Entrepreneurship is getting watered down. Too many people are jumping on the bandwagon, and they shouldn’t be there. Saying you’re an entrepreneur may sound sexy, but the reality is that while many people may be proudly claiming this title, very few can claim it successfully. Just because it may be easy to start certain businesses these days, doesn’t mean you won’t have a hell of a time making any money from them if you don’t have what it takes to be successful.
So, let’s set the record straight, shall we? Depending on where you are holding, after reading the points below you’ll either be inspired to push forward knowing that you probably have what it takes to be a successful business owner, or you’ll back off to re-evaluate your career path. I’ve found that most “traits of successful entrepreneurs” articles generally leave these kinds of things off the list, or they don’t do them enough justice. The result being that people go in with a false sense of security. Don’t be fooled!
How do these signs apply to you?:
1. You’re headed in the unknown… without a map. If you are just starting out, then it’s a given that there will be some unknowns and some things you’re going to have to learn along the way. But what I find interesting is that so many people don’t even know the basics like: who is your target market, what need you are filling, what is your value proposition, and what separates you from the competition. If you can’t answer these questions in your sleep, then get out of the game.
2. You are doubtful or cautious about your business -especially when you hit a roadblock. Running a business takes grit. If you can’t stomach all the ups and downs, setbacks and roadblocks along the way, then you’ve chosen the wrong profession. You need passion because if you don’t enjoy what you are doing then you’ll lose interest. But, above all, you need hunger. Your hunger for success is what will carry you through all the downs along the way and keep you focused on your goals.
3. You’re doing this entirely alone…or relying on some guru’s advice. Ever see a start-up team of one? It’s very rare, and even when it does happen, the business owner will typically receive advice from a team of trusted, knowledgeable people. Just one caveat here: be very careful about who you turn to for advice. Ideally, you want to work with someone familiar with your business, your industry, and you. If that is not possible, then make an extra effort to find those experts who can bring real value to your start-up process and operational stages.
4. You can’t make long term decisions because you are too dependent on short-term gain. When it comes to successfully running a business you have to be able to “think long.” This means a few things:
- You can’t be too financially dependent on your business’ early revenues since it may cause you to make decisions that will result in a short-term financial gain at the expense of a bigger, more stable gain in the future.
- You have to be able to step back and look at the big picture of where your business is going. If that is a challenge for you, then you must align yourself with others who can help you with the process or else you’ll get lost and confused in the day-to-day details.
- Lastly, while there are definitely benefits to being frugal with your business and looking for ways to save money, at the same time, there are places where money just needs to be spent in order for the business to grow and develop in the way in needs to. In other words: running a business costs money.
5. You’re not open to feedback and learning. Get this clear: even for veteran entrepreneurs, each new business that you try to start will involve a learning process. You may have to learn about new market segments, technological advancements, and trends related to both your industry as well as your market and the economy as a whole. You also need to be open to learning through feedback. It doesn’t mean that you have to follow or act on everything that people tell you- whether it’s your customers, business partners, or concerned friends and family. But you can’t shut off the possibility of consideration either. A business is a dynamic entity, and if you don’t have your ear to the road, then the opportunity for real progress will pass you by, and you won’t even know it.
So, where do you stand with this list? If you are struggling with any of the five things mentioned above, then get a move on to fix it. It could make all the difference between the success and failure of your new business.