Am I a self starter?
How well do I get along with a variety of Personalities?
How good am I at making decisions?
Do I have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business?
How well do I plan and organize?
Are my attitudes and drive strong enough to maintain motivation?
How will the business affect my family?
Measuring Your Entrepreneurial Aptitude Running your own business can be as rewarding as it is stressful.
Here are some ways to learn if you have what it takes
Q: I am thinking about starting a small
business and would like to
pros and cons of entrepreneurship vs.
employment -- from the major pros
cons to the smallest. -- M.L.P.,
A: Rather than examine entrepreneurship, it may be a better idea
to take the
opposite approach: Are you cut out to be an
According to experts who
have studied the entrepreneurial mind,
most small-business owners who succeed share some
traits. For instance, a person who thrives on risk and is driven to
better suited for an entrepreneurial career than
someone who is naturally cautious and laid back.
To a risk-taker, the daily challenge and excitement of turning a
profit by selling
a product or service is a definite plus. On the
other hand, to a person who prefers a steady paycheck and
predictable lifestyle, such pressure would be a definite "minus."
To get a
better idea of your aptitude, you might want to take a
personality quiz available on the U.S. Small
Administration's Web site.
PLUSES AND MINUSES.
Entrepreneurship's two biggest benefits are
being your own boss and the financial rewards you will enjoy
your business takes off. Equally obvious is the need for a huge
investment of hours
and sacrifice if a startup is to thrive. Never
forget that a high percentage of small businesses fail, so there is
considerable risk that needs to be considered before making the
decision to invest
your time and capital.
"Bottom line? Being employed is a much safer avenue,"
Jack Philbin, a Carlsbad (Calif.)-based small-business counselor
who works with
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).
"In small business, you typically put in much longer hours
have more responsibility for yourself and others. You're out
there by yourself,
with few mentors.
"In a corporate environment you have colleagues and
camaraderie," Philbin adds. "You move up the ladder. You get
raises and pats on the back when you do a good job. You
continuing education. As an entrepreneur, your feedback is
rougher. No one's
telling you you're doing a good job: You're
either making money or you're not. Those profits, however,
be a big incentive."
Gene Fairbrother, whose Coppell (Tex.)-based MBA
has counseled tens of thousands of entrepreneurs through the
Association for the Self-Employed, says personal
motivation is the key factor in building a successful
business. "Do you wait for your boss to come to you with an
idea or an
assignment?" he asks aspiring entrepreneurs. "Or do
you go to them with ideas for improvements?"
THE HORSE'S MOUTH. For those unsure about going into business for
themselves, Fairbrother suggests approaching 10 entrepreneurs,
taking them to lunch, and asking the following questions:
they did you do to get started? How did you achieve success,
and what you wish you
had done differently? What do you like
about the entrepreneurial life, and what do you hate about it?
Once you've gotten that feedback, you should have a good idea
entrepreneurship is for you. If you can't -- or won't -- invest
the time and money to solicit those opinions, says
don't waste your time dreaming about a business of your own.
"Right off the bat," he says, "I can tell you that you're not cut
out to be in business for yourself."
A survey released this month by the National Federation of
and Wells Fargo shows most
small-business owners report getting a great deal of
from their businesses, with 40% saying they are extremely
majority say they spend most of their day doing what
they like best, and 81% of small-business owners feel
companies are successful. If you have the right personality, those
should come as encouraging news.