Do You Have What it Takes to Be an Entrepreneur? Consider This 5-Point Check List

By Abhi Golhar

Are you thinking of setting up your own business? If so, it could prove to be the ideal career plan for you, but you'll need to be sure you're up to the challenge before venturing forth. When I first started on my journey as an entrepreneur, there were a few traits that I focused on heavily, just to confirm I was on the right path. Successful entrepreneurship calls for some personal qualities and skills, so consider these first to make sure you're right for the role. If you can apply the five essential qualities below, the signs will look promising:

  1. A vision: You'll need an initial selling idea that fits a gap or niche in the market, and the vision to adapt it in line with shifting trends. You'll also need an eye for expansion opportunities and how to make the most of them. Come prepared with a flexible, imaginative mind to seek out the most promising goals and steer around any obstacles in your way.
  2. A competitive spirit: The business world is tough, and you may need to fight hard at times to keep your place in it. Competition may call for cool-headed bargaining and ruthless competition. Would you be comfortable with this approach? Some people have a natural flair for doing smart deals or coming up with ingenious tactics for getting out in front. Do you think you're one of them? When I started my first business in high school, I learned about competition really quickly. Initially, I was afraid of it and the client rejection that could follow. Soon after, I realized that if I changed my services a bit to be more in line with what my customers wanted, I would do better, and I did. Awareness is key.
  3. Strong communication skills: Running a business frequently involves dealing with other people in one way or another. You might be employing some and selling to others, for instance. For this reason, it helps to be a sociable person and comfortable talking to people from all walks of life. There will be times when you need a thick skin, and others when you need to show tact or empathy. Therefore, strong communication skills will be a great asset (possibly even crucial), depending on your line of business.
  4. A passion for profit and the customer experience: When you're running a business, it's important to keep one eye fixed on your profit margins and customer experience at all times. As well as keeping your business afloat, you need to be always building it up to ensure its ongoing success, which means keeping money in mind at all times, rather than getting too involved in the project for its own sake. I've made the mistake of only focusing on money and the bottom line and having that focus derail the customer experience and services. Remember the two go hand-in-hand.
  5. Resilience: A business venture is, by definition, an adventure, so you must expect the unexpected. However successful you are, you will inevitably encounter difficulties and setbacks, so you'll need a cool head and calm temperament to steer through those rough waters. If you can sustain unflappable, single-minded determination, whatever the challenge, your project should be in safe hands.

You'll probably need other skills and qualities besides these five to ensure a successful business career. To get a feel for entrepreneurship entails, chat with others who have taken this route or browse their blogs and tweets. If after all your checks and considerations you've still got the itch, then go for it!

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Abhi Golhar is host of the daily radio show, Real Estate Deal Talk, and managing partner of Summit & Crowne, a real estate investment firm.

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