Are You Startup Material? 11 Questions You Must Answer “Yes” To

Starting a business is no easy feat. The stress of building a company will take its toll on one’s physical, mental and even emotional health; it’s an eventuality. Should you decide to enter the business realm as a startup, prepare to make significant sacrifices. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either just messing with you or simply wants you to fail.

As challenging as it may be, setting up a business is also one of the most rewarding risks, even more so, when your business pans out. The future may have seemed bleak decades ago, but now, support is outpouring. Finally, investors are starting to recognize startup potential. State aid has been fueling many startups’ growth, resulting in great economic returns for many countries like the US.

The 2015 Annual Global Entrepreneurship Week proves that despite discouraging statistics of startup failures, aspiring entrepreneurs have not yet given up hope. The event generated around 800 startup business ideas for consideration—30% of which were submitted by Americans. Such figures indicate that the prognosis for startups is promising.

The reality is that not all people are born entrepreneurs. There’s a big difference between just having a great idea and making that great idea into a profitable business. A lot of entrepreneurs have brilliant concepts, but they score poorly on execution and it’s not entirely their fault. Some just don’t have the “muscle” and the business acumen to bridge the gap to making their vision a reality.

No, this is not a plot to burst your bubble, but just a reality check to help you gauge yourself before you make one of the biggest decisions of your life. Before you throw your life’s savings out the window, answer these questions as due diligence before making that life-changing decision.

1. Are You a Self Starter?

The greatest business leaders of our time had experienced a great dose of failures before they finally realized success. Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg—these entrepreneurs differ in many ways but there’s one thing they have in common—they had the courage to pursue their dreams. Lots of people have great ideas, but they quit before they even start. If you let your fear get in the way, then you will never go far in life.

There’s no easy way to build an empire. You have to start with basically nothing and no one—yes, a one-man army is perhaps what you’ll be. Expect that in the beginning, you might brace the tides alone, and the hours will be long and stressful. Despite that, you need to have the motivation to move forward if you want to make a difference. Remember that you are just a few strides away from achieving your dream, so why stop now? Be confident and take the initiative towards reaching your goals, no matter how impossible they may seem.

2. Do You Value Perfection?

Sometimes, a good dose of paranoia doesn’t hurt. By this, we mean that you won’t stop until every document is accurate and every strategy is executed in the way that you planned. Also, if they don’t, you have a contingency plan in place to save your business from eventual risks. In the event that things fail, you’re prepared for it, and you gracefully use it to your advantage. Mediocrity is unacceptable to you. You aim for perfection each and every time and you help your employees become better versions of themselves. You have high standards and you will do everything in your power to uphold it.

3. Are You a Risk-Taker?risk

Risks will always be there in life. When you feel that you can accept that the business you will venture into is a risk in itself, then you can work at mitigating and managing these risks.

4. Do You Have a Calculative Mind?

A life of risks should work in tandem with a calculative mind. A calculative mind reflects your attitude on risks, which means preparation is important. You always base your decisions based on facts, expert advice, and experience. This is especially invaluable as a leader of a startup.

Being able to think out of the box is one of the traits the most successful startup leaders possess, however, there should always be a balance between being innovative and being practical. A good leader must know when to gamble and when to play it safe.

5. Do You Have a GTD Attitude?

A “Get-things-done” attitude means you can command responsibility. Apart from being a great leader, you are also a great follower. You don’t just excel at delegating tasks; you are good at completing these tasks yourself in case your delegates fail. You are fantastic at working alone but acknowledge the value of being with a team. You do the action needed for your company to succeed. When there is a vision, there should be a corresponding action, and that’s your corporate motto.

6. Are You Passionate about Creating Something New?

Nine out of ten businesses fail because of lack of market. This means people do not need your product because it is not solving anything, thus the lack of demand. An innovative mind will help you get through this stump. You recognize that your product will be the heart of everything in your company, so you research and development a priority.

7. Are You Hungry for Growth?

Some startups hesitate to expand because they fear the unfamiliar. However, if businesses remain within their comfort zones, they will neglect growth. Good startups thrive because they are hungry for success. Rarely does a business want to stay stagnant. More than surviving the daily grind, business owners should strive for sustainability for many years to come. You must constantly look for ways to improve and learn.

A good leader will always find an opportunity to do business. This may be in the form of selling or partnering with complementary businesses to take their businesses to new heights. Sometimes, opportunities come in the form of awareness, generating leads for your businesses. Don’t be afraid to venture into new markets. Try to engage in new channels. Be aggressive without being reckless.

Persistent8. Are You Persistent?

Great entrepreneurs are where they are today because they refuse to quit despite hardships and failures. They always find another way inside the castle, so to speak. To them there is simply no way that things will not work. “Nothing is impossible” is their mantra. They keep pushing their limits because they want to succeed.

9. Do You Communicate Well?

Good communication goes a long way. If you communicate, you are sending a signal to others—employees, partners and customers—that they are an important part of your business and that you value what they have to say. When leaders let their constituents in on what’s happening to the company, it shows that the leader values transparency and solidarity. Communicating with customers on a regular basis makes them feel important—you show them that you are ready to listen to their pain points. The same is true for partners and employees.

10. Do You Have a Customer-Centric Attitude?

Your customers can dictate the rise and fall of your company. If customers are no longer interested in your product, be afraid. Be very afraid. Having a good product is nothing if your customers hate how badly you treat them. Make sure that your strategy revolves around them. Make them happy. Listen to their comments and suggestions, even if you disagree. Your customers are your best source of information. When you listen to them, you can be guided by their needs and requirements. Only when you have accurate data can you build products, services, and strategies that the customers will be interested in.

11. Are You Decisive?

There’s a thin line that separates aggressiveness and recklessness. Since you are the business owner, your decisions could make or break your company. Make sure that you weigh your options carefully and objectively. While it is important to do your due diligence, don’t let indecisiveness result in missed opportunities. Making sound and timely business decisions are critical to being a successful business owner.

Business building is an arduous task with many consequences and unfathomable outcomes. If you don’t have the skills, the motivation, and the personality to weather the challenges and problems, your business will not survive. To confirm readiness, assess if you have the qualities listed above. This will help to determine if you’re cut out to build a business.

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