Thinking of starting your own business? You are probably scouring the Web for ideas, brainstorming names for your business, looking for top start-up tools successful entrepreneurs use and more. But before you set up your business, you need to ask yourself a critical question: Do you really have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?
The most successful entrepreneurs share several traits that separate them from wanna-be dreamers or hobbyists.
Are you passionate?
Passion is an overused word, but the cliché is true: The most passionate and idealistic entrepreneurs tend to be the most successful. You have to live, eat, breathe and sleep your business.
You’ll know you’re truly passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish if you wake up at 3am thinking about it—then get out of bed to work on it. You dream about your business. You find it hard to “turn off.” You feel like you’re changing the world, or at least your small piece of it.
It gets in your blood. It energizes and motivates you. It makes you look forward to Mondays, rather than dreading them.
Are you willing to take risks?
Starting a business feels like stepping off a cliff into an unknown void. While it might not literally be that dangerous, in a broader sense it is precisely that.
When you leave the safety of the “corporate world” to become an entrepreneur, you are exchanging the “safety” of steady paychecks and benefits. Of course, anyone who has ever been fired from a job (that includes me) knows that “safety” is a myth.
If you have a family, the risks increase exponentially. Can you maintain balance and still pay the bills while starting and running your business?
Entrepreneurs learn a secret: Taking the initials risks—committing to a path and putting things in motion—will trigger something magical in the universe. Only the courageous and action-takers are potentially rewarded, not dreamers and schemers.
Unfortunately, the magic isn’t guaranteed. But there’s no other way to attract it than to take risks.
Are you a leader?
Leadership is an essential quality of great entrepreneurs. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you’ll have to lead yourself. What kind of boss are you?
You will need to expect a lot out of yourself and any employees, in order to motivate yourself and them to meet your goals. In the daily grind of running a business, being inspirational and effective (without being a jerk) can be difficult, especially with all the pressures you’ll face.
Can you sell?
Entrepreneurs are in business to make money. Otherwise, your “business” is unsustainable. Which means you have to be able to sell your products and services.
As a company founder or owner, the buck starts and stops with you. Do you have the right people and process skills to market and sell your products and services?
You might find selling distasteful, or believe you’re not in sales. You’re wrong—we’re all in sales (read Daniel Pink’s essential book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others).
One thing I’ve learned from starting multiple businesses—even if/when you hire salespeople, you are still in sales. You will always be looked at as the chief salesperson.
I once had a prospect call me after being hounded by my sales person. He said, “I’m tired of being bombarded by your sales guy. Tell him to quit calling me. I’m interested in your services, but I want to deal with you and the people who will actually be working on our account.”
We earned his business when I stepped in. Not long after, we fired our salesperson, too.
Are you tenacious?
In business, challenges are inevitable. Life will throw every curve ball imaginable at you, and you have to learn to duck or hit them back. Your stress levels at times will be through the roof. Can you suck it up and push past every obstacle?
Your ability to focus on your main goals and the actions you need to take to get your business there will be crucial to your success. You’ll need a “never quit” attitude.
What are other essential traits of entrepreneurs?
Have you started a business? What internal resources did you call upon to make your business successful? Please leave a comment below.
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