Is Starting a Business Right for You?
What makes entrepreneurs tick? Or more specifically, what are the character traits and backgrounds of the people behind all those successful ventures? The first part of this series will assist you in deciding whether you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Lot’s of books and websites start with some kind of personality-test. These must assess whether you are fit for the entrepreneurial life. Even though these self-evaluation tests can be a good starting point, it isn’t the whole story.
These kind of self-evaluations are especially effective when you already have an idea for a business. Having ideas is important, but it’s only a small step in long process, which requires other skills and personality traits.
1.1 The Basic Process of Entrepreneurship 🚀
Let’s start with the core idea of entrepreneurship. At Wavyr we believe that the core of the entrepreneurial journey is the following:
understand a problem, understand its full context, find new solutions, have the vision, courage, resourcefulness and persistence to see the solution grow into a succes.
All of the elements in that definition are essential for the entrepreneurial journey. Without those elements, the journey finished long before you started. Whether the problem you’ve identified is big or small, global or local, the ability to spot it and find new solutions is the core element of entrepreneurship.
1.2 Being social 👥
Next to having an idea and a vision on how your business is going to solve it is another very important character trait: people skills. Because to launch a successful business means that you will need to convince a lot of people that there is value in your idea. You have to realise that those people aren’t just customers, they also include employees, potential co-founders or funders.
The ability to lead, persuade, receive feedback and build your network will determine whether you will be able to bring your business to life. Especially when it comes to potential funders or investors is it that they ask themselves three important and simple questions:
- Do I like you?
- Do I trust you?
- Do I want to do business with you?
To earn the trust of a potential funder you first must be interesting enough for them to get to know you good enough to trust you. This means that even with a good idea, you are nowhere if you don’t know how to connect with your audience. This means that to succeed in this fast-paced, high pressure environment of gaining funding, you must know how to connect with the right people, and know when to use what tactic of making a valuable connection.
1.3 Feedback 🗣
What is important to realise in all these moments of making a connection with funders, selling to customers or convincing people how great your idea is, it isn’t – just – about making a connection, selling or convincing. All these moments are also about one of the most important things that you can receive as an entrepreneur: feedback.
It’s important as an entrepreneur to know how to deal with this feedback, for understanding and accepting feedback is a key factor to improving your business. One of the most common mistakes among entrepreneurs is actually not being able to correctly listen to feedback or complaints from customers. Being a successful entrepreneur means understanding when you’ve got to stick with your idea and when to listen and implement feedback.
This also means that successful entrepreneurs recognise when the journey is over. When an idea isn’t working, they understand that it’s important that they have to shift to something else fast. For failing fast is better than failing slow and long.
1.4 Working Mentality 👩💻
I know, it sounds appealing: being your own boss. No one who tells you what to do. But you have to realise that this also means that to be successful results in you challenging and motivating yourself. For there will be no one else to do it for you.
Successful entrepreneurs will always be intrinsically motivated by their own vision. They really want their solution to succeed. And they want it so bad, that they are willing to go the extra mile. They just can’t sit still while there’s work to be done (and there’s always work to be done).
Often, they are also goal oriented. They see a prize, fix their eyes on it, and impatiently and relentlessly try different tactics to get it. Which often results in quickly shifting strategies.
It’s important to be able to quickly shift strategies, for all businesses are experimental. No matter how well prepared or how well planned, starting a new venture is – and will always be – an experiment. This means that having an experimental mindset can be of great benefit to your career as an entrepreneur.
Another key element is the willingness to start small. This will enable a beginning company to try out different versions of a product to fine-tune the business model before scaling. Because scaling means you will be locked in to your business model.
1.5 An understanding of finance 💸
Research at Harvard Business School suggests that HBS graduates who have started their own business rate themselves as more experienced and confident with important financial concepts and governance than their peers.
You will have to understand how you are going to manage your money, and what governance applies for you and your business. Making financial mistakes is often the cause of a failed venture. It’s therefore important to study or refamiliarise yourself with concepts like break even analysis.
Summing up part one
- Ideas are a key element to the success of your business. But they are not sufficient enough. You also must consider your own personal background, including: your motivation and skills.
- There are a lot of tests available, and even though they can be used as a starting point, they are no more than that: a starting point.
- Being able to make the right connections and listen to feedback is a big contributor to the succes of your career as an entrepreneur
- To run your own business means to understand your own financial situation. Try to study the right tax laws and financial concepts.
Keep an eye out one wavyr.nl to read the next part of the Digital Entrepreneur’s Handbook! Part two will be published Sunday, September 9th.