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Starting a small business takes a lot of courage. But, as they say, courage doesn't pay the bills. To be successful "to stay in business" you need more than courage. You need a combination of hard work, skill, perseverance, and good old-fashioned luck.

Generally, people who start their own businesses can be grouped into two broad categories. The first group consists of people who know exactly what they want to do and are merely looking for the opportunity or resources to do it. Usually, these people have already developed many of the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen field. They are also likely to be familiar with industry customs and practices, which can help during the startup phase of a new business.

The second group consists of people who want to start their own business, but don't have any real definite ideas about what they'd like to do. While these people have developed skills in the course of their employment or education, they may not be interested in opening a business in the same field of endeavour.

How you proceed will depend, in large part, on which group you're in. For those who know what they want to do, the task is a bit easier. There's no need to research business ideas and opportunities to decide which might be suitable. Instead, these folks can jump right in and assess their chances for success in the type of business they've selected. Those who merely want out of the traditional corporate world have an extra step: Choosing the right small business for you.

Know Yourself

Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It takes a special talent. Some owners of small businesses have it and some don't. Before you invest time, energy, money and a piece of your heart, it's important to do some serious self-analysis. To answer such questions as: Am I prepared to work hard and make sacrifices? Am I self-disciplined? Do I have management ability? Am I experienced enough in this field? What do I want out of life? Are my goals realistic and attainable?

Studies have shown that entrepreneurs are persevering and not easily defeated. They thrive in a challenging environment and have a tremendous need to be in control. They turn diversity into opportunity. They are risk takers. They welcome responsibility, and they are willing and able to make decisions.

Moreover, successful entrepreneurs are patient and able to wait out the sometimes slow beginnings of a business. They also are able to learn from their mistakes, trust their own judgment and have an optimistic outlook.

It's obvious: you have to love your work. And if you choose a business that meshes with your personality (the answers to the above questions should tell you about your personality), those extra hours spent won't be as difficult. The key is to identify what you enjoy doing the most and then find a business opportunity that makes use of your skills and interests.

Is entrepreneurism the right decision for you?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to go into business for yourself. Perhaps your previous work experience has not adequately prepared you to manage a business successfully. To help determine if you have the necessary skills to successfully run your own business, it is helpful to compare your traits, strengths and weaknesses to those of successful entrepreneurs. The following list is a summary of traits of a successful business owner.

  • Problem-solving: can explore innovative ways to respond to opportunities.
  • Goal-oriented: can envision a desired outcome, as well as plan and implement the activities required to achieve it.
  • Self-confidence: believes in own ideas and abilities, and conveys that belief to others.
  • Risk-taking: can abandon status quo, explore options and pursue opportunities.
  • Decision-making: ability to make prudent choices even in a stressful environment.
  • Persistence: can tenaciously pursue goals regardless of the energy and commitment required.
  • Communication: can speak, listen and write effectively.
  • Interpersonal relationships: can understand the wants and needs of others, as well as inspire them.
  • Leadership: can direct others effectively and empower their performance.

If you recognize you are weak in some of the above mentioned areas, it does not mean that you will not be able to successfully run your own business. You can work to strengthen these areas. One way to acquire these skills is to seek out a business advisor that possesses some of the traits you are lacking. To view a list of available business advisors, click here.



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