Entrepreneur Defined
“Any attempt at new business or new venture creation, such as self-employment, a new business organization, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team of individuals, or an established business."

Do you have what it takes?

One in ten adults in the United States today runs his or her own business. The question for anyone either finding themselves in this position involuntarily or thinking about leaving corporate life for the world of business ownership is whether you have what it takes to be successful, in other words... "the right stuff". Some people do, others simply don't. If you're one of the ones who doesn't, either resign yourself to working for someone else or cultivate in yourself the qualities that successful business owners share.

Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are not just born. Some, of course, are; but for the rest of us, the qualities of entrepreneurship can be acquired by hard work.

Thinking about starting your own company? Do you have what it takes? Is it worth all the pain and suffering?

There is no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business. However, you can improve your chances of success with good planning and preparation. A good starting place is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Carefully consider each of the following questions:

Are you a self-starter? It will be up to you - not someone else telling you to develop projects, organize your time and follow through on details. You will have to take the initiative to bring together the resources needed to produce a commodity (whether a good or a service) with the hope that such production will create a life sustainable profit.

How well do you play with others? You will need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers and professionals such as lawyers, accountants or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor or cranky staff person in the best interest of your business?

How good are you at making decisions? You make the basic policy decisions for the business, thereby setting the course of your enterprise. You are required to make decisions constantly, often quickly, under pressure, and independently.

Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be challenging, fun and exciting. But it's also a lot of work. No slacking here. You are directly responsible for the success of your business.

Can you work while others are playing? You may discover that you put in a lot more hours working for yourself than someone else, sometime 12 to 14 hour days, six or seven days per week.

How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that many business failures could have been avoided through better planning. Good organization of financials, inventory, schedules, and production can help avoid many pitfalls.

Is your drive strong enough to maintain your motivation? Running a business can wear you down. You may feel burned out by having to carry all the responsibility on your shoulders. Strong motivation can make the business succeed and will help you survive slowdowns as well as periods of burnout.

How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business start¬up can be hard on family life. The strain of an unsupportive spouse may be hard to balance against the demands of starting a business. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk.

It's true; there are a lot of reasons not to start your own business. But for the right person, the advantages of business ownership far outweigh the risks:

  • You get to be your own boss.
  • Hard work and long hours directly benefit you, rather than increasing profits for someone.
  • Earning and growth potential are far less limited.
  • A new venture is exciting.
  • Running a business will provide endless variety, challenge and opportunities to learn.

If you are an ambitious entrepreneur or an aspiring executive looking to get involved with a startup, please take the time to learn more about How to Run a Successful Online Business.


Until recently, innovation and risk-taking, were the dominant factors that defined the characteristics of those who chose to become entrepreneurs. With corporate downsizing being a fact of life, many entrepreneurs find themselves thrust into the role by default.


The common issues facing all entrepreneurs are planning, finance and implementation.

Planning All entrepreneurs face the challenge of starting a new business, be it through innovation (inventing something new or doing something a different way), finding the right opportunity to get into, or buying a franchise. Whichever road you choose, it will involve serious planning.

Financing Unless you have ready funds at your disposal, getting finance is the next major challenge and cannot be attempted until your business plan is in place. You will need to prepare funding proposals and applications for loans, venture capital, and funds from angel investors.

Implementation This is make or break time. Many people think just getting started is the hard part - and it is. But where many businesses stumble is not in the planning and financing stages but in implementing their business plan. Why this is so is uncertain. There are various hypotheses including the idea that "idea people" and "implementation people" are two very different breeds. And, it is highly unusual to find one person who can do both.

More likely though, is the simple fact that implementation requires such a broad range of skills that no one person can possibly be adept at all of them. The real challenge and skill of the entrepreneur, then, is to recognize what you do well and then appoint others to do the rest. Of course, if you're running a business on a shoestring, this simply may not be possible! So be brutally honest and objective in assessing your particular strengths and weaknesses before you cash in your day job and your savings.

The areas to think about in terms of implementation are the same as those encompassed by a broad definition of management: promotion (marketing and advertising), public relations, sales, employees, communications, legal issues, plant and equipment, risk management, disaster planning, crisis management, insurance, technology, computer systems, taxes, bookkeeping, finance, and the internet.


Equally important as the common issues shared by all entrepreneurs are the personal qualities of the entrepreneur. To start you thinking about whether you have the right stuff to make a success of an entrepreneurial venture, here's a list of character traits and work ethics common to successful entrepreneurs. Although it is not necessary that you possess all of them, you should possess most:

  • Passion - entrepreneurs have a strong passion for their idea or concept, so much so that their work is their play. If you don't like what you do, you won't stick it out when challenges come along, as they inevitably will.
  • Curiosity - entrepreneurs need to understand how things work. They ask a lot of questions. Curiosity therefore triggers innovation.
  • Sponges - entrepreneurs are sponges. They devour information about their industry and are always current on new and emerging trends and technologies, not only in their specific industry but in closely related industries. This habit of scanning their environment is a rich source of discovery of new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are ALWAYS looking for new markets, applications, products or twists on an old concept.
  • Optimism - entrepreneurs think of problems as opportunities for improvements and new ideas.
  • Forward looking - entrepreneurs are never satisfied with the status quo and are always proactively carving out their future.
  • Careful about money - entrepreneurs are careful with money and have a firm grasp on what things cost and their value to the business. This allows them to recognize a true bargain when they see one.
  • Started earning at a young age - entrepreneurs commonly displayed entrepreneurial leanings as a teenager seeking out entrepreneurial activities such as babysitting, lawn mowing and lemonade stands.
  • Competitive - entrepreneurs are naturally competitive and don't let the grass grow under their feet.
  • Time conscious - entrepreneurs know the value of time and how to make the best use of it. You won't find entrepreneurs spending much time on nonproductive activities. That said, entrepreneurs typically also recognize the value of downtime and time with family and will factor these activities into their schedule.
  • Risk takers - entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking calculated risks. They typically trust their hunches and act on them.
  • Usually loners - entrepreneurs generally prefer a solitary work environment as opposed to teamwork.
  • Professional - entrepreneurs are professional in their approach to work. They operate as they would in a corporate environment and don't allow themselves to be distracted by outside influences.
  • High energy - entrepreneurs have a plan and a vision and they work it. Entrepreneurs are often health-conscious too, recognizing that the fitter they are, the better their minds work. So entrepreneurs will take time from their schedule to work out and eat well.
  • Flexible - entrepreneurs are nothing if not responsive to change. Although they appreciate the importance of having a plan and working that plan, they allow themselves room to react and respond to opportunities that may suddenly reveal themselves.
  • Nurture entrepreneurial spirit - entrepreneurs seek out and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their employees and reward them accordingly.
  • Confident goal-setters - entrepreneurs are confident and set long-term goals, both for themselves personally and their businesses. They view money and financial security as a measure of accomplishment and a source of peace of mind.
  • Persistent - entrepreneurs never give up. They persist until they succeed.
  • Learn from failure - entrepreneurs learn from their failures and those of others. Failure to an entrepreneur is nothing more than an opportunity waiting to be discovered.
  • Self responsibility - entrepreneurs take the initiative and personal responsibility for their success or failure (which is always a merely temporary state).
  • Resource utilization - entrepreneurs utilize ALL of their available resources.
  • Internal focus of control - entrepreneurs don't believe in luck. They firmly believe that success and failure lies within their personal control or influence.

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