Are You an Entrepreneur?
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” – Peter Drucker
BIG decision!! Before you start planning a business venture you need to consider a number of things. Not least is a critical analysis of your personal attributes, experience, knowledge and skills that will make your business successful. Knowing yourself can help you develop a business plan for a successful and sustainable business.
Have I got what it takes to be an Entrepreneur?
Having drive, ambition and desire are all fantastic qualities to undertake a business idea or proposition and the ‘business idea‘ is only the starting point. Success in business is built on a number of factors but making sure you aren’t a liability to own start-up goes without saying.
Experience, knowledge and skill in your area of business will be crucial when running your enterprise. It’s vitally important you understand where any gaps might exist and take the necessary steps to mitigate the risks by filling them. Detailed research and additional training and support might be needed to ensure any shortcomings are fully addressed.
This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t entertain a commercial idea where you have no business experience … but the chances of being a successful entrepreneur are very slim unless you take time to gain insight and knowledge in the particular business area you are considering. Wanting to be a chef and opening a restaurant isn’t a good idea if you can’t even boil an egg!
If you feel sure that running your own business is the right thing for you, there are certain personal qualities which will significantly enhance the potential for a successful outcome. You don’t need them all in abundance, as running a business will develop you personally by its very nature, but it would be desirable to have the following to some degree –
- Realism – this is the most crucial quality. This is not about curbing ambition or enthusiasm but ensuring you understand your abilities to run a business and, indeed, the potential for that business. Being unrealistic in your expectations can nose dive your proposition before it gets off the ground and the consequences of not keeping your feet firmly planted can be fatal for your business.
- Drive and determination – anybody who says starting a business is easy has probably never done it! You have to be prepared to push through any number of barriers, setbacks and disappointments … giving up at the first sign of a problem isn’t going to cut it.
- Confidence and belief – having belief in yourself will transfer to suppliers, customers and stakeholders (funders for example) alike. If you exude confidence you have a far better chance of winning that order, getting that loan, opening supplier credit etc. As the old saying goes “if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to?” Never was it truer than when starting and running a business.
- Passionate – you need to be a real evangelist for your business – your belief will pull others to you.
- Resourcefulness – as previously stated, there is nothing easy about starting and running a business. You will constantly have to adapt your thinking and get creative on a daily basis to overcome obstacles.
- Energy and enthusiasm – unlike working for somebody else, running a business can often require long hours and a dedication to the cause. You have to be prepared to put in the hours and drive your business forward.
- Awareness and vision – a successful entrepreneur will often hold common traits and one of them is the ability of the owner/founder to understand their market environment. They have a clear vision of what they want the business to be and become in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean you want to take over the world (or maybe you do) but does mean you have goals and a level of clarity around how you will achieve them.
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- Communication – This is about talking AND listening. From telling people about your business to dealing with employees, amongst many other things, the ability to communicate effectively is vital for your business. The thing here is people; and you need to get your message across clearly and understand the information coming the other way. Added to this is also the ability to take on board advice, criticism and feedback; process it effectively and use it to your advantage.
- Organisation and self discipline – this is an easy one to describe but often the hardest to practice. Being an entrepreneur means you are often spinning numerous plates and to ensure you don’t drop and break any is a real art. You will deal with customers, suppliers, banks, accountants and many more (possibly employees as well) who will all want a piece of you to varying degrees. In and amongst this you also have the small matter of supplying your product or providing your service as well as numerous other tasks (not all of them particularly enjoyable) around administration of the business. The list could go on but sure the point is obvious.
- Humour and optimism – the ability to laugh and keep smiling through the trials and tribulations of running a business is a real asset. Not only from a personal well-being point of view but it also works well (where appropriate of course) with anybody you deal with and helps build good relationships. Often underestimated in the realms of the business world and, sadly, often lacking.
- Personal support – not really a “quality” as such but something you certainly need to assess and take into consideration when thinking about a business start-up. There are lots of people who can support you in a business sense – advisers, bank managers, accountants etc – but the support of family and friends is absolutely priceless. Particularly if they are willing to tell you honestly what you need to hear, rather than what they think you want to hear.
So, if you’re still up for starting a business there are a few more things to look at pre-planning and then the real work of bringing your business dream to a reality can begin.
Being an Entrepreneur isn’t for everyone but if you find what you truly want to do, your passion and drive will get you to your goal. Find others to support you on the journey.