Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Productivity

Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are sometimes considered an oddity, part of a rare breed of individuals who thrive on risk, or who are fed up with working “for the man” and strike out on their own. According to recent statistics, however, entrepreneurs are becoming more common, with over 27 million Americans either running a business or starting their own.

As individuals flock to the idea of working for themselves, many wonder what characteristics entrepreneurs have that help them become successful. Not surprisingly, there are some common traits that most entrepreneurs seem to have in common. How many of these do you possess?

  1. Internal Motivation

It’s a classic catch-22: would-be entrepreneurs love the idea of autonomy, but may lack enough drive to push through the difficult times. Entrepreneurs must expect to deal with hardships and difficulties on the road to success.

A typical employee leaves work and spends time with friends or family, or perhaps spends time enjoying a hobby. Successful entrepreneurs, however, find it difficult to turn work off and generally use every spare moment to build their businesses.

Weekends, evenings and holidays become an extension of the workday, particularly during the early stages of business-building. The new hobby of an entrepreneur? Making their business ventures succeed.

  1. Gumption

whiteboardAn old-fashioned word, perhaps, but an ageless idea; gumption is the character trait that is necessary to take a great idea off the drawing board and put it into action. Many people have dreams of grandeur that they “just know” would be a success, but fail to take the next step toward making their ideas a reality.

Motivation is important, but without the gumption to act, motivation is wasted. Gumption steps in during the building stage when the road to success seems hidden and there doesn’t seem to be a fast pay-off.

  1. Risk Tolerance

There are elements of risk involved in launching a new business, and that is a large part of why many fail to act on their ideas. Entrepreneurs must be willing to accept the risks that come along with starting something new.

Income may vary, depending on the amount of business generated each month. Payday may feel like a ping-pong match between “feast” or “famine.” Employees may not perform well, leaving the entrepreneur to become a task-master, or the economy can tank, leaving a warehouse full of product and a pile of marketing materials unused.

These inherent risks are alarming, but must be considered. The successful entrepreneur refuses to panic in the face of risk, choosing instead to use risk as a springboard to further greatness.

  1. Meticulousness

planningAccording to some experts, one of the most common mistakes people make when starting a business is failing to research the potential marketplace. Regardless of how great a product may be, market research can indicate the potential for sales and adoption by the public.

Before launching a full-scale version of an idea, conducting a pre-launch prototype with a limited production run can give an entrepreneur a reasonable idea of how successful the product may or may not be. Not only does this save the entrepreneur time and money, but it can indicate if a market is viable and how much time the business may require of you. Becoming an expert at research and analysis can be an effective secret weapon for the aspiring entrepreneur.

  1. Strong Time Management

Entrepreneurs understand that they are dealing with a limited number of hours each day and work to maximize them. Knowing how to prioritize tasks, assign tasks to others to handle, and focus on the essential responsibilities that make a company successful are key to an entrepreneur’s success. Reduce distractions during work hours, find ways to capitalize on the time you have to work, and enjoy the moments away from work.

  1. Forethought

Generally, no one goes into business with the idea of failing. Many people, however, set themselves up to fail by neglecting to plan thoroughly. Some experts claim that entrepreneurs should have enough cash saved up to pay their living expenses for the first two years before venturing out on their own.

Others simply state that having some cash in reserve is enough to start with. Finding the right balance depends on the specific circumstances of the entrepreneur. Someone with a family at home may need more money saved up than a single person. Entrepreneurs should analyze their needs and plan accordingly.

The journey of entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart. Individuals considering joining this group of business owners must be prepared to contend with long hours, low pay, high levels of stress, and more. The payoff, however, is worth every frustration.  The opportunities for entrepreneurship are greater than ever before, and there are more resources available to help individuals at every step of the way.