Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
A person who decides to start his or her own business face a long, winding road that is tumultuous on occasion and blocked by obstacles. While some people may have the motivation and desire for business ownership, they may not have taken the time to properly investigate and research their abilities and their business ideas. As a result, while thousands of new businesses are started each year, many more either fail or discontinue, and others transfer ownership or control. If the business fails – and it could – it may not only wreak havoc with your personal savings and other assets, but it could give your ego a tremendous blow.
Before committing yourself to the extraordinary investment of time, energy and money that starting a business requires, you need to engage in some personal soul-searching. You need to review your pluses and minuses, your strengths and weaknesses to determine if you are a suitable match for the challenge. Remember, the entrepreneur IS the business – its originator, its motivating force, its energy. Without the needed ingredients, the business can fail as quickly as it started.
The Entrepreneurial Personality
There is no “ideal” entrepreneurial personality – successful entrepreneurs can be analytical or intuitive, risk-averse or thrill seeking, or gregarious and taciturn. However, experts have documented research that indicates that successful small business entrepreneurs, whether male or female, have some common characteristics.
Below is a checklist to help you determine if you have what it takes to make a success of your own business. On this checklist, write a “Y” if you believe the statement describes you; an “N” if it does not; and a “U” if you cannot decide. Do this exercise before you quit your job, invest your money, or spend your time in starting the new business:
- I have a strong desire to be independent and be my own boss, not taking orders from others and relying on my own talents. I can move on my own without waiting for someone to push me.
- Win, lose or draw, I want to be master of my own financial destiny. I want the chance to work at something I enjoy, because of a desire for security in the form of steady income.
- I have significant specialized business ability based on both my education and my experience. I also love the challenge of pitting my resources and skills against the environment.
- I am willing to take reasonable risks and handle the pressure that results from a degree of insecurity.
- I have an ability to conceptualize the whole of a business; not just its individual parts, but how they relate to each other. I am an individual who always comes up with new ideas.
- I develop an inherent sense of what is “right” for a business and have the courage to pursue it. I believe in giving priority to getting the job done.
- One or both of my parents were entrepreneurs; calculated risk-taking runs in the family.
- My life is characterized by a willingness and capacity to persevere. I welcome the responsibility that goes to owning a business.
- I recognize that much of my success will depend on how well I deal with people.
- I possess a high level of energy, sustainable over long hours to make the business successful.
- A powerful drive to accumulate wealth, and the opportunity to earn far more than I ever could working for others.
Not every successful home based business owner starts with a “Y” answer to all of these questions, because there is no such thing as the “perfect” entrepreneur! Many proprietors who sense entrepreneurial deficiencies seek extra training and support from a skilled team of business advisors such as accountants, bankers and attorneys. The important thing is that you have a realistic understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. However, four or five “N”‘s and “U”‘s should be sufficient reason for you to stop and give second thought to going it alone.
If you are lucky enough to possess a higher-than-average level of self-confidence; if you can think positively about (and are not turned off by) the prospect of hard work, long hours, and onerous responsibility; if each new problem challenges you to tackle it with everything at your command, then owning your own business may be your proper road to success.
For more information, read the following:
- Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?
- Is There a Right Personality for Entrepreneurship?
- 20 Qualities of Successful Entrepreneurs
Recommended Books on How to Be an Entrepreneur:
- The Accidental Entrepreneur: The 50 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Starting a Business
- Entrepreneur’s Toolkit: Tools and Techniques to Launch and Grow Your New Business (Harvard Business Essentials)
- Harvard Business Review on Succeeding as an Entrepreneur (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
- 50 Interviews : Entrepreneurs