You hear about the “big idea billionaires” – swashbuckling entrepreneurs who make huge fortunes making risky bets on high technology ideas that change the world. Is that you? Is that what it takes to succeed in business?
Most Entrepreneurs Are Like You and Me
Well the truth of the matter is that most entrepreneurs didn’t get rich making new bets on risky new ideas. And even today, most businesses are not technology companies. Most entrepreneurs are more like you and me. People who aren’t necessarily wild risk takers, but people who aren’t totally adverse, to taking on a little risk.
Services Are King!
In this day and age services are king! Most of the economy and most of the businesses are service businesses. Most entrepreneurs are not technology geeks. Sure, they almost certainly use some technology in their businesses, but that doesn’t mean that the technology drives their businesses.
Determination is Key to Run a Successful Business
Is there anything that really separates entrepreneurs from other people? I have started many businesses and I think the thing that really separates entrepreneurs and can help insure their success is a dogged determination to succeed. I believe that most people can succeed in their own small business over time. But it might take time. Often more time than people think.
Business Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Especially with a simple local service business, you will most likely be able to get the business up and running very quickly. But to iron-out your marketing, to build your clientele, to get your products and services fully up to speed, that can take some time. In fact, while there are plenty of exceptions, it often takes a small business a full 5 years to really hit its sweet spot. That doesn’t mean it will take that long to make money. But it may take the full 5 years to get to the point where the business is running more or less smoothly, and to where the business is hitting strong profit margins. Some people just don’t have the patience to take a business through the typically slower first several years.
Be Prepared For a Roller Coaster
In addition, the process of running a small business, especially a new one, is a roller coaster. No one likes it when a business hits a rough patch, but some people are naturally able to weather the ups and downs of running a business much better than others.
Experience in a particular field might help you, especially in the early days of starting a business, but over time it is not going to make as much difference. Over time you will pick up the experience you need. Instead what might be more important is your willingness to try new things and new ways of doing things because the business world is constantly changing. Consumers’ tastes change. New competitors and new products emerge. As an entrepreneur, you need to deal with a changing world.
You Need to LOVE the Business You Are In
Also, I think there are some people that could be massively successful at one kind of business but total failures at another kind of business. If you can find a business you really enjoy doing then you are going to find it a lot easier to be successful. For example, some people need to find a business that allows them to let their creativity shine, whereas other people will do best in a business where constant client interaction is important. There are lot of interesting businesses to choose from, so before you get committed to a business idea, do your homework and explore the many startup options.
At the end of the day there is no really special person who makes an entrepreneur. It will help if you are highly determined to be successful, it will help if you can stay committed to a business for a number of years, it will help if you can handle the ups and downs, and it will help if you select a business idea that you enjoy and that you are more likely to succeed with.
Bob Adams is a serial entrepreneur, founder of BusinessTown and author of The 300 Best Small Business Ideas. Bob’s biggest success to date is Adams Media Corporation, a publishing company he built into one of the largest independent book publishers in the U.S.