As someone who has taken the plunge into entrepreneurship more than once, I am always drawn to Thomas Edison’s statement, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Running your own business is hard work, and it takes a great deal of perspiration to succeed. But there are plenty of attributes beyond hard work that are shared by successful entrepreneurs.
At SCORE Traverse City, we were recently introduced to the Entrepreneur Index created by eCareerFit. Based on interviews with thousands of entrepreneurs who have exceeded the five-year threshold for business success, the Index zeroes in on 12 behavioral traits that help to predict potential satisfaction and potential success as an entrepreneur.
If you are considering the life-changing move from employee to entrepreneur, understanding these traits can help you to make a better decision.
At the top of the list for predictors of entrepreneurial success is optimism — having an upbeat, positive outlook on life and work. Research shows this is closely aligned with the traits of emotional resilience (you demonstrate stability even in the face of work stress) and adaptability (you are flexible in both thought processes and work styles).
There is also a group of traits related to the drive for independence: self-determination (you believe that personal initiative and effort can lead to success), autonomy (you prefer independence at work, including not having a boss) and work drive (you are willing to work hard and long to produce results).
Achievement is another common theme of entrepreneurship. The habit of setting clear business goals is shared by many successful entrepreneurs, as is an inherent competitiveness that drives them to outperform their rivals. Persistence — the determination to persevere despite setbacks — leads many business owners through the struggles of startup and early days.
The Entrepreneur Index tells us that social skills also are predictive of small business success. Your comfort level with promoting yourself and your business to others, along with a savvy approach to expanding business and social contacts through networking, is an indicator of potential success.
Finally, the Index considers your tolerance for financial insecurity. Successful entrepreneurs, either through careful financial preparation or access to other income streams, are able to weather the monetary uncertainties of starting a new business.
Understanding your scores on these traits can help you to consider clearly which factors predict success as an entrepreneur and which factors present personal challenges to be addressed in planning your new venture. SCORE Traverse City believes this feedback is invaluable not only to those who are ready to make the leap into entrepreneurship, but also to current business owners who would like to advance their satisfaction and success.
On Oct. 5, SCORE is launching a new workshop, “Assess Your Entrepreneurial Skills,” that allows you to take the Entrepreneur Index assessment and helps to interpret the results. The workshop will be held at the Woodmere branch of Traverse Area District Library, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. Though workshop enrollment is already full, you may call (888) 796-4913 to be added to a waiting list. Leave your name, phone number and email address, and you will be contacted if there is an opening to attend.
Alexander Eagleton grew his temporary help agency from a single office to three offices with 600 workers. His expertise ranges from marketing and management to operations, bookkeeping and insurance. Alex became a certified SCORE mentor in 2015.