You have an idea for a business and you are wondering if it has potential to turn into a career. But this potential also depends on you: your personality, your skills, and your professional abilities. The real question is: do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Even though there is no single profile that defines an entrepreneur, we’ve identified the main strengths required to make your journey a successful one. We consulted the experts at Acclr and the Info entrepreneurs network as well as some relevant articles.
An entrepreneur is:
- Confident (in themselves and in their skills) and enthusiast;
- Autodidact and resourceful;
- Creative, imaginative, and curious;
“An entrepreneur must have a drive to succeed and a passion that will fuel them to overcome the challenges they will face.”
These could be summed up in one sentence: an entrepreneur needs nerves of steel and knows how to take risks. More precisely, they must have:
- A tolerance to risk.
Leaving a stable job to start your own company is a gamble you are making on your future. It’s your first challenge. Risks are a daily occurrence in the life of an entrepreneur, but they are calculated risks. However, some think they can be mitigated by who you are (your composure, your work ethic, your leadership skills…) and what you have (a network, money, information…).
- An ability to manage stress. This is essential to avoid making emotional decisions. You are able to adapt to ambiguity and uncertainty.
- Your ability to accept failure.
In your personal life and in business, you know how to bounce back from failure. You are able to learn from this experience to grow and improve. It is in fact a necessary step on the road to success.
- A work ethic.
Starting a business is a 24/7 job at least for the first two years, until you earn an income and obtain a return on your investment. You need to be aware of the sacrifices this requires.
- A healthy and non-emotional relationship with money.
You’ll need to be able to wisely manage your finances, to rely on a nest egg you’ve built up at the beginning and set aside savings when you do get contracts to be able to survive slow periods.
An entrepreneur can rely on their:
- In-depth skills in management and administration.
These are needed to oversee the operational aspects of your business. According to Stéphane Castellani, they are critical. He says an idea is only responsible for 30% of the project’s success whereas excellent operational skills account for more than 50% . Without these precious abilities, you’ll find it hard to succeed.
You need to be able to perform tasks related to several fields: marketing, accounting, customer service, human resources…
An entrepreneur ready to launch their business has…
- A need to achieve, to create something from their own hands.
- A solid business plan and an ability to easily explain their business model.
“An entrepreneur needs to show they’ve done their research and homework, that they know their product or service and their target clientele.”
- A willingness to be financially responsible for at least 25% of the cost of the project.
- A network, the cornerstone of success, that includes partners selected for their skills that are complementary to your own.
Mistakes to avoid
- Launching a business for the wrong reasons (you don’t want to work for anyone else, but you want to turn your bosses into clients; the fantasy of getting rich quickly; schedule flexibility).
- Underestimating the usefulness of a market study and business plan.
- Thinking that you can do everything on your own. On the contrary, you need to be able to delegate.
- Base the future success of your project on governmental subsidies.
“To become a good entrepreneur, you need to want to change the world, not only make money.”
Entrepreneurship is much more than a career, it’s a life project. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and know exactly when to launch your business.
Read more on this topic with the Info entrepreneurs series of articles
Avez-vous l’étoffe d’un entrepreneur?, Les Affaires, 2013.
Pourquoi ont-ils réussi leur start-up ou leur entreprise?, Le Journal du Net, 2011.
5 signs you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, Entrepreneur.com, 2017.
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur, Entrepreneur.com.
Should you be an entrepreneur?, Harvard Business Review, 2010.
 Pourquoi ont-ils réussi leur start-up ou leur entreprise?, Le Journal du Net, 2011.