The idea of starting a business of their own is an exciting one for many college students. However, it’s important to look beyond the freedom entrepreneurship provides and appreciate the qualities it takes to succeed as a solo business person or the owner of a start-up business.
While there’s no set formula that guarantees self-employment success, resiliency is essential for any entrepreneur. A person with this skill doesn’t become overly optimistic when things go well or devastated when challenges come along.
Instead, he or she keeps plowing along at an even keel. Here are some other personal traits than can increase the likelihood of a successful business venture:
1. The ability to sell: Selling doesn’t refer to only products and services. Someone going into business for themselves should be prepared to do a lot of selling in the early days. This includes selling ideas to investors and potential customers, selling the vision of the company to prospective employees, and selling his or her own leadership skills across the board. Those who are uncomfortable with this aspect of entrepreneurship may find their opportunities severely limited.
2. Planning: The Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that all new business owners create a business plan that includes the following: Executive Summary, Company Description, Market Analysis, Organization & Management, Service or Product Line, Marketing & Sales, Funding Request (if applicable), Financial Projections, and an Appendix. This requires a lot of time and research, which is why many people skip it and then run into problems running their business right away. The website SBA.gov offers numerous resources for those just getting started with entrepreneurship.
3. Customer-centric: One thing a business person can never forget is that customers pay his or her salary. That means doing whatever is necessary to keep them happy. New business owners would do well to set aside time each day to respond to customer calls, emails, and requests to meet in person. Listening to customers and hearing their praises and criticisms can help the business grow and improve.
4. Have a long-term focus: Many entrepreneurs are so excited to get started that they don’t plan beyond the first few months. In addition to creating a formal business plan, seasoned business professionals recommend quarterly planning sessions either individually or with co-founders or those in high-level positions.
Things might not go exactly according to plan, especially at first. However, getting in the habit of future planning is one way to ensure that the company stays on track with its goals. It’s also important to realize that it could take several years for the business to be profitable.
5. Confidence in self and others: Without self-confidence, no one would have the courage to create a start-up in the first place. Confidence allows entrepreneurs to make mistakes and learn from them as well.
After making a business-related decision, a confident person moves forward without second-guessing himself or herself. It’s also essential for the new business owner to show confidence in those he or she has hired to assist in the new venture. That relieves the pressure of having to accomplish everything alone.
Developing an eye for talent and having the interviewing skills needed to hire the best candidates is essential to building a strong team.
The enthusiasm and new ideas of entrepreneurs can be a great benefit not only to themselves, but to the larger society also.