Starting Your Own Business, Look Before You Leap – Have you ever wanted to strike out on your own and become an entrepreneur, with all of the risks and rewards it entails? Before launching your own business, discover the key elements you need to consider and learn to create your road map to entrepreneurial success.
Starting a successful business means asking the right questions, the first of which is: are you an entrepreneur?
You had a great idea for a business, and you’re sure you can make it work. So now, you’ve decided to fire your boss and strike out on your own. But before you do, you need to master a few tools that’ll help you turn your great idea into a profitable venture.
Assessing Your Entrepreneurial Fitness
The first and most important question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you’re an entrepreneur — and no, just having a good idea does not make you an entrepreneur!
So before you say “yes”, read on. According to Michael Gerber, business advisor and author of the best-selling The EMyth and The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, “The typical business owner is only 10 percent Entrepreneur.” “So,” you ask, “If I’m only 10 percent entrepreneur, what’s the other 90 percent?”
The Bad News
If you asked Gerber that question, he’d tell you that, in addition to 10 percent entrepreneur, you’re probably about 20 percent Manager, and 70 percent Technician – which, he might add, could spell long days, burnout, and possibly even business failure. That’s because technicians love their work and they’ll do it till they drop — not a good quality in someone who wants to create a sustainable business.
The Good News
Don’t worry, though. There’s plenty of good news, too. Most small business owners might succumb to their percentages, but you are not most small business owners. By going into your business with your eyes wide open, you’ll be able to manage the percentages and succeed. Let’s start by learning a little more about the e-myth. In Gerber’s view, there are three distinct business personalities — and every business owner has traces of each.
The entrepreneurial self is the visionary — the person with the big ideas and dreams, who thinks about the big picture, not details. The entrepreneur often
views employees (especially those who have realistic views of timelines and costs) as impediments to the ultimate goal.
The managerial self is the organizer — the person who handles planning and details, and who analyzes and modifies processes for maximum efficiency. The managerial personality often focuses on process to the exclusion of customers and their satisfaction.
The technician is the hands-on worker. The technician loves the work itself and will do it until he or she simply can’t work anymore.
Nurture the Entrepreneur Within
If you’re starting your business because you love the work you do, but hate dealing with office politics, you’re probably a technician. That’s not a recipe for disaster (especially in the early, start-up stages of a business) but beware of your tendency to work yourself to the bone without ever looking up to take your pulse, get the lay of the land, or manage your finances, marketing, etc. As your business grows, take care to nurture your visionary and managerial selves as well.
Now let’s look at a few critical strengths of the entrepreneurial personality.
What It Takes
What makes some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail? What exactly are the ingredients of the entrepreneurial spirit? No doubt you will discover the answer to these questions as we explore this world together. But before we go any further, I’d like to suggest that you take a few moments to consider some universal skills and traits of the entrepreneur, as described in one book, Small Business for Dummies. As you look at the following skills and traits necessary to meet these categories of needs, objectively compare them with your own abilities in these areas.
Numbers skills. Business means handling money, and that means numbers — borrowing money, accounting for it, and reporting on the financial state of your company.
Sales skills. Sales skills are important, whether you’re selling a product, merchandise, or service. Keep in mind that business owners have to use selling skills not only with their customers, but also with their employees, their vendors, and the general public.
Marketing skills. If you don’t keep stuffing the pipeline, nothing comes out the other end. Good marketing is the ingredient that keeps your profits coming, in good times and in bad.
Leadership skills. No matter what the size of the company, the quality of leadership at the top trickles down into every level.
The ability to coexist with risk and possibly debt. Are you the kind of person who can live with the risk and/or debt associated with capitalism?
Intuition. Good instinctive decision-making abilities can make or break a smallbusiness owner.
Optimism. Successful business owners are rarely pessimists. Even when everything goes wrong, they keep seeing that cup as half full, rather than half
Drive. Successful small-business owners are driven to succeed in every area of their business. That drive may flag, but it never fails altogether. A weekend off, and you’re rarin’ to go.