What does it take to start a successful business? While there's no such thing as the perfect entrepreneur -- even Bill Gates has made mistakes -- a number of personal qualities can help you to build a successful business. If you pass muster on most of these traits, you're off and running.
1. You can delegate. No matter how smart and energetic you are, it's a mistake to try to attend to every detail yourself. Unless you're a solo act, you're going to have to trust employees to do their jobs so that you can run the business.
2. You are a teacher. In order to delegate successfully, you will need people with appropriate skills -- and they may have to learn some of those skills from you.
3. You are self-motivated. As a small business owner, you won't have a boss to tell you when to get to work. If that's a problem, keep your day job.
4. You can work with numbers. You will spend a fair amount of time keeping track of money -- expenses, revenues, taxes and the like. A math phobia won't help.
5. You don't mind making mistakes. You will make them; the trick is to learn from them and move on. Not everyone finds that easy to do.
6. You like to work. Contrary to myth, you don't need to be a workaholic to start a successful business. Many entrepreneurs find that it makes more sense to establish a reasonable working pace -- one that lets them strike a balance between work and their personal lives. That said, don't start a business unless you enjoy work. There's going to be plenty of it.
7. You don't mind selling. You'll have to sell products to customers, of course. You may also need to sell lenders or other financial backers on the prospects of your company. And you'll need to convince potential employees to accept jobs with your firm rather than going to work for the competition.
8. You don't quit easily. You'll encounter obstacles that might stymie some individuals. You'll have more success if you are the type of person who relishes such challenges. A dash of optimism helps; it will help you handle the uncertainty that is part of every venture.