How do I determine whether I am capable of starting a business?

Small business owners come in a variety of personalities and temperaments, however there are a few common traits shared by most successful entrepreneurs.

  • Willingness to sacrifice—If you enjoy working the nine to five, do not go into business for yourself. Entrepreneurship often requires many more hours beyond the forty-hour work week. If you have a passion and are willing to work all hours to nurse your business while she is still learning to walk on her own, then you probably have what it takes.
  • Interpersonal skills—You will be required to interact with a host of people other than customers, such as lawyers, employees, and salespeople. If you do not like talking to people you do not know, it might be better to keep your day job. Sales will be a critical aspect in those early days, and if you are unable to talk to people to make those initial sales, your business may not survive until you are able to hire a full time sales person.
  • Leadership ability—You will be the one everyone turns to for the answers. Are you ready to call the shots? Taking ownership of decisions and accepting the consequences (good or bad), is essential in a business person. This helps us learn an improve both personally and as a business.
  • Optimism and persistence—Being able to hang in there when business gets tough is an important quality in small business owners. There is usually light at the end of the tunnel. Most business owners give up too soon. Most businesses that fail, do so in the first few years of operation. If you are able to pull through those initial, rough few years, the chances of a brighter future look positive.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a successful business person is their ability to continuously learn. Be that from personal mistakes, other successful business people, or from reading as many books as possible, this trait differentiates great business people from good business people.