Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Sucessful Entrepreneur? Take The Quiz

Dec 22 2013, 6:12am CST | by

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Sucessful Entrepreneur? Take The Quiz
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Every entrepreneur is different. It couldn’t be any other way.

Similarly, the companies they create are as unique as they are. That, too, is a given.

And while, as we have seen, there is a common logic that the best entrepreneurs follow in building their companies, we have never really talked about the traits or characteristics that help make someone a successful entrepreneur in the first place.

Some of those traits are obvious..

Being smart is always a good thing.  And drive and determination are definitely required, given the inevitable obstacles you will face.

But those are the price of entry. They don’t seem to separate entrepreneurs from everyone else.

After studying entrepreneurs for more than 30 years, I have decided that a writer–and not a businessperson–may have identified the necessary traits, although the writer in question–William Falkner–did it inadverently.

The following is from an interview The Paris Review did with the Nobel Laureate

Question: “How much of your writing is based on personal experience?”

Faulkner: “I can’t say. I never counted up. Because “how much” is not important. A writer needs three things, experience,  observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of  which—can supply the lack of the others.”

I think those same three traits–observation, experience and imagination–are required to be a successful entrepreneur. But unlike in creating a novel, I think all three are absolutely required at all times.

However, I don’t think they should be weighted equally.

While I believe observation and imagination are always necessary, experience is a two-edged sword.

Sure, it can be helpful. But, ironically, too much experience can be a liability.

Once you gain a lot of experience, you can get set in your ways and decide you know what will work and what won’t.

I am making this up, but I am willing to bet that the people at Blockbuster knew–based on their experience–that no one would ever rent movies via mail and so they dismissed NetFlix, when it was first beginning, out of hand./>/>

Conversely, a lack of experience be an advantage. Because you don’t know how things are supposed to be done, you can forge your own path.

So, in my way of looking at things, observation and experience get full marks. Experience is worth half of either one.

And that brings to the quiz itself.

If You Are Scoring At Home

On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your powers of observation.  Are you always looking at things and finding patterns and saying “hmm, I wonder why they did X like that.”

If you do that every minute of every day, in every situation everywhere, give yourself a 10.  If you constantly walk around in a fog, give yourself a 1.  If you fall somewhere in between, write down the appropriate number.

Take the same approach with imagination.

Are you one of those people who always looks at one thing and see something else (or multiple something elses)? If you are, give yourself a 10.

If what you see is always what you see and clouds in odd shapes are just clouds in odd shapes, write down a 1.

If you fall somewhere in between, give yourself the appropriate score.

As for experience, if you are a complete newbie to the field you are considering award yourself a 2.5.  A complete and utter pro 5.  Again, if you are in the middle, grade appropriately.

Now, add up the scores.

I would LOVE to hear from successful entrepreneurs what they think the minimum score is. (Please click the “comment button” to tell me.)

But until I do, let me tell you where I come out..

Because I believe everyone is going to have to become an entrepreneur or at the very least master entrepreneurial thought and action in coming years, and because I believe becoming an entrepreneur is less scary than you think, my position is if you scored 16 or higher you should seriously consider that idea you have been toying with (at least on a part-time basis.)

And the higher the score, the more confident you have the right to feel in starting.

Start small. But start.

And do let me know what you scored, and what you think.

###

Paul B. Brown is co-author of Just Start  published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Please note this blog appears every Sunday and Wednesday.

Click on the “Following” button to get every new blog post as soon as its goes live.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bhopal fugitive Warren Anderson is dead (Roundup, Changing dateline)
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide Corp, has died at 92 after living for 30 years under the shadow of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands.
 
 
Sit-ins delayed building powerhouses: Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, Oct 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday blamed sit-ins for delaying the construction of powerhouses in the country, as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan continued protesting with supporters in the capital city for over two months.
 
 
Britain to repay part of First World War debt
London, Oct 31 (IANS) British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Friday announced that the British government will pay off part of the country's First World War debt as part of the redemption of bonds stretching as far back as the 18th century.
 
 
UN-Habitat presents the first World Cities Day
Shanghai, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), headed by former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos, Friday launched its first World Cities Day in China, to be held every Oct 31 to promote sustainable development.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Apple Outsmarts Samsung in Terms of Revenue Generation
Samsung can sell more products, but it doesn’t mean that it will earn more profit, as Apple overtakes the Korean giant with respect to the earnings.According to the Cult of Mac, Samsung earned a profit of $3.8 billion...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Apple Declares Not to Remove PCalc iOS Calculator Widget
The PCalc iOs calculator widget is free from the risk of being removed, as Apple decides not to drop it from the App Store.According to Tech Crunch, the officials of Apple have confirmed about the move, stating that it...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Seth Rogen to Act as Steve Wozniak in the Steve Jobs’ Movie
Seth Rogen has got an important role in the biopic of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, as he has been selected to play as Steve Wozniak.According to the Variety, Rogen will be advised directly by Steve Wozniak, the...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Ponzy schemer cheats residents of $22 mn, gets 15-year jail
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) If you have been one of those approached by some 'known' person for investing in something with an assurance of 'easy money', you may benefit reading about this Ponzi schemer jailed in the US...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Burkina Faso's president quits, army chief takes power (Roundup)
Ouagadougou, Oct 31 (IANS) Burkina Faso's army chief Gen. Nabere Honore Traore assumed power Friday after President Blaise Compaore announced his resignation following violent protests against his attempt to extend...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Spanish government challenges Catalonia's symbolic vote on independence
Madrid, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) Spain's government Friday challenged Catalonia's decision to hold a symbolic vote Nov 9 as an alternative to a referendum on independence stalled by the Constitutional Court. The government...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Myanmar roundtable summit discusses political issues
Nay Pyi Taw, Oct 31 (IANS) Myanmar's first five-party roundtable summit held in the Presidential Palace here Friday discussed some key political issues in the country, presidential spokesman U Ye Htut said at a press...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Jake Gyllenhaal saves outrageous clothes for Halloween
Jake Gyllenhaal always wears his ''sl***iest outfit'' every Halloween. The 33-year-old actor has revealed his dad, director Stephen Gyllenhaal, is ''obsessed'' with Halloween and throughout his childhood Jake and his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Katie Holmes would tell her younger self to 'relax'
Katie Holmes would tell her younger self to ''relax''. The 35-year-old actress, who has eight-year-old daughter Suri with ex-husband Tom Cruise, claims she never believed she could carve out a career in Hollywood while...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Joshua Jackson calls Diane Kruger his wife
Joshua Jackson calls Diane Kruger his wife. The 'Affair' star, who previously admitted he and his German girlfriend of eight years are unlikely to ever marry, doesn't like referring to the blonde beauty as his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla