winfrey and Zuckerberg after him, dreamed a big dream. His goal was to make it possible for everyone to be able to afford an automobile. In order to make that happen, he literally transformed the way complicated machinery was made. In the process, all of society was changed forever.

Steve Jobs

Famous Entrepreneurs: Steve Jobs In recent years, we have seen a similar revolution when it comes to mobile phone technology. Few would argue that the most prominent figure in this rapid-fire move toward tablets, phones and other small screen devices is the late Steve Jobs. His success has been so global and overwhelming that it has overshadowed the fact that Jobs had originally left Apple in disgrace.In the decade after his departure, the company nearly went bankrupt and was fast becoming a relic. When Jobs re-entered to take over the company he had created and nurtured, he forged Apple’s later success directly out of the flames of its failure. Jobs took the elements that had won him the love and loyalty of millions, such as customer service and intuitive products, while jettisoning the albatrosses around Apple’s neck that were keeping it down. Jobs quickly steered the company into a position of world dominance.

Certainly, success requires hard work, opportunity and perhaps even a little luck. However, these five business titans show us that making it big is also an intentional process. It involves respecting employees, crafting big goals and taking the time needed to bring your goals to fruition. These titans also show that it's important to provide something new and innovative to the marketplace and to use failure and challenges to engineer success. Whether you are a corporate tycoon or the sole proprietor of a small business, these traits can also lead to your own positive growth.