Exploring Business Ownership – So You Think You Want to Be in Business? (Part 1 of 7)

This series is dedicated to helping “wannabe” business owners determine whether they’re a good candidate to venture forth into the world of business ownership.

Many times those who have been laid off or downsized, or are in danger of that happening soon, begin to actively think about business ownership. Typically, they’re tired of the uncertainly of their present position, or simply have that entrepreneurial itch and are considering striking out on their own. This may describe your situation and you might be wondering whether it’s best to continue in the employment world or if it’s time to take the plunge.

So, how do you test the waters to know if you have the risk tolerance, level of motivation, and personal attributes necessary to succeed in the business world? Read on.

So You Think You Want to be in Business

Maybe you’re tired of working for “the man” and you want your own “gig”. Or you might have a great idea that you’re sure will work. Or maybe you want to build wealth by starting and building a business to sell at a tidy profit. Or maybe you dream of creating a “gentleman farmer” lifestyle where you simply hire someone to work hard in your business, while you collect an owner’s check at a retirement resort in another state (or country). There are many reasons people start or buy businesses. Most of them have a root in the dissatisfaction with their current situation.

What Kind of People Do Well in Business?

Conventional wisdom says you have to be a “sales type” to be successful. However, Bill Gates is the world’s most famous geek, is definitely not the sales type, and didn’t even finish his undergraduate degree at Harvard, yet few would argue with his success.

While there are some traits that serve owners better than others, in my experience nearly any personality type or style can be successful in business. Rather than focusing on whether someone is outgoing, the basic ingredients I find important to a candidate’s success are a clear understanding of what they want to achieve, a high level of self-motivation, the willingness to ask for help, and the ability to change when business conditions or market needs require it.

Typically, natural sales-types are not good at detail, yet successful businesses must deliver everything promised, when it was promised. So the challenge for the sales-type is to recognize that details are important in running a business and they must have a “dot the ‘i’, cross the ‘t'” person filling these functions.

Likewise, those who see themselves as “geeks” are great at detail, but are not comfortable with the self-promotion and personal contact necessary to create prospects and generate sales. So, the challenge for the geek business owner is to recognize the importance of the sales function and ensure a sales type is in it.

So, it’s far more important to recognize that a successful business requires all personality types working together than it is for the owner to posses a particular personality style.

Everyone wants to be successful in business! In part 2 we’ll discuss what your definition of success should be.