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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 know the
            pros and cons of entrepreneurship vs.
            employment -- from the major pros and
            cons to the smallest. -- M.L.P.,
            Allendale, Mich.

            A: Rather than examine entrepreneurship, it may be a better idea
            to take the opposite approach: Are you cut out to be an
            entrepreneur?

            According to experts who have studied the entrepreneurial mind,
            most small-business owners who succeed share some common
            traits. For instance, a person who thrives on risk and is driven to
            succeed is 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 a
            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 Business
            Administration's Web site.

            PLUSES AND MINUSES.  Entrepreneurship's two biggest benefits are
            being your own boss and the financial rewards you will enjoy if
            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 a
            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," says
            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 and
            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 get
            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, can
            be a big incentive."

            Gene Fairbrother, whose Coppell (Tex.)-based MBA Consulting
            has counseled tens of thousands of entrepreneurs through the
            National Association for the Self-Employed, says personal
            motivation is the key factor in building a successful small
            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: What
            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
            if entrepreneurship is for you. If you can't -- or won't -- invest
            the time and money to solicit those opinions, says Fairbrother,
            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
            Independent Business and Wells Fargo shows most
            small-business owners report getting a great deal of satisfaction
            from their businesses, with 40% saying they are extremely
            satisfied. A majority say they spend most of their day doing what
            they like best, and 81% of small-business owners feel their
            companies are successful. If you have the right personality, those
            findings should come as encouraging news.
 

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