Since the start of this country one of the most powerful sayings that has motivated people to come to the United States has been “The American Dream”. The belief that you can start a business and have great financial success for your family. Unfortunately, while the American Dream is a reality, it is not for everyone. Some people are meant to work for others, because they do not have what it takes to be an entrepreneur and get to live this wonderful dream.
The purpose of this blog is to identify the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs with the hope that aspiring business people will take stock of themselves and determine whether independent business ownership is really for them. There are lots of routes to success in this country but entrepreneurship, following the paths of such well known people as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others requires a particular type of individual.
Let’s explore the most obvious characteristics of those people who are most likely to succeed as entrepreneurs:
The first is PASSION. Without a very strong passion for your idea, it is virtually impossible for you to be successful. You must love your idea like a lifelong spouse and be willing to sacrifice almost anything to make it successful.
The second characteristic is the ability to take RISK. One of the common characteristics of virtually all entrepreneurs is that they involved a considerable amount of risk to become successful. The risk could come in a variety of different forms, including such things as financial sacrifices, fear of failure, depreciation in relationships due to the lack of time one can spend to make the idea realize it full potential
The third characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is ENERGY. You must have the energy to work more hours in a week than you ever did before, and for extended periods of time to be a successful entrepreneur.
The fourth characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is FINANCIAL RESOURCES. It is very unusual for an entrepreneur to make money quickly with the project to which they have committed. Many people trying to start their own businesses run out of money before they can give their project time to return profits. It is not unusual for a new project to go 24-36 months without providing a positive cash flow to the entrepreneur….and often there is also a considerable upfront investment (fixed costs) get the project started.
The fifth characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is the need for a RISK TAKING PERSONALITY. Unless you have a quick cure for cancer, almost any venture requires significant risk both from a financial and personal perspective. Specifically, you must be willing to spend and possibly lose considerable money if the effort is not successful. Further, the risk of failure represents a real threat to some people’s “sense of self” and it is very important that an entrepreneur be able to deal with this possibility or they risk going into a deep depression if things do not go exactly as planned throughout the process.
A sixth characteristic of of a successful entrepreneur is the KNOWLEDGE OF THE BUSINESS in which you are planning to enter. The single most important reason that new businesses fail is the lack of knowledge of the product category in which they are entering. It is essential that an individual do whatever research is necessary to fully understand the business they want to enter or they dramatically reduce their chances for success.
Finally a successful entrepreneur will create a network of advisors to whom he or she can talk during the development process, so the idea can be evaluated and reevaluated to ensure that you are on the right path to success. The SCORE organization is an excellent resource for entrepreneurs, and it is strongly recommended that you get a SCORE counselor who can be your mentor, cheerleader and advisor throughout the development process. Go to www.score.org to find a chapter near you, and then register for counseling. It might be the best thing you ever do.