June 26, 2019

Are you a budding entrepreneur?

Chris Naughton

Today we welcome Chris Naughton who is the Learning & Careers Manager at the Officers Association. Chris is very experienced coach and facilitator who has worked both in the UK and far east.

On preparing to write this blog, the best piece of advice I found on the entrepreneurial ‘mind-set’ is from Warren Avis, who built the car-hire firm:

The entrepreneur loves business first, has a one-track mind, great stamina, good judgement about people and high energy levels balanced by periods of relaxation.”

So why do some people go into their own business while others never go beyond talking about it? Why do some of those who ‘have a go’ succeed, while others fail or perhaps back out of the whole plan?

Although cash flow, effort, market crises, and luck can all play a part, personal suitability is the key factor, and in many cases the only person who can judge whether or not you are suited to run your own business is you.

I know a few entrepreneurs and asked them to list some of the characteristics demonstrated by people who should not go it alone in business. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Lazy- you should be prepared to work beyond 80 hours a week!
  • Compliant- if you are easily pushed around, you’ll get hurt.
  • Accept failure- you will sometimes lose.
  • Pessimists.
  • Poor judges of character.

Someone with the potential for business success may show the personal qualities listed below (these are my observations and is, by no means, the definitive list!).

You’ll notice that the elements that make up this list all point to a desire to learn, embrace challenge and a tendency to learn from mistakes and from others- these make up the essence of the entrepreneurs’ mindset. Try developing these qualities as far as possible:

  • A ‘doer’ rather than someone who just contemplates.
  • Enjoys working closely with people.
  • Independent and flexible.
  • Hands-on and value driven.
  • Thick- skinned.
  • Focuses effort on the key issues.

How do you fit in? If your heart sinks when comparing yourself to these qualities, don’t worry. There are many people who don’t fit ‘the perceived ideal’ but completely manage to make a reasonable living running their own business.

All I can say is to take a careful, honest, look at your own temperament, abilities and don’t forget to take your unique circumstances into account. As a first step, my suggestion is to ask yourself, family, friends, careers consultant about your skills and attitudes to help you to assess your suitability for an ‘own business’.  Ultimately you should choose someone whose judgement you trust.

Good luck!

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