For those of you who are considering the entrepreneurial route, it is important to consider various factors before making a decision. There are a number of traits that successful entrepreneurs share in common. Do a thorough self-assessment either on your own or with the assistance of a career practitioner to determine if you have what it takes to be successful in what can be a very challenging position. Think about the following traits in relation to yourself. Although this is not an exhaustive list, if you do not feel you possess enough of these, you may not want to pursue the role of entrepreneur. If you find yourself described below, consider the option wholeheartedly. (Keep in mind this post is about entrepreneurship vs. solopreneurship.)
- Leadership Qualities
Do you find yourself being the go-to person most of the time? Do you find people asking your opinion or to help guide or make decisions for them? Have you been in management roles before or been told you would thrive in this role? Leaders have strong communication skills (oral and written) and the ability to bring together a team of people toward a common goal in a way that the entire team is motivated and works effectively to get there. A leader earns the trust and respect of her/his team by demonstrating positive work qualities and confidence, then fostering an environment that proliferates these values throughout the team.
Successful entrepreneurs are incredibly passionate about their work, highly persistent and able to use the big picture as a frame of reference for the day-to-day duties involved with running a business. Keeping long-term goals in mind allows them to easily shrug off temporary setbacks. They normally possess a competitive spirit and are driven to be the best at whatever they do. They enjoy challenges and are spurred forward by their uncommon clarity of vision.
Successful entrepreneurs are not dead-set in their ways to the point they refuse to learn valuable lessons along the way. While they do their best to plan everything out in advance and make back-up plans for hypothetical situations, they aren’t afraid of failure. If things don’t go exactly as planned, the successful entrepreneur will analyze the situation to see what can be learned from it. The same goes for situations in which a competitor gains an edge in the marketplace. Rather than resent a rival’s success, those with savvy business sense will work to gain insight into what their competitors are doing right. They might even adapt their competitor’s strategies for their own use, or figure out a way to counteract those strategies.
- Highly Self-Motivated
Nobody makes progress by sitting back and waiting for it to find them. Successful people go out into the world and invoke change through their actions. Leaders enjoy challenges and will work tirelessly to solve problems that confront them. As mentioned above, they adapt well to changing situations without unraveling and are usually the expert in helping their teams change with them by motivating them toward new goals and opportunities. Successful entrepreneurs are driven by a more complete vision or goal than simply the task at hand and are able to think on a more universal level. They are very passionate about the ideas that drive them toward these ultimate goals and are notoriously difficult to steer off course.
- Strong Sense of Ethics and Integrity
Business is sustainable because there’s an understood code of ethics that universally underpins the very fabric upon which commerce is conducted. While cheaters may win in the short term, they invariably lose out in the long run. Successful, sustainable business people maintain the highest standards of integrity because if you cannot prove yourself a credible business person, people will lose interest in doing business with you. In working with clients or leading a team, effective leaders admit to error and offer solutions to correct them, rather than lie, blame others, and dwell on the problem.
- Creation and Innovation
Entrepreneurs constantly create new ideas and implement and improve existing processes through creative endeavors. In fact, that’s how most of them got into business in the first place. Many business concepts rely on improving products, services and processes in order to win/retain business. Have you been called highly creative and innovative by a good number of superiors, peers, family, and/or friends?
- Strong Networking
Entrepreneurs don’t succeed alone. They understand it takes a fixed and evolving network of contacts, business and financial partners, peers and resources to succeed. Successful leaders can easily nurture these relationships and surround themselves with people who can help make them more effective. They are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Any good leader is only as good as those who support her/him.
Are you ready to learn about starting your own business? Consider taking classes through the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States. In addition, there are entrepreneur related Meetup groups in the area you may consider joining. Also, check out the Small Business Development Center.
Andrea Killion, MS, NCC, MCC
Careerful Counseling Services
Andrea specializes in assisting clients achieve rewarding employment. She works with adult clients from all industries and stages who are either unemployed or employed (or somewhere in between). Whether you are looking for work, trying to figure out what career to pursue, or unsure whether to stay in your current position, Andrea can assist you with these issues and more.