Are You the Entrepreneurial Type?
Deciding If Entrepreneurship and Running A Small Business Is For You
People often want to know if they are suited to becoming an entrepreneur. "Do I have what it takes to succeed in business?" they ask.
The answer is probably "Yes."
In Thinking Like An Entrepreneur, I devote a chapter to thinking about what types of endeavors might be best suited to your individual personality. Not all people are equally suited to all undertakings, but you should be able to find a business to match your personality and interests. There are businesses for the bold. And, there are businesses for the shy.
There are people who stumble into running a business. They inherit a business, for example. It might not be that they have any particular emotional bent to run a business, but they learn what they need as they go. Some of these companies grow quite significantly.
Some entrepreneurs are "product" or "idea" entrepreneurs. They have an idea they believe in and really want to see work. For example, the founder of Paychex suggested marketing payroll services to smaller businesses, but was rebuffed by his, then current, boss. He started his own company, providing payroll services to smaller businesses.
Daniel Goleman's Working With Emotional Intelligence says successful business people have (what else!) emotional intelligence. Part of this is self-confidence. And, being able to honestly evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses. Yet, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have shown a serious lack of what Goleman would call "social skills."
As Goleman points out, self-confidence is necessary to deal with change and is necessary to try new things and take risks. This is probably one reason why first and second generation immigrants tend to be successful entrepreneurs. It shows a willingness to take a risk.
Worry by Dr. Edward Hallowell quotes a study saying that the distinguishing factor of successful entrepreneurs is that they tend to worry a lot! I'm not sure if he's mixing up cause and effect! Or, if by 'worry,' the entrepreneurs really are just planning ahead, trying to see and anticipate problems.
I personally think most entrepreneurs are driven by opportunity and tend to think in terms of bootstrapping their ideas and goals. Bob Reiss has an excellent discussion in Low Risk, High Reward about some of the personal strengths an entrepreneur should have. Most of the needed strengths can be learned.
Below, you will find further tests and information about the "entrepreneurial personality." However, realize that some people have honestly answered such tests and have been told they were unlikely to be successful in starting their own business. They go on to establish substantial companies, anyway. Others might score well on all the questions, and, yet, have difficulty succeeding in business.