Lay the Groundwork

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You’ve got the idea and are ready to bring to market the next big thing. While your product or service is unique, there are commonalities amongst all successful entrepreneurs.

The Right Stuff

Experts agree that the following characteristics are essential in entrepreneurs. How do you stack up?

  • Creativity. Persons who start businesses must be able to generate new ideas, change direction as needed and employ a solution-oriented approach.
  • Willingness to take risks. Entrepreneurship probably isn’t the best fit if you rely on predictable work schedules and financial stability.
  • Initiative. An entrepreneur must be a self-starter, tackling tasks without prompting or close monitoring.
  • Communication skills. These include the capacity to build rapport with others; knack for negotiation; and the ability to clearly frame concepts, plans and situations in writing.
  • Good judgment. This includes the ability to see all sides of an issue, to approach a challenge systematically and objectively, and to make solid decisions.
  • Physical and emotional stamina. Starting a company often means long workdays and busy weekends. If you tire easily, become mentally drained under pressure or have trouble staying positive, make sure you have another person to help carry the load.
  • Ability to work independently. An entrepreneur must be able to effectively plan and organize without supervision.
  • Support system. Because the early months of a new company are fraught with uncertainty, make sure you have a support network – such as accountants, attorneys and others in your field – to consult with as needed. If this is not possible, consider using a business mentor. Organizations like SCORE, consisting of retired business owners and professionals, offer free guidance to entrepreneurs in a variety of areas.

Take a hard look at these criteria and give yourself an honest assessment. If you are lacking in one or more of these areas, think about hiring an employee or partner possessing the skills you lack. Better yet, develop these traits by working with a business coach or attending classes targeting entrepreneurs.

Forge a Positive Attitude

Successful business owners are optimists able to weather the rough spots without losing heart. This is no easy task, especially with the planning, funding and other innumerable elements involved in starting a company. To stay positive and forward thinking, use these motivational tips:

  • Set goals – short and long term. Make sure they are attainable.
  • Develop a manageable plan of action. Use a planner to list daily, weekly and monthly expectations. This will keep you focused and motivated.
  • Create realistic deadlines. Workable time frames hold you accountable and turn intangible ideas into valid goals.
  • Do it now. Procrastination can kill motivation and thwart success. If you find yourself putting off important tasks, identify why. To cope more effectively and promote a sense of accomplishment, break down chores into smaller increments.
  • Accept challenges. Obstacles to success are a fact of life, so expect and prepare for challenges. By doing so, you will be far less tempted to give up when difficulties arise – and you’ll feel more motivated when you get past them.
  • Avoid negativity. A gloomy attitude can lead to a loss of momentum. Even so, it is hard to keep an upbeat outlook when obstacles arise. To make this easier, keep your eye on your goal, practice positive thinking and remember that successful people exude positive attitudes.
  • Staff your company with positive people. Your employees should share your passion, so clearly define your vision for those you look to hire. Ask questions that draw out the interviewee’s motivations, attitude and ethics. As a team reinforce your business’ unique vision and mission so it is evident at every level.

The Arvest Business Engagement Center is dedicated to serving small and micro business customers. Our team of business advisors can help these businesses identify their unique needs and how Arvest can best support them.

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