The two essential ingredients for success in any new venture is a good business idea and the right people to turn that idea into a business.It has been said that factors such as work values, educational history, family examples, cultural and environmental influences all impact upon and determine a person’s choice of action in becoming a business entrepreneur.
The crucial test is determining the suitability of yourself and your staff to the venture at hand. You would need to determine suitability in terms of qualifications, training, experience, practical knowledge and achievements in your chosen field of interest. The primary reason why people fail in business is due to a lack of business and technical experience in the area of business they are in. Now, what are the key qualities demanded of a successful entrepreneur?
- WILLINGNESS TO INVEST A MINIMUM OF 12 HOURS DAILY THROUGH THE LIFETIME OF YOUR BUSINESS
If you are unwillingly to engage a minimum of 12 hours daily Monday to Saturday in the running of your business then it is better not to start at all. A huge amount of time requirement is necessary in the running of a business and as the business expands and grows different challenges and different roles may be taken on but the primary time commitment never changes. This is a life long requirement. You would be required to make this time commitment in advance of any potential payoff. This is why it is called a time investment. Most prospective business entrepreneurs tend to under estimate the massive time commitment required to make a potential business succeed through the various aspects of its life cycle. Don’t for once imagine that Business startup is flowery, fun and exciting it could be drudgery, slavery and hard, hard work. In my experience, your business would take away your social life and if great care and wisdom is not exercised it could take away your marriage and your family so be very cautious in making a commitment.
- WILLINGNESS TO COMMIT TO LIFE LONG LEARNING
The fundamental reason why entrepreneurs fail in Business is inadequacy of management skills. A technical person such as an IT Consultant may want to start his own IT consultancy firm but all he really knows is the technical side of his profession. Having a technical flair of your profession is quite different from having business and management skills in the running of a business in your profession. It is not enough to have in this case IT skills, you must have an understanding of bookkeeping, accountancy, people management, marketing, sales, internet marketing, economy trend analysis, industry and sector monitoring, changing lifestyle trends anticipation, contingency planning among others. Most business people fail because they are unable to build on their primary technical skills and learn to be proficient in other management areas. To succeed you must commit to lifelong learning in your technical field and in the running a business. Business failure would result if you cannot commit this way. You must be a step ahead of your game through knowledge.
- WILLINGNESS TO PAY THE PRICE OF SUCCESS IN ADVANCE
There is a price to pay in order to succeed at anything. Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and top personalities in their field have paid phenomenal prices in terms of time, money, learning, daily practice, personal sacrifices in order to succeed. Success is not delivered on a platter of gold. You have to labour and sacrifice for it. If you are unwilling to sacrifice you cannot succeed in Business. Entrepreneurs are driven people who have an unquenchable desire to make something out of their lives and their ventures. Nothing is too difficult and nothing impossible in their quest to achieve their goals. They are goal driven with fixed end points in their minds per time.
- WILLINGNESS TO TAKE RISKS AND CALCULATED STEPS
An entrepreneur differs from an employee on the basis of the level of risk he is willingly to take in the process of making a living or building a lasting legacy. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. They strive on risk. The greater the level of calculated risks they are willingly to take the greater the level of their ability to succeed. Employees are zero risk takers and therefore their financial reward structure is a function of their risk profile. Entrepreneurs are able to measure the level of acceptable risk per project and then develop a risk situation to match the level of acceptable risk before proceeding with a venture.
- WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
An entrepreneur takes responsibility for every area of his life whilst the employee only takes over assigned office responsibility. The more responsibility you undertake to accept, the greater your ability to succeed in business. Your motto must be ‘If it is going to be, it is up to me’ No one owes you a living ticket. You must make your way in life. Shifting blame or engaging the blame culture would not work in business. You are responsibility for where you are today in life.
- WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE, THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE THE KEY OF CHANGE
Willingness to change or engage the key of innovation determines success in the entrepreneurial world. Business cannot be as usual. Those who innovate change the world. Your ability to change your world lies in your willingness to innovate. A common business adage is ‘innovate or die’ But what is innovation? According to Professor Paul Burns in his book ‘Entrepreneurship & Small Business [Startup, Growth and Maturity] quoting Peter Drucker [the Management Guru] ‘Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or a different service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned and capable of being practiced.’ While, innovation may not necessary be a strength you can learn to be innovative.
- REALISM OR REALISTIC SELF ASSESSMENT
An entrepreneur must have a realistic self concept of what he can or cannot do so he can delegate appropriately and make wise choices. Most people are self deceiving. They basically exaggerate to themselves what they are capable of achieving. You must realistically know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to assess opportunities and threats as they arise. The ability to screen yourself in terms of the traits you possess such as proactivity, self motivation, vision orientation, ability to take risks, persistence, ruggedness would determine whether or not you survive and thrive in the marketplace.
- A POSITIVE OUTLOOK OR BEING OPTIMISTIC
Entrepreneurs are masters of faith. They dwell on faith and succeed by faith. Faith here being defined as a positive belief in a brighter future. Entrepreneurs concentrate on a brighter future. They are futuristic thinkers and are therefore not discouraged by seeming failure or low result situations. They are generally optimists and have little or no time for pessimism. You need positive energy and an optimistic outlook to make it as an entrepreneur. Seeming failure must not derail you on your road to success. Failure must be seen as the necessary rungs on your ladder of success. Failure must be not be ignored but dissected, studied and lessons extracted therefrom. Ford Motors introduced a car called Edsel in 1957 which became a dismal failure however Ford Motors instead blaming the customer assigned market research teams to find out why it failed. The result of that research was the creation of a new car called Thunderbird which became a runaway success.
- AN ABILITY TO ENDURE, A DEMONSTRATION OF RUGGEDNESS AND PERSISTENCE
Giving up is not in the dictionary of Business Entrepreneurs. They don’t quit. They continue to try until they hit success. The difference between a successful entrepreneur and a failure is that the successful entrepreneur continues to fail until he succeeds while the failing entrepreneur continues to succeed in his failure and gives up before he can succeed. It is a timing issue. A persistence issue. Thomas Edison tried to produce the incandescent bulb for 9,999 times before succeeding. Abraham Lincoln failed for about fifty years of his life before becoming the President of the USA. Your ability to endure pain, suffering and stress determines how far you can go in the business of life.
- DECISION MAKING SKILLS
Speed, quick response and accurate diagnose of business situations determine the rise or fall of corporations in the marketplace. A failure of accurate decision making often spells disaster and failure to many promising business ventures. The man or men at the helm of affairs must be able to make critical accurate decisions based on an accurate assessment of intervening factors in a given case. Verne Harnish and the editors of ‘Fortune’ in the book titled ‘The Greatest Decisions of All Time’ highlights Business Generals and decisions they took that changed the course of history not only for their corporations but for the world. For instance Henry Ford’s decision to double the wages of his employees created a customer revolution that help create United States of America as the wealthiest nation of the world. Again the decision of the Apple Board in 1996 to bring Steve Jobs back created a plethora of inventive products and services such as the ipod, itunes and Apps store, iphone, ipad, mini ipad that has made Apple the most valuable company in the world with a market capitalisation in excess of $479.56 Billion as at December 2012.