As people are laid off, forced into early retirement or cannot find a job after graduation, more and more people are starting or considering starting their own business.
Now is actually one of the best times to start a small business and almost half a million businesses were created in 2011. Anyone can start a business, but do you have the characteristics and strength that it takes to overcome obstacles and make smart decisions?
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve experienced not only great success but great failure.
Having started my first business at age 23, I felt compelled to share some of my favorite insights in the The Everyday Entrepreneur with today’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in order to help them succeed in today’s tough economy.
Realizing I wanted to share more than just my knowledge, I interviewed 10 visionary entrepreneurs such as Jeff Hoffman, member of the founding team of Priceline.com, and Ken Davenport, a Broadway producer who revolutionized the way shows are financed by using the crowdsourcing method for his latest Broadway hit, Godspell.
So, what makes a great entrepreneur?
One of the interesting things I discovered in my interviews with other entrepreneurs is that we all started young and almost all of us had a paper route as a kid. You don’t see kids delivering papers anymore, but when I was growing up, most paper routes were delivered by kids before they went off to school.
Another common theme is our work ethic. That trait developed young and carried us through our teenage years, whether it was selling Cutco Knives door to door like Ken Davenport or selling Burpe seeds like Jeff Hoffman, but we were always finding new ways to make money. We were the first ones in the office and the last ones to leave and we were constantly in motion, always looking for the best new product or service.
An important characteristic that we all share is the ability to take risks.
Every entrepreneur needs to be comfortable with the fact that they are the bottom line; it starts and ends with them. Striking out on your own is not an easy decision.
Are you comfortable potentially going without a stable salary? Not knowing when your next deal will close? How will you handle a major supply line issue?
Entrepreneurs take small risks every day, but to win big, you need to take big risks. One of the entrepreneurs I interviewed even compared being an entrepreneur to skydiving. You need to check your parachute, know your jump and be prepared, but you also need to be able to jump out of the plan.
Some basic questions you need to ask yourself before starting your own business:
- Are you ready to take big risks?
- Are you ready to be the force that constantly moves your organization forward?
- Can you be the dynamic leader or the industry expert that your role will demand?
These are just the first of many questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on your own entrepreneurial journey. Is it always easy? No. Will there be days that discourage you? Yes. But for myself, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. (credit, r, basso, d, bischoff)