So how do you know if you’ve got what it takes to risk it all and start your own business? Here are some traits that I found while doing some reading (Effective Small Business Management, Leadership-tools.com). Maybe we should have looked at the list first, but I’m glad we’re in alignment after the fact. Take a look at the list – do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
- Desire for responsibility: Do you want to be able to take control of resources to reach your goals?
- Calculated risk taker: Do you think through your goals and scenarios? Successful entrepreneurs aren’t wild risk takers (like gamblers) – they do their due diligence before pursuing opportunities.
- Confidence in their ability to succeed: Are you extremely optimistic for your chances of success? Some surveys show that a 1/3 rate their chances as 100%!
- Desire for immediate feedback: Do you like seeing the impact of your work?
- High level of energy: It can be a tough life. Do you have the stamina to endure long hours (60-80/week)? This is especially necessary at the beginning.
- Vision and future orientation: Do you have dreams, visions, or ambitions that you feel passionate about?
- Creative and innovative: Can you think out of the box? Your creativity is critical when coming up with innovative solutions that can compete against larger corporations.
- Strong management and organization skills: Do you have the skills to turn those visions into reality? Can you effectively plan, manage, and utilize resources?
- Problem solving skills: Are you adept at dealing with problems of all magnitude? These could be big strategic ones or small day-to-day ones.
- Desire to achieve: Are you passionate when it comes to taking what you want and getting to where you want?
- Tenacity and commitment: Are you willing to put it all on the line for what you believe in? Are you willing to pull those long hours for extended periods of time? Are you willing to totally immerse your life into your business? Do you stay optimistic in the face of adversity?
- Tolerance for ambiguity: Do you feel comfortable in times of ambiguity and change? As a small business, things change fast and often and each change can have a huge impact on your business and livelihood. Just think of an ocean, you’re in the life raft now, not the cruise ship.
- Flexible: You can’t just tolerate the ambiguity and change, you have to be able to adapt. Are you stubborn or do you get stuck going down rat holes? (not literally of course ) Are you alert enough to identify when the business environment has changed and humble enough to change with it?
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to have all these traits, but your chances of success are much higher if you do. If you have a business partner, try to make sure you have most of these areas covered so you can compensate for each other. And, hey, sometimes you don’t even know that you have these traits until you actually get into the trenches. So if your gut says to go for it, go for it!