In today’s challenging job market, many of the unemployed or underemployed are going into business for themselves. In many cases, entrepreneurship wasn’t something to which these people aspired, but tough economic times forced them to find a way of generating income –often by starting a business.
You may be considering entrepreneurship for yourself, whether you find yourself unable to regain footing in an area of former employment, or because you think you’ve got the next great business idea. Whatever your reason, it’s worth taking the time to see if you possess most (if not all) of the following traits of successful entrepreneurs. Without most of these traits, you may want to think twice before committing to a business of your own.
1. Decisive. Entrepreneurs can’t avoid making decisions. It’s something they necessarily do every day – sometimes on a moment’s notice, and often without anyone else to consult. You can’t be wishy-washy about decision-making when you’re running the show.
2. Organized. Research shows that many small businesses fail due to poor planning. Smart planning can only be done on a foundation of good organization. If your financials are a mess, if your inventory is a disaster and your schedule is consistently chaotic, you’re probably not in a position to do any strategic plotting for your business’s success. Organized people make better planners.
3. Fit. Entrepreneurship can certainly be a highlight of a lifetime, and the source of tremendous personal gratification. But it’s no walk in the park. Running a business requires physical and emotional stamina. Are you fit enough to put in 12-hour days, six or seven days a week? That’s often what it takes to make a business successful.
4. Self-Motivated. When you’re the boss, there’s no one telling you what to do and when to do it. Granted, that may be part of what appeals to you about entrepreneurship. But running a successful business means you must be capable of both telling yourself what to do, and doing it. Do you have the passion to keep moving on your own?
5. Easy-Going. Are you the type who easily lets things “roll off your back”? Minor annoyances, insults, difficult personalities. If you’re naturally inclined to keep stress at bay, you may be a good candidate for entrepreneurship. Being in charge of a business is a stressful position to be in. If you’re already good at keeping your cool, you’re at a significant advantage. Furthermore, you’ll be coming in contact with many different personality types while running your business – some more pleasant than others. If you can tolerate the trolls, you’ll be on Easy Street.
Feel like you’ve “failed the test”, but your heart’s still set on entrepreneurship? No worries. Most of these qualities can be cultivated. Set some specific goals towards improving the areas where you fall short, and you’ll be setting yourself up for smoother sailing in business, and in life.
For those of you whose small businesses are in New Jersey, you’ll find a wealth of valuable information in my book Straight Talk About Small Business Success in New Jersey: How to Maximize the Growth, Cash Flow, and Profitability of Your Small Business.
Until next time,