Do you have the personality to be an entrepreneur?
Do you have the personality to be an entrepreneur?
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It seems like everyone and their mother is starting their own business these days; but small biz failures — not successes — are the norm. Turns out most entrepreneurs who make it share a set of qualities. Do you have what it takes?
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Do you prefer to work with a team or independently?
Even though you will be doing plenty of work on your own, being an entrepreneur means collaborating with others and managing as well, so you'll need to have strong skills in both areas.
- Solo is the only way to go.
- I find it tough to work on my own.
- I can work independently, but like to work with others who have complementary skills.
Are you a detail person or more of a generalist?
Raman Chadha, founder of the Junto Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, told Crain's Chicago Business, "When you see something that's a really great opportunity ... you're able to zoom in, focus and execute on that one thing. But then at the same time, you have the ability to zoom out periodically and scan the marketplace." Entrepreneurs need to get the details right, but also have to be able to focus on the larger picture.
- I'm flexible; sometimes it's the details that need attention, sometimes it's the big idea.
- I'm all about the details, all the time.
- I'm great at taking in the landscape and making sweeping decisions.
Do you consider yourself a lucky person?
Most (around 75 percent) of successful entrepreneurs believe strongly in their own good fortune, and that "good things will come to them." Of course, perseverance and planning are key too, but a positive outlook can keep you going on those dark days — and every entrepreneur has them.
- I don't believe in luck.
You're at a conference or party that includes other entrepreneurs in your field as well as potential clients or contacts in related businesses. How do you act?
Good networking ability is one of the the key skills for any entrepreneur to master. If you're not naturally good at it, practice — it is a skill you can learn, and shyness won't cut it. Keep your business cards in an easy-to-reach spot, and talk to as many people as possible (while still keeping the conversation meaningful and genuine). Conventions or parties for people in your industry are key to growing your business, finding new partners, and even future employees.
- You only talk to people you know or recognize.
- You don't talk to many people since you are too busy checking your email.
- You politely walk up to those you don't know and introduce yourself; you are friendly and chat with anyone nearby.
Do you prefer variety to your days, or do you like it when most work is similar to what you did the day before?
Part of the beauty (and terror) of running your own business is that new situations arise constantly — and it's up to you to deal with them. Many entrepreneurs say they've never had the same workday twice, so being comfortable with fluctuations and unexpected challenges is important.
- I like structure and regularity in my daily work.
- I thrive on constant change and new challenges.
- I'm don't like either; constant change is frightening and regular work bores me.
How would you describe your money-management skills in your personal life?
Having an emotional relationship with money — either positive or negative — isn't a great start for an entrepreneur. You will have good and bad financial times, and the ability to keep spending and savings in perspective (and organized) is important.
- I'm extremely conservative with money; it makes me feel secure.
- I tend to spend more than I earn and sometimes I forget to pay bills; it really upsets me.
- I'm pretty non-emotional with money; it's numbers on a page, and I keep track of them well.
How do you deal with stress?
While some people are naturally stress-free (and others take everything personally), most of us are somewhere in between, and that's OK. What's most important is that you have a reliable and effective way to deal with stress — because when starting a new business, it's inevitable. Whether it's playing with your kids in the park, taking a hike in the woods, a swim at the gym, cooking, or volunteering at an animal shelter, you need a place/space you can go to breathe and be yourself — with your phone off!
- I have a stress-busting routine that I rely on.
- I tend to get upset when I'm stressed and yell at family or friends.
- Stress makes me sad — I get a little depressed when I feel anxious.
Did you start or run a business when you were a kid or in high school?
Kids who started or operated businesses are much more likely to be entrepreneurial — and be successful at it — as adults. Babysitting or animal-care counts, but only if you ran it like a business: advertising, networking, budgeting (or at least learning to), and caring about what your customers thought and wanted.
- No, I just did odd jobs or babysat for extra cash.
- Yes, I liked the idea of making my own money and being in charge of my own business as a kid or teen.
- No, I concentrated on school full-time.
Have you saved the cash — or are you prepared for a reduction in your lifestyle and spending power — for the first two years during which you are growing your business?
Saving up enough money (or better yet, saving and scrimping), so that you can work full-time — or at the very least, solidly part-time — on your business for the first year or two will give it a better chance to thrive. Yes, you can start a business in your "off-hours" but experts say that few of those succeed, and it's incredibly tough on any friends and family you might have. Most businesses take at least two years to become profitable, so being prepared for that may be the difference between success and failure.
- I'm planning on making money in the first 6 months. I can't wait two years for a reliable income.
- I'm going to keep my full-time job and work on nights and weekends to start my business.
- I've already lined up a cheaper place to live and am forgoing meals out until my business turns a regular profit.
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In five years, where do you see yourself?
Your goal should be the growth and success of the business, not your personal happiness. Only you can make that happen for yourself, and it has nothing to do with being successful at business or making lots of money. Yes, your business should be making a profit for you, but if money is the end-all, be-all of starting a business, that's not a healthy mindset.
- I want my business product (or service) to be used by as many people as I can reach.
- Relaxing on a tropical beach, margarita in my hand, with my biz churning out the bucks.
- I want my business to make me happy.
How much research have you done into your business idea and prospects?
While you don't want to spend all your time doing research, you should spend quite a bit of energy on it before you start any company. Besides figuring out logistics, setting up social media accounts, possibly trademarking your biz name, and otherwise setting up your company, you should also be familiar with companies, both large and small, that are doing what you want to do, or anything related to it. While it's great to be positive about your idea, don't let enthusiasm take the place of due diligence.
- I haven't done much research, but I'm sure my idea is a winner!
- I've researched other companies that have similar ideas (and I'm following them on social media), and I've tracked down everything I can on my sector.
- I've done some research, but I'm afraid to be too influenced by others' ideas.
You don't know enough to start your own business — yet. Study up!You've got some nuts and bolts down, but before you jump into starting your own biz, do some more preparation and study.You might be ready to start your own business with a little more knowledge. Impressive: You are ready to start your own business!
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