So, You Want To Start Your Own Business

I hear many people talk about wanting to start their own business for a variety of reasons. Certainly, many people do and are quite successful at it. Not everyone is cut out for being business owners. A lot has been written about it. Here are some ideas to pay attention to and some pitfalls to avoid.

Characteristics of Entrepreneurs:

There is plenty written about the characteristics of entrepreneurs. Lists can be overwhelming. Most people start businesses because they are passionate about something or they are good at something. Yes, traits include being opportunistic and energetic. However, I’ve noticed personally that entrepreneurs have a wide variety of personality traits. Personality traits is where most lists focus on. Many lists say that they have to be energetic, whatever that means. What is the difference that makes the difference? I look at entrepreneurial characteristics a little differently.

Here are 21 patterns of behavior and thinking….

Worth considering from my own list:

  1. Must be an Initiator or proactive: this means you are a self-starter. You are ok with going out and getting business, meeting people, making calls and follow up. In the beginning, you cannot depend alone on a website or advertising. The first people who need to know about what you are doing are friends and family. If you like to analyze and wait and put off decisions, you will be frustrated because you will know what to do but won’t do it.
  2. Must have a ‘move towards.’ In other words, you are motivated by moving toward something than trying to avoid something and good at goal setting. If you look for things that could go wrong or are distracted by negative consequences, have a hard time setting goals, you may have problems starting and maintaining a business.
  3. You must have a Plan B. In other words, have a vision and have a couple of plans to implement the vision. If one plan fails you have another in the wings.
  4. Must be a combination of ‘internal and external’ motivation. Where do you hold the standard? You must be willing to listen to your customers and help them get what they want. An Internal comes across as a know-it-all -not a great way to lead people to make a decision. An External comes across as not having the ability to make a decision. Some clients need to be told what to do. If you are waiting for your client to tell you what to do, you may be waiting for a long time.
  5. Must be a good listener and know when to tell and when to listen. Listen to understand; not to reply.
  6. Must be highly procedural. All money and business are made through Procedure. You have a step by step process for running the business, getting customers, serving customers. And you have to do it over and over again with great consistency. If you do ‘options’ then one day you’ll work and the next day you’ll do something else. Your income will go up and down. Routine focus on your business processes is a great way to ensure success on a daily basis.
  7. Must be Independent worker if you are going to work alone *especially out of your house”. There are 3 types of workers: Independent, Proximity, and Cooperative. Independent workers like to work ALONE. You are a Proximity worker if you like to work around people but have your own responsibility. Having people around doing their own job will increase your productivity. This is similar to what you would have in a company job. A Cooperative worker likes shared responsibilities. Usually, this is good for team environments. If an Independent is around others, their productivity goes down; if a Proximity is not around people, their productivity goes down; if a Proximity (such as working with a business partner) has shared responsibility (they are trying to work as a team), they will be confused and not know what to do. Arguments ensue as to who is supposed to do what. This leads to disgruntled partners and failed businesses. If you like working alone, then working out of your house is good. If you like working around people, get an office in an executive suite or partner up with someone who will have their own stated responsibilities.
  8. Be congruent with your business model: if you are an interior designer, make sure your house and office are examples of what you do for others. As a CPA, have your own taxes done on time.
  9. Congruency also means that if you expect people to pay you money be willing to pay the same for advice in your business. Don’t expect free advice and help and then have people pay you. Remember, most of the time you get what you pay for. The most successful business owners I know invest in themselves and their business (coaching, consulting, and training).

10. Decide whether you will compete on price or value. If you are going to compete on price, you have to be one of the least expensive offerings in your industry. If you compete on value you need to know what you are offering above and beyond your competition. Deliver what you promise.

11. Must be good at sales: a good salesperson has good follow-up, likes people and loves to meet them, have good rapport skills, good networking skills

12. Must know what you are good at and let the rest be done by someone else.

13. Must be able to attend to details as well as generalities.

14. Must be organized and be able to manage activities through time. Must also be organized in your behavior and thinking

15. Must know you. If you don’t know yourself and be able to manage yourself, you will not be able to manage or lead others.

16. Must be willing to ask for help and learn from others and your mistakes and be able to say, “I screwed up.”

17. Must be flexible. Recognize early on if something isn’t working and change it before it becomes a crisis. Must understand their market and change with it.

18. Must understand the cycles of change. Every organization will go through cycles where there will be high energy and growth, stability, and turbulence. Know what to do when it is turbulent. Must be so committed that no matter what you’ll stay with it even when the ride gets bumpy

19. Be clear on your customer characteristics. The more specific you are on who you want to do business with the easier it will be to get those clients.

20. Must be self-assured and be able to ignore rejection.

21. Must have a set of beliefs that support your success. If you worry about what can and will go wrong, chances are you will have difficulty maintaining a business.