Is Entrepreneurship Right for You?

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone.  If you ask 10 people if they are an entrepreneur only 1 of them will say yes.  One of the better definitions for the word “entrepreneur” is as follows:  a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

I meet a lot of people who claim to be some type of entrepreneur.  Here are the questions I always start with to see how much of a true entrepreneur they really are.

Support from others – Never start any type of business if you do not have the support of those who really matter to you.  You may start a business and you may be successful at it.  However, the business will be a constant sticking point between you and your spouse, family, and friends.  I have seen relationships and families torn apart by business concerns, failures, and even successes.

Sales ability – You are constantly in sales mode as a small business owner.  Few new businesses can afford the luxury of a sales staff so that position falls to the entrepreneur.  I have known several business owners who are great sales people.  They cannot do their financials, follow up with their customers, nor keep up with business regulations, but they can sell, and they usually run themselves into the ground trying to keep up with an ever increasingly demanding schedule.  Remember that after the sale is made you actually have to follow through and deliver your service or product.

Negotiation skills – This lost art is one of the most critical skills you can bring into any business.  Again, most people think that because they can buy a car they have negotiation skills.  Simply stated you are trying to come to an agreement.  Negotiation is not compromise, nor is it win win.  In any negotiation decide what is your acceptable bottom line and negotiate up or down from there.  Should you see that you are not going in the direction you desire either reset the conversation or terminate the conversation.  Never settle for the best you can get as this again will be a constant source of irritation for you and your business.

Trust your instincts – You get gut feelings for a reason.  And as an entrepreneur starting a new business you will get a lot of these.  Hopefully these gut feelings are based on experience and not fear.  I call it being 80% ready.  The amount of energy it will take to get you to from start to a 60% solution for your business startup is the same amount of energy it will take you to get from that 60% to 80%.  Then, the multiplier takes over where that same amount of energy, drive, backbone, and planning will get you from 80% to 90%.  You will never get to 100% so do not even try.

Risk Taker – Get real here.  A real risk taker is not a foolish person.  They assess the situation and take the appropriate action.  When I was in pilot training I had an engine explode on takeoff once (actually more than once in my flying career).  There was always a risk of mechanical failure when flying high performance machines.  My instructor taught me a very valuable lesson that day.  He did exactly nothing when the explosion took place and smoke boiled into the cockpit.  He was assessing the situation and waiting to see what I would do.  The bold face procedure for this problem is as follows:

FLAPS – 60%

This is what I did as soon as I figured out we really had an engine failure.  Flying gets exciting sometimes.

Get a mentor – This is the most critical part of being a true entrepreneur.  Find someone who will tell you the truth about you and your business.  Working with a mentor is no guarantee for success.  Not working with one is a guarantee for failure.  Success is scary.  Having success and not knowing why is even scarier.

We here at ASBC welcome entrepreneurs with open arms, but we ask these questions first before we ever sit down and get down to business.

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