As a long time entrepreneur, I often get asked what it takes to start your own business. Here’s what I’ve got:
I once saw a cartoon that gave the following definition of an Entrepreneur:
“Someone who will do almost anything to avoid working for someone else”
That about sums it up – even though it defies logic. When you work for yourself you risk everything you have despite the fact that you know 80-90% of new businesses fail. You work longer hours than anyone else and sweat bullets over how to meet payroll every week. Every decision you make can have life-changing consequences for you, your family, your employees and their families. Vacations are something other people talk about. Yet despite all of this you will tell everyone you meet that working for yourself is the best thing you have ever done.
If you recognize these qualities, there might be a new businessbusiness in your future:
- Ability to defy gravity – So the first quality an Entrepreneur must have is a strong dose of healthy self-delusion that will enable him or her to persevere against all odds. Almost every friend and family member will tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t start your own business – and every one of them is absolutely right! 80-90% of all new businesses fail so what makes you think you can make it? Good question, but to you, the entrepreneur, it makes absolutely no difference at all. You know you can do this. The 80-90% that fail do not clutter up your vision – they are invisible to you – your vision is fully focused on the field where the 10-20% of successful ones play. You can’t figure out why anyone would think any other way.
- Unshackled from conventional wisdom – One of your friends finds out you are thinking of starting a business so they give you a business book to help you out. At least that is what they tell you. In reality, they are giving you the book to prove to you how utterly ill-equipped you are to be an entrepreneur. The book will tell you the degrees you should have, the financing you should have in place, the number of years of experience in the field you should have, the team of advisors, accountants, lawyers you should have in place etc. But you know in your heart, that by the time you did all that stuff, the window of opportunity for your business idea would be long gone. You are ready to open the doors and get started. Bring it on.
- Ability to create something out of nothing – A friend of mine once told me that he was astonished by the way I could seemingly create something out of nothing. I asked him to explain. He said he would see me one day on the ropes after suffering a business setback and a few weeks later fully engaged in a new product or project that was once again generating revenue. To him it was astonishing, to the entrepreneur it is as natural as breathing. Business is subject to constantly changing circumstances. The entrepreneur never sees obstacles as barriers – he sees them as launching platforms.
- Ability to embrace failure – Failure is a fact of life for an Entrepreneur. You might have small failures or colossal failures – but for certain, you will have failures. Embrace them, learn from them and just try to make sure you fail at something new each time! Do not fear failure. Failure is one of the greatest teachers there is. Remember – the only people who never fail are the ones who never try anything new!
- Faith – this is the one quality that I did not find until I was nearly through my first decade of entrepreneurial activity. The understanding that we are not in this alone and that we are accountable to God for everything we do adds a dimension to working for yourself that fully completes the package. It provides the ethical and motivational foundation for all that we do. We don’t do it perfectly, but with God’s help an entrepreneur with faith and an understanding of Biblical teaching can build a business that serves its customers well and honors God in the process.
If these qualities ring true with you, you look like an entrepreneur. What are you waiting for?
Until I find more words . . . The PeeMan