Are you thinking of starting your own business venture? Entrepreneurship can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience with an opportunity to be your own boss, set your own agenda and schedule, and make a decent living doing something you enjoy. However, successful entrepreneurship requires thorough reflection and market knowledge, in-depth planning, creativity, hard work, and determination. Do you have what it takes?
Let’s look at some of the characteristics and skills commonly associated with successful entrepreneurs.
■ Accepting of Risk: Running your own business involves a certain degree of uncertainties. By definition, entrepreneurship is about responding to business uncertainties. Do you enjoy the thrill of taking calculated risks? Or are you the type that avoids uncertainties and likes to have full control of all activities?
■ Self-Reliant: Entrepreneurship can be very lonely and you have to make a lot of decisions on your own. The ability to trust your instincts is essential. You also cannot be afraid of rejection every now and then.
■ Persuasive: Effective entrepreneurs are persuasive. If you cannot persuade your customers, employees, investors, or partners, you may find entrepreneurship to be challenging. The ability to sell your ideas with ease is fundamental to bringing people on board and closing deals. If you can persuade, you can sell.
■ Able to Negotiate: Because of the constraints on your business (time and money), you have to know how to negotiate for everything – from leases to contract terms to rates. Effective negotiation skills will help you save money and keep your business running smoothly.
■ Creative: Are you able to think of new ways and ideas? Can you imagine new alternatives and creative ways to solve problems? Entrepreneurs must be able to think creatively to survive given the level of competition and limited resources. If you have insights and the ability to respond to challenges creatively, entrepreneurship may be a good fit for you.
■ Plugged Into a Support System: Starting a business can be very stressful, lonely, and frustrating. Be sure you have a strong support system in place. As a business owner, you will make many important decisions, especially within the first months of opening. A key support person is a business mentor. A business mentor is someone who is experienced, successful, and willing to provide advice and guidance.
20 KEY QUESTIONS FOR STARTUP BUSINESS OWNERS
1. Why am I starting a business and what are my motivations?
2. What kind of business do I want and why?
3. Who are my ideal customers and how do I know them?
4. What products or services will my business provide and what gap am I filling?
5. Am I prepared to make the level of commitment and spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
6. What differentiates my business idea and its products or services from others in the marketplace?
7. Will my business be based on-ground, online, or both?
8. How many employees will I need in year one?
9. What types of suppliers do I need in terms of partnership?
10. How much is my initial investment? (Are you assuming, or do you really know?)
11. Will I need to get a loan from a bank, friends, family, or investors?
12. How quickly can I bring my products or services to market?
13. When is my breakeven point and how long will I wait before making a profit?
14. Who is my competition and do I know my competition well?
15. What is my pricing structure compared to my competition?
16. What is the legal structure of my business – sole proprietorship, S- Corporation, LLC?
17. What taxes do I need to pay, to whom and when?
18. What kind of insurance do I need – comprehensive or limited liability?
19. How will I manage my business and what is my organizational structure?
20. How will I advertise my business and do I have a marketing plan?