Are you in a business mindset, or are you infatuated with the idea of a business?
Once upon a time, I started a business with a friend. She was a close friend, and we had been excitedly conspiring and discussing this venture for quite some time before it launched. The two of us seemed pretty well aligned in terms of interest, commitment and ability to work together, but it wasn’t too long before I realized we weren’t. The reality was that while I was ready to climb mountains and walk over hot stones for the business, she was not. After some time, we had a heart to heart in which she told me, “I really don’t have that thing you have. At night, I want to watch TV. I’m tired of rejection, and at the end of the day, I just want to get a paycheck.” It was one of the biggest disappointments I had encountered as an adult because I had become so emotionally invested in our success. As I have consulted with, worked with, and met with many entrepreneur personalities, potential business owners, and dreamers, one thing has been clear: some people have this “entrepreneurship thing,” and some people just don’t. After my initial disappointment with the idea my friend and I shared, I realized that’s okay. While many people get the itch to start a business, not everyone has the personality to necessarily make that business a success. There are definitely characteristics and personality traits that can help set you up for success. I’ve put together this list to help you assess your own mindset and assess whether you’re really ready to take the plunge.
Is the timing right enough?
I am a strong believer that no time is really perfect, but sometimes, the time is really, really not right. If you are going through a major life event, illness, in school, it MAY not be the right time to start a business-then again, sometimes these are the best times. It really depends on whether you are at a point where you can manage the highs and lows of managing a new business.
Are you pursuing a passion?
If you aren’t pursuing something you are truly interested in, you’ll soon lose interest in doing it as a business also.
Can you balance multiple projects and priorities?
One of the greatest skills a business owner needs-especially in the early stages- is managing all the things that need to be done in a business. There is bookkeeping, marketing and legal considerations, along with selling the actual product or service. And while you may have staff and processes to manage these things, the staff and processes still have to be managed.
Do you have stick-to-it-ness- aka, you aren’t easily defeated?
My son’s school always emphasized character traits that breed success; one of the traits that was frequently discussed was grit. Grit is the ability to hang in and on when times get tough. Business ownership comes with a lot of highs and lows. Being a person who can weather the storm is a crucial trait for a business owner.
Can you quickly change direction, as-needed, without losing sight of big goals?
One of the most challenging aspects of owning a business is the unexpected. You build out a plan, and it doesn’t work. An unknown force effects your business, or you get a piece of information that changes everything. You need to know how to pivot and turn without falling down in order to keep succeeding.
Do you know when to seek input, and when to ignore distractors and haters?
Having a pretty sensitive antenna for knowing when you need help vs when you want approval is really important, and something I am personally always working to master. On one hand, you need the ability to be humble and receive feedback from those you know and trust. On the other hand, you have to be able to trust yourself and be able to discern good advice from well-intending (but wrong) friends and naysayers. Finally….
Do you have an attitude for success?
You believe in yourself enough to win. You believe you can be successful and you are confident enough to plan well and set yourself up for success.
So, what if the answer to some of these questions is no? Congratulations, you’ve done an honest self-assessment. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t’ start a busy and many and all of these traits can be learned. Keep focused on areas you want to work on and continue to evaluate if the timing is right for starting your business. And if you answered yes, to most of these questions, take a look at part 2.
And be sure to check out the mini business planner!