3) What abilities do you need when starting a small business to become a successful entrepreneur?
According to studies conducted by the Bank of Montreal Institute for Small Business, "The Six Success Factors" for starting a small business are:
- business and industry knowledge,
- organization and management capabilities,
- marketing skill,
- customer/vendor relations,
- and vision.
Business and industry knowledge should be near the top of anyone's list of requirements for small business success. After all, how many skis or snowboards are you going to sell if you don't know anything about the products or the sport? You can acquire this knowledge through trial and error when starting a business, but you will probably have to declare bankruptcy before you learn all you need to know. My theory is that lack of knowledge is one of the prime reasons so many new business fail.
While successful entrepreneurs themselves didn't rate being well organized highly, ((William E. Jennings, "A Profile of the Entrepreneur" in Entrepreneurship: A Primer for Canadians), it's logical that organizational and management abilities are also absolute necessities for being a successful entrepreneur. You're not going to be able to satisfy many (if any) clients or customers without these skills, and you'll certainly quickly run afoul of the Canada Revenue Agency without them!
People keen on starting a small business sometimes forget about the managerial and administrative skills necessary to run a business; if you're going to start a successful small business, you need to have or develop expertise in business planning, money management, managing people, directing business operations, and directing sales and marketing operations. Business Management Basics will help you learn how to manage these aspects of starting a small business.
What are the other abilities you'll absolutely need to be a successful entrepreneur? When twenty-one inductees into the Babson Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs were questioned about the principal reasons for their success, only three abilities were mentioned by all twenty-one successful entrepreneurs; responding positively to all challenges and learning from mistakes, taking personal initiative, and having great perseverance ("Assessing Your Potential for an Entrepreneurial Career", Manitoba Industry, Trade and Tourism, 1999.) As the authors point out, all three of these successful entrepreneur behaviors can be learned!
(What do you think are the most important characteristics of a successful entrepreneur? Add your thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur here.)
Investing the time to learn the skills you need before you start your own business is especially wise because once you've decided to put so much energy into starting a small business, you're going to want it to develop into a viable, thriving enterprise. Sadly, there's a percentage of small businesses started in Canada each year that survive less than two years. Read on for tips on how you can avoid business failure.