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        Another AHBBO Article
        Entrepreneurship ... Do YOU Have What It Takes?

        © 2003-2017 Elena Fawkner

        Fully one in ten adults in the United States today is an entrepreneur.
        This phenomenon is by no means restricted to North America.  The
        leading country for entrepreneurship is Brazil with one in eight adults
        an entrepreneur.  Australia is not far behind the U.S. with one in twelve.
        These countries - Brazil, the United States and Australia - lead the
        way.  Contrast, for example, Germany (one in 25), the United Kingdom
        (one in 33), Finland and Sweden (one in 50) and Ireland and Japan
        (less than one in 100).  (Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
        2013.)

        ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEFINED

        The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2013 defined entrepreneurship
        as "any attempt at new business or new venture creation, such
        as self-employment, a new business organization, or the
        expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team
        of individuals, or an established business."

        ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTIVITY - AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

        Entrepreneurship is a major contributing factor to the economic
        well-being of a country both in terms of economic growth and
        job creation.  Traditionally, entrepreneurial ability tended to focus
        on the following four attributes:

        => Initiative - the entrepreneur takes the initiative to bring together
        the economic resources of land, labor and capital to produce a
        commodity (whether a good or a service) with the hope that
        such production will create a profitable business venture.

        => Decision-making - the entrepreneur makes the basic business
        policy decisions for the business, thereby setting the course of
        the enterprise.

        => Innovation - the entrepreneur is an innovator, attempting to
        introduce new products and new ways of doing things.

        => Risk-taker - the entrepreneur risks his or her time, effort,
        business reputation and invested funds in the entrepreneurial
        venture.

        THE MODERN ENTREPRENEUR

        Until recently, the above attributes, especially innovation and
        risk-taking,  were the dominant factors that defined the
        characteristics of those who chose to become entrepreneurs.

        Now, however, with corporate downsizing being a fact of life,
        many entrepreneurs find themselves thrust into the role by
        default.

        The question for anyone either finding themselves in this position
        involuntarily or thinking about leaving corporate life for the heady
        world of entrepreneurship is whether you have what it takes to be
        successful ... the "right stuff" in other words.  Some people do, in
        spades.  Others simply don't.  If you're one of the ones who just
        doesn't, either resign yourself to working for someone else or
        cultivate in yourself the qualities that successful entrepreneurs
        share.  Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are not just "born".  Well,
        some, of course, seem to be natural-born entrepreneurs, but
        for the rest of us, the qualities of entrepreneurship can definitely
        be acquired by hard work and application.

        COMMON ISSUES

        The "common denominator" issues facing all entrepreneurs
        are planning, finance and implementation.

        => Planning

        All entrepreneurs face the challenge of starting a new business,
        be it through innovation (inventing something new or doing
        something a different way), finding the right opportunity to
        get into, or buying a franchise.  Whichever road you choose,
        it will involve serious planning.

        => Financing

        Unless you have ready funds at your disposal, getting finance
        is the next major challenge and cannot be attempted until
        your business plan is in place.  You will need to prepare
        funding proposals and applications for loans, venture capital,
        and funds from angel investors.

        => Implementation

        This is make or break time.  Many people think just getting
        started is the hard part - and it is hard.  But where many
        businesses stumble is not in the planning and financing
        stages but in implementing their business plan.  Why this is
        so is not certain.  There are various hypotheses including the
        idea that ideas people and implementation people are two
        very different breeds and it is highly unusual to find one person
        who can do both.  More likely though, is the simple fact that
        implementation requires such a broad range of skills that
        no one person can possibly be adept at all of them. 

        The real challenge and skill of the entrepreneur, then, is to
        recognize what you do well and then appoint employees
        or subcontractors to do the rest.  Of course, if you're running
        a business on a shoestring, this simply may not be possible!
        So be brutally honest and objective in assessing your particular
        strengths and weaknesses BEFORE you cash in your day
        job and your 401K.

        The areas to think about in terms of implementation are
        the same as those encompassed by a broad definition of
        management:  promotion (marketing and advertising), public
        relations, sales, employees, communications, legal issues,
        plant and equipment, risk management, disaster planning,
        crisis management, insurance, technology, computer systems,
        taxes, bookkeeping, finance,  and the internet.

        PERSONAL QUALITIES

        Equally important as the common issues shared by all
        entrepreneurs are the personal qualities of the entrepreneur
        him or herself.  To start you thinking about whether you have
        the right stuff to make a success of an entrepreneurial
        venture, here's a list of character traits and work ethics
        common to successful entrepreneurs.  Although it is not
        necessary that you possess all of them, you should possess
        most:

        => Passion - entrepreneurs have a strong passion for their
        idea or concept, so much so that their work is their play.  If
        you don't like what you do, you won't stick it out when
        challenges come along, as they inevitably will.

        => Curiosity - entrepreneurs need to understand how things
        work.  They ask a lot of questions.  Curiosity therefore triggers
        innovation.

        => Sponges - entrepreneurs are sponges.  They devour
        information about their industry and are always current on
        new and emerging trends and technologies, not only in
        their specific industry but in closely related industries.  This
        habit of scanning their environment is a rich source of
        discovery of new opportunities.  Entrepreneurs are ALWAYS
        looking for new markets, applications, products or twists on
        an old concept.

        => Optimism - entrepreneurs think of problems as opportunities
        for improvements and new ideas. 

        => Forward looking - entrepreneurs are never satisfied with
        the status quo and are always proactively carving out their future.

        => Careful about money - entrepreneurs are careful with money
        and have a firm grasp on what things cost and their value to the
        business.  This allows them to recognize a true bargain when they
        see one.

        => Started earning at a young age - entrepreneurs commonly
        displayed entrepreneurial leanings as a teenager seeking out
        entrepreneurial activities such as babysitting, lawnmowing and
        lemonade stands.

        => Competitive - entrepreneurs are naturally competitive and
        don't let the grass grow under their feet.

        => Time conscious - entrepreneurs know the value of time and
        how to make the best use of it.  You won't find entrepreneurs
        spending much time on nonproductive activities.  That said,
        entrepreneurs typically also recognize the value of downtime and
        time with family and will factor these activities into their schedule.

        => Risk takers - entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking calculated
        risks.  They typically trust their hunches and act on them.

        => Usually loners - entrepreneurs generally prefer a solitary work
        environment as opposed to teamwork.

        => Professional - entrepreneurs are professional in their approach
        to work.  They operate as they would in a corporate environment
        and don't allow themselves to be distracted by outside influences. 

        => High energy - entrepreneurs have a plan and a vision and
        they work it.  Entrepreneurs are often health-conscious too,
        recognizing that the fitter they are, the better their minds work.  So
        entrepreneurs will take time from their schedule to work out and eat
        well.

        => Flexible - entrepreneurs are nothing if not responsive to change.
        Although they appreciate the importance of having a plan and working
        that plan, they allow themselves room to react and respond to
        opportunities that may suddenly reveal themselves.

        => Nurture entrepreneurial spirit - entrepreneurs seek out and nurture
        the entrepreneurial spirit in their employees and reward them
        accordingly.

        => Confident goal-setters - entrepreneurs are confident and set long-term
        goals, both for themselves personally and their businesses.  They
        view money and financial security as a measure of accomplishment
        and a source of peace of mind.

        => Persistent - entrepreneurs never give up.  They persist until they
        succeed.

        => Learn from failure - entrepreneurs learn from their failures and those
        of others.  Failure to an entrepreneur is nothing more than an opportunity
        waiting to be discovered.

        => Self responsibility - entrepreneurs take the initiative and personal
        responsibility for their success or failure (which is always a merely
        temporary state).

        => Resource utilization - entrepreneurs utilize ALL of their available
        resources.

        => Internal locus of control - entrepreneurs don't believe in luck.  They
        firmly believe that success and failure lies within their personal
        control or influence.

        THE FUTURE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

        As we all know, increasing numbers of people are electing to work
        from home either through telecommuting or running home businesses.
        While this trend has commonly been attributed to the growth in the
        number of working women wanting to be home for their children, over
        half of all people now working from home are men.

        A recent Purdue University study concluded a number of factors seem
        to favor continued high rates of new firm formation:

        1. Continuing high rates of change (change creates opportunities for
        new firms).
        2. Continued growth of the service sector (the highest growth area for
        new firm formation).
        3. Increasing number of virtual corporations in which firms outsource
        their functions, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs.
        4. Positive climate for small business - a general perception that small
        business is a positive influence on the economic wellbeing of the
        country giving entrepreneurs legitimacy and respect.
        5. Growth in international business opportunities.

        With the traditional corporate-employment track seemingly on the
        decline, the trend of forming strategic alliances with other businesses
        that are closely aligned with yours or with someone who can add value
        to your product is emerging.  In fact, futurists envision a return to
        extended community living with shared resources but individual living
        and working relationships with entrepreneurial activities being the basis
        of these communities.  Strategic alliances are a first step along this
        path.

        So, if you have determined entrepreneurship is for you, you can be
        confident that you are part of the wave of the future.  But understand
        what it will demand of you and whether you are prepared to give what
        it will take.  The allure of entrepreneurship is undeniably strong for many
        but make sure you're going into it for the right reasons.  Being miserable
        in your job does not automatically make starting your own business the
        best idea in the world.  In fact, it could be the worst reason of all to get
        into business for yourself.  The right choice may instead be to find another
        job that you won't be miserable in.  But if, taking into account everything
        that's been said above, you're adamant that you have what it takes,
        by all means take the bull by the horns and create something
        absolutely fabulous.

        More Information and Articles about How to Start A Home Business

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