People will argue about nature or nurture when it comes to being an entrepreneur. I’m more concerned if someone has the right mix of motivation, skills and experience to be successful. My perspective is that some people are meant to be entrepreneurs and some aren’t. Based on my experience of working with entrepreneurs of all types and being one myself, I believe there are some important characteristics a would-be entrepreneur should consider before embarking on their journey.
The Right Attitude
Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean you should quit your day job to start up a new business. The entrepreneurial journey is full of financial risks, emotional roller coasters, and leaps of faith that are not for the faint of heart. Attitudes of negativism, procrastination, rationalization and fear will not serve you well. However, being positive, taking action, being curious and having faith in yourself and others are extremely valuable. Do you have the right attitude?
Vision Bigger Than Yourself
Don’t start-up a business for the money only or because you hate your job. There has to be a bigger purpose. It has to be so big that it keeps you excited and motivated. You have to love doing what you do. Do you have a vision for how your product or service will help people in a meaningful way?
Willingness to Learn
While you may have a great vision for a business, it’s 100% certain the plan you created to get there will not be how it plays out. There are things you don’t know when starting up your business that you will need to understand and then adapt your plan. Being an entrepreneur will grow and stretch you in ways you never imagined. You more than likely will have to learn about marketing, selling, accounting, digital technology, and leadership. Are you willing to become a lifelong learner?
Ability to Persevere
There will be tough times when things go wrong. Often these are things that are out of our control and are messy to fix. You will need patience as things get sorted out. You will find yourself second guessing what you are doing. Being able to stick it out versus giving up is critical as most opportunities seem to appear just when all hope is lost. Are you willing to persevere when things get scary and tough?
Attention to Details
There are so many things you need to pay attention to and some are more important than others. Not paying attention to details such as the fine print in contracts, product and service costs, or even misspelled words on printed marketing materials can cost you time and money. It seems that customers and stakeholders always find the little details that you missed. While you can’t manage every detail, it’s critical that you manage the important ones. Are you someone who can focus on details?
Ability to Build a Team
When we start a new business, there are things we are great at and things we aren’t so great at. We have to surround ourselves with people who are able to complement our strengths. Having people in your business that you can trust is so vital to success whether they are your employees or part of your support system. Further, ensuring that the health and overall well-being of these people can go a long way when building a business. Something as simple as conducting regular health screenings or becoming involved in employee wellness programs (check the Eden Health website for info on this) can help keep you and your people healthy and energetic to carry the company forward. Every successful business is a relationship business and being able to develop trust with others is something you have to be good at. It takes a network of people you can trust to build a business. Are you a team builder?
Willingness to Give Up Control
For some reason entrepreneurs often want to be in control and make every decision for the business. That may work during the early stages of a business but as you hire people you need to give up control and trust those you put in charge to make the right decision. While they won’t necessary make the same decisions you would or do it 100% the same way you would, my experience is that they usually make better decisions and do things far better than I can. Will it be easy for you to give up control?
A Builder of Systems
We as entrepreneurs tend to believe we can do everything ourselves and that only we can do it right. Eventually we realize this is not the case and that there is only so much time and effort available to us. We need people, processes and technology in place to make our start-up sustainable. We have to factor that into our planning upfront. Do you have the ability to put systems in place?
So are you an Entrepreneur?
As I stated earlier, I could care less about the nature versus nurture debate. I believe passion and desire are more important. Entrepreneurs can acquire the right skills and experience as long as they are motivated to do so.
Consider taking a more complete self-assessment before you start your journey. Tools such as TTI DISC Assessments for Executives are extremely helpful in understanding your strengths and weaknesses. You can find out more on our website LeapInnovation.com.
John Maxwell says, “Your dream will take longer to accomplish than you realize and will be harder to achieve than you anticipate, but it will be far more rewarding than you could ever imagine.” I couldn’t agree more.