Peter Drucker is of the opinion that: “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity”.
And B. C. Forbes said: “ If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.“.
Being a business owner, or an entrepreneur, is sure not for every one. And yet, at some point in our lives, all of us dreamed about starting a business: many of us quite early in life, after our first “Lemonade Stand”. It just seemed so much fun! The planning, the set up, the execution, sales and of course, the money! It seemed so exciting to be the boss (oh well, if you were one of the kids that were bossed around that might not sound so much fun!)!
So, do you have what it takes to be a business owner? Hmmm… what does it really take to start a business and be successful?
Let’s start with a basic set of skills that you must have in order to venture out and make your dreams come through. Some things that come automatically to my mind are discipline, self-motivation, persistency, flexibility and adaptability. Just to start with.
Every time I talk about entrepreneurship, I “hear” Barbara Corcoran in the back of my mind telling her story on how she made a $1,000 dollar loan become a 66 billion dollar real estate empire. And the number one lesson that I took from her is: “don’t be afraid of failing”.
Before starting a business, you must go through a very blunt self “check-up” and make sure that you have what it takes to swim through the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship.
Here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself to figure that out (just some of them to trigger your curiosity):
1- Are you a natural leader? Were you always picked to be the captain of your team ( didn’t even matter which sport), or your school projects, of even the captain of your field trips? I am not saying that one cannot improve their leadership skills, but I do believe leadership is an innate skill.
2- Do you deal well with rejection? In the world of business, you will hear much more “no” than “yes”. Can you get over the “no” quickly, change your strategy without taking it personally, blaming yourself and feeling defeated?
3- Are you persistent? Or do you give up on the first “no”, the first set back. Ok, so your heard “no” once. No big deal. Because you can “regroup” and try again. Can you really? Failure cannot crumble you.
4- Are you flexible and adaptable? Or you have to follow the script every time? When you own a business, you have to be quick to make changes, to adjust to new realities and to shape solutions to not only acquire new customers, but to captivate their loyalty.
5- Are you disciplined? As you are the head of it all, you have to be very disciplined to keep your goals straight, your budget conservative, follow through with your promises. You must keep yourself and your company on track. You cannot be distracted by small obstacles, or tempted by the conveniences of making the rules. You will probably have to work much harder as an owner that as an employee.
6- Can you easily build strong relationships? It will be fundamental for your business that you can. You must be able to quickly connect with customers, vendors and employees. They must like you, trust you, bond with you to become loyal customers, dedicated employees or accommodating vendors.
7- Can you make decisions? Or are you always afraid of the responsibility, hesitant to take the next step, terrified of taking risks? Having a business incur a pretty big deal of risks. And if taking risks is not for you, re think it!
8- Can you spot and recruit the best people, hire and fire, as the company needs? You must find the best employees out there – they will make a whole difference in your business’ success. It is not easy to find the right people. But even more difficult is firing the wrong ones. Can you fire people when you need?
This list could go on and on, because the deeper you can dig into yourself and your skills, the better and faster you can determine if you are really tailored to be an entrepreneur.
Some people will discover that they have the right skill set and some will love their jobs even more (they cannot see themselves in the “owner” position after the “self check-up”).
If entrepreneurship is for you make sure that you research everything about the business that you want to get into, do all the due diligence, prepare yourself to work hard, find a mentor (it can be very helpful along the way), believe in yourself and bring your old dream to reality.