Have You Got What It Takes


Typically the term ”entrepreneur” conjures up a vision of someone who is making a lot of money being in business for themselves. Quite often that is true. Statistically speaking, seven out of ten ventures survive at least two years and 51% survive at least five years [1] – remarkable, given the economic conditions over the past few years. So what makes someone take that leap from dream into reality and hopefully financial success?  Successful entrepreneurs have certain character traits that help stack the odds in their favor. If you seek to follow in their entrepreneurial footsteps, ask yourself if you honestly have what it takes to start your own business.


According to Oprah Winfrey, one of, if not the most successful business woman in America,  “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Your business should be driven by your passion for your product or service as well as for your dreams of success. The goal is to make money, but running even a small business is too much work not to do something you love. Many successful entrepreneurs have turned a beloved hobby or specialized skill into a successful business. Read about three who did just that:


As an entrepreneur, you must have the ability to spot an opportunity or imagine something someone else did not. Have a clear picture of what direction you want your business to go in. Use your imagination. Think outside that proverbial box, but at the same time, be realistic. There may be a good reason why you have no competition in your market. But then again, perhaps others lack vision of the opportunities out there! Even as far back as 17th century writer and satirist Jonathan Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”


Hard work opens doors and shows the world that you are serious about being one of those rare – and special – human beings who use the fullness of their talents to do their very best. (Robin S SharmaYou have to be willing to get your hands dirty. Do every part of the job if you have to, and do whatever it takes to accomplish your goal. Of course there’s no guarantee of success, but you have to be willing to fully invest your time and talent, often at the expense of other interests. Make sure you have family buy-in before you begin.


There will be some hard times before and during the process of starting and running your own business, and you will have to deal with lots of obstacles. But you have to think of obstacles and even failures as opportunities to learn from your mistakes. When you may fall, figure out what you did wrong, then get back up and try again. As Thomas Edison quipped, I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”


Celebrated business leader, John C Maxwell defines a leader as “one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” Possessing a clear understanding of the mission and  strong communication skills, a true leader inspires the confidence of others as investors, customers and employees. Successful corporate leaders also have the ability to assemble a team of people to work toward achieving the company’s goals. Great leaders not only motivate their teams, they get out of the way and let their people work without micromanaging. You cannot scale your business without employees and others who are motivated to help you succeed.

When you decide to start your own business, making money and working for yourself are good things to want as an entrepreneur, but lots of hard work will be necessary to reach your goals.



Jamie Shepard
Consultant, Business Innovation Center

More info