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What does an entrepreneur need in his toolbox?

There are many things that budding entrepreneurs need. Some are physical or practical. Others though are more personal and reflect a set of qualities or personality traits that will help anyone setting up in business to make it through the first few years.

They include such personal skills as Intuition, Tenacity, Vision, Self Knowledge, Passion, to NOT be Risk Averse and finally open to change.  So let’s think about these in a little more detail:

Intuition:  There is no doubt about it being an entrepreneur can be quite a lonely place at times, the buck stops with you … you are the decision maker and you need to be reasonably certain that the decisions you are taking are the right ones, given the information and knowledge you have at the time you are making the decision.  A well-honed intuition will certainly help you to get rid of the biggest of the possible mistakes you can avoid and involves trusting your own inner-guidance system which of course is something that is trained out of us at a very early age.

Tenacity: It is often a long road to success and most successful entrepreneurs had several attempts over many years before they became the success that we see today.  During that time, they will have experienced setbacks and problems; but typically they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start again.  A bit like Edison and the invention of the light bulb who when asked how he felt because so many attempts had failed replied “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”  Without that tenacity, he wouldn’t have reached his goal, in the same way, that you won’t reach yours.

Vision: we all need to have a very clear idea about where we are going unless we are happy to end up somewhere else instead.  Be clear about what you want to achieve and then create a plan that will help you get there, bearing in mind that plans change in relation to all sorts of outside influences over which you may not have control.

Self Knowledge: when we start out, it’s tempting to want to do it all ourselves, often because we can and often because it keeps costs down; but beware of this trap.  We all know what we are good at and that’s what we should be focusing on.  If you are great at sales, do the sales not the admin as you can always pay someone else to do that for you.  Recognising and understanding what skills you have, what makes you buzz and what makes you happy is a key to a long and happy entrepreneurial career.

Passion: I’ve often said I can do anything with enthusiasm but nothing with indifference.  You have to be passionate about your business, because if you aren’t passionate about then why will anyone else be.  With passion, you can move mountains and accomplish things others think are not possible.  Without, you will struggle to get out of bed in the morning and will quickly become disillusioned and feel defeated when things get sticky as they inevitably will.

Anti-Risk Averse: being in business is risky.  You no longer have the comfort of a regular monthly salary coming in and everything rests on your head.  To be risk averse means not taking the risks you will inevitably have to in order to reach the goals you are setting yourself.   Accepting that risk is inevitable and that sometimes things won’t work out as planned will make for a much easier and less stressful first few years.

Open to Change: as I’ve already pointed out, things will change as that’s the nature of life.  Especially in these days of fast technological change.  You must be prepared for this to happen and always have some kind of strategy for dealing with change that is out of your control.

If you have these qualities and then go on to develop the skills with the practical tools you can use then you will be successful.  What you are successful at is a different matter though, because that could change in an instant.

Please note: this post originally appeared on my LinkedIn account.

(Image courtesy: florianric from Deutschland)

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