What Great Entrepreneurs Have in Common (Infographic)

Launching–and sustaining–a successful business requires skills that don’t always come naturally.

And while no two entrepreneurs are alike–each has his or her own unique story for how they started their company–there are characteristics and personality traits that successful entrepreneurs tend to have in common. These include a penchant for optimism, the ability to handle failure, and a love of risk.

The infographic below from Schools.com explains which attributes help entrepreneurs succeed and which pose the greatest challenge for business owners. 

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Google Now Is The Killer App For Android Wear

Google’s I/O keynote may have been a bit of a jumble of different product announcements — many of which won’t be available until later this year — but Android Wear was what most people in the audience wanted to hear about. While there is plenty of Android in Google’s smartwatch operating system and while developers will be able to develop apps specifically for it, Wear in its current form is fundamentally about bringing Google Now notifications to your wrist.

While I’ve had Google Now on my phone for a long time now, the more I use Wear, the more I feel like it was custom-made for Google Now. Indeed, this is the first time I really feel Now is living up to its promise. It’s also the first time I find myself paying full attention to Now, despite its prominence on Android before.

CaptureAndroid Wear, of course, also shows you all of your notifications from your phone (and when they are interactive, Wear will automatically mimic those, too). You could push all of your phone notifications to your watch, but that would be overkill. Thankfully, Google lets you choose which applications can push to Wear. But its most useful feature — and maybe its killer feature overall — is definitely easy access to Google Now.

At this point, everybody is pretty much familiar with Google Now, but there is something fundamentally different between using it on your phone and on your wrist. Sure, the mission is the same on both platforms: Google wants to give you the right information at the right time. When you’re at work, it shows you the drive time to home. Got an appointment somewhere else? It’ll show you when to leave. At the airport? It’ll show you the barcode for your boarding pass. It’s one thing for that information to be available on your phone, but on your wrist, it suddenly becomes so much more accessible.

now_wearThat is, of course, only when Google Now gets it right — and most of the time, it does. The company has been working hard on bringing more information to Now and that has made it quite a bit more useful by regularly adding more information and new cards to it. Some cards that Google shows on the phone don’t make sense on Wear (links for topics you recently search for, for example) and those thankfully never make it to the watch.

 

Wear doesn’t always get it right, though. If you end up swiping the weather card away by mistake, for example, you can’t easily get it back. That’s a fundamental problem with Wear — and maybe the only one that really annoys me. For Google Now, at least, it’d be nice to have an easy way to flip through all of your cards at all times.

Just like Google Now brings together a number of Google’s services into one product, Wear has a similar feel to it. It’s a mix of what it has learned from Android and its ecosystem, its advances in voice recognition and its newly found design chops.

All of that comes together to bring Google Now to your wrist, and while that may sound like a minor thing, it’s actually a very useful experience. Whether that’s worth $200 to you is a different question, but after using Wear for a bit more than a week now, I can actually see myself wearing one of these watches going forward — and before this I hadn’t worn a watch for at least a decade.

In the next few months, Google will get some competition from Microsoft, Apple and a few startups in this space. For better or worse, none of them know as much about you as Google does, so it’ll be hard for them to replicate the Google Now experience. That should give Google a bit of an edge against the competition — unless the iWatch turns out to be so amazing that people will buy it even if it just shows the time and phone notifications.

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

What a CEO Learned Coaching His Daughter’s Basketball Team

Several years ago I took on the challenge of coaching my daughter’s middle school basketball team. I wanted to spend more time with her, and the team was without a coach. The problem was I had never even touched a basketball.

I did, and do, know how to run a business, however. I was pleasantly surprised, as were the girls, to find what helped me succeed in business worked to the basketball court, and vice versa.

David vs. Goliath. This was not your conventional winning team. The girls didn’t come from athletic families. They weren’t tall or well coordinated. They couldn’t shoot. They were underdogs but we turned that to our advantage.

Underdogs have to think outside the box. They can’t rely on size and strength. We had to think more strategically and find unorthodox approaches to the game. We analyzed our opponents’ weaknesses and found most teams, immediately after scoring, retreat to defend their basket, giving their opponent the opportunity to inbound the ball to their teammate without pressure and execute a well-practiced play with precision.

Lacking much skill, but we had to disrupt that flow. We had to play in real time. We had to play a full-court press, the entire game. By taking the unconventional approach, we were able to catch our opponents off-guard, which gave us the advantage. And we won, a lot.

Enterprises should be doing the same. There’s a growing competition in every industry. The companies that win are finding new, innovative ways of providing for their customers and turning them into fans. Conventions are made to be challenged. The companies that take the unorthodox approach can break through and succeed. Notice if there are any unique trends in how your competitors are operating. Why they are working?

Speed Wins. To execute a real, full-court press, my girls had to be fitter, faster and more aggressive than the competition. Through conditioning, we were a low-latency team. We played the game at a much higher and inexhaustible speed than anyone else, giving us a huge advantage over our bigger, stronger and more skilled competition.

Just as there’s no reason our team should wait until the other team gets to our end of the court to start defending, there’s no value in receiving data that could increase a company’s sales a month after the event. Enterprises should be taking an offensive stance and act on events in real time.

As a coach, I looked at the data on the court - the shot clock, the number of inbound passes, spatial geometry, shots made, the speed of our team vs. the others, etc. - and realized speed was our advantage. This is the case in business, as well. It’s not enough for companies to justcollect data. To actually see positive outcomes, businesses need to continuously process and analyze fast data in real time and take instant action. Be a low-latency business. When it comes to winning, speed is everything.

Work like a jazz band. Even on a ragtag team, everyone has a role to play and every one is vital to its success. We had two experienced players, but the rest of the team, like me, had never played the game. The challenge was how to leverage all the players in a way that would lead to victory.

These were girls who spent their time solving math problems and dreaming of becoming marine biologists, not playing sports. Rather than tell them how I thought the game should be played, I had to appeal to reason. Basketball was a math problem, and that was something the girls could understand. We developed a math equation that would ensure we would win every time. They learned the roles they each needed to play in this equation.

It all came together as a symphony but it wasn’t the structured music of a marching band like the other teams. Rather than read off sheet music and march to the same beat, our team created its own sound, its own game. The typical rhythm of a basketball game goes like this: after a player scores, the other team has five seconds to inbound the ball. Typically, this goes uncontested. That I saw to be a missed opportunity. My girls contested the inbounder, disrupting the rhythm of the game. We played more like an improvisational jazz band, agile, quick and adaptable to changes, resulting in a beautifully orchestrated force.

In the 20th-century business world, corporations were structured and predictable like a Sousa marching band. Over the last century, however, enterprises have evolved a more jazz band-like environment, embracing ambiguity, risk and adventure. Jazz musicians are often more courageous than other musicians. They have faith in their ability to choose, create and dream. That makes them great. That also makes a great company.

Hire smart people, give them the freedom to improvise and innovate, take advantage of their unique strengths. The result is beautiful music.

Attitude is everything. But a coach can’t just force players to buy into such a system. I had to take a number of morale-improving steps to show them that I believed in them and our strategy. For starters, I never raised my voice at the girls. These were 12-year-old girls with enough emotional growing pain in their lives. I wanted to create a fun environment where the girls were motivated to work harder and smarter by the prospect of success, not by the threat of negativity. I let them name our plays. “Muskrat” and “Bubbles” were two of our favorites. We had a cheer that was all about the attitude, with a little humor – “1,2,3, attitude, ha!”

This is true at my company, as well. Exhibit an unshakable belief in people and they don’t want to let you down. They actually perform better. Good employees will do good work for you, regardless. Motivated and appreciated employees will do truly great work.

Turn customers into fans. Our team parents were our biggest fans who supported us at every game. They didn’t need convincing to become fans. Businesses, however, don’t have fans from the start and can no longer get away with purely a transactional relationship, not these days with so much competition from all directions.

Companies can turn customers into fans by finding better and more personal ways to engage with them. With Big Data, the amount ofinformation companies can glean from their customers is huge. Take advantage of that data to figure out what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and act on that in real time. It is no longer a struggle, if you have the right tools. Companies that do this well, andfast, have a leg-up on their competitors. They will connect with customers much more intimately. It’s these companies that are more likely to turn customers into longtime, loyal fans that drive future revenue.

Overtime. Whether you’re a CEO or a coach, there are a number of principles that apply to winning. Speed, working together, the right attitude and thinking outside the box all can yield positive results no matter what business you’re in. You don’t have to look to business gurus or books for the Holy Grail. Sometimes, the inspiration to improve your business can be found no further away than your local basketball gym.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

 

5 Traits That Make an Entrepreneur Attractive to Investors

Boris Wertz, the founder of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Version One Ventures, meets 25 startup founders a week, but only invests in about 10 the whole year. Wertz, whose portfolio includes mobile analytics firm Flurry, online clothing startup Frank & Oak, and crowdfundingsite Indiegogo, says he knows exactly the type of entrepreneur he is looking for: a great leader who knows how to make something out of nothing and grow it without killing its original essence.

“You need two types of leadership while starting a startup: In the beginning, you need the amazing entrepreneur who can get it off the ground and start building the company,” Wertz tellsInc. “But that same leader needs to be able to bring it to scale without losing the culture.”

Below, find out the five traits Wertz looks for in entrepreneurs when deciding whether to invest. “When we see all these traits in one entrepreneur or company, we get excited,” he says. “You rarely see all five, but you can work on a few.”

1. The big idea, explained

The first sign of a great entrepreneur, Wertz says, is someone who has a big idea and the ability to impart it to others. “They need to have an ambitious vision, and everybody from an employee to a partner to an investor gets it right away,” Wertz says. “It sounds so simple, but it’s actually not. A lot of people lose themselves in too many details, or don’t have a big vision.”

2. Dedication 

The second trait is single-minded dedication. Wertz says his firm looks for people who cannot be talked out of their vision and who cannot stop working on it until it’s up and running. They look for doers, not just good orators. “They live for the startup. We love the people who can’t stop talking about their startup, even if it gets nerdy–we look for that incredible drive and passion and hard work,” he says. “They can’t imagine anything else other than building that startup.”

3. Focus 

Launching a startup is intense and takes a tremendous amount of focus and prioritization. If a CEO is worried about PR, marketing, and partnerships before the product or service is airtight, then there’s a problem. Wertz says the entrepreneurs he invests in only care about a few things, but execute them perfectly. “The best entrepreneurs know the one to three things that matter and only focus on nailing those one, two, or three things. The more focused an entrepreneur is on an opportunity the more excited we get, because they are only worried about the most important things, and that’s what will make the startup successful,” he says. 

4. The ability to attract talent 

“The fourth point for us is how good are they at attracting other people to work for them,” he says. If the entrepreneur thinks he or she can do it all alone, then Wertz will not invest. Once that hurdle is overcome, the question is if they can persuade people to join their startup. “In a competitive marketplace, especially for developers and engineers, do you tell a compelling enough story for why they should work for your startup instead of moving to Google, Facebook, or Amazon?” Wertz says. “It’s what we call “developer heat,” if people are good at attracting good people to their startup.”

5. Attention to unique details 

“Great entrepreneurs need to care so deeply about important details–details that matter for the culture, details that make the customer experience. Whatever it is that makes your startup great, you can’t be too high-level to care about these details,” Wertz says. “You see that in [entrepreneurs like] Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. They care about little product details that define their company.”

-Courtesy: Inc.com

FishBrain, A Social Network For Anglers, Nets $2.4 Million

FishBrain, a made-in-Sweden mobile app and social network for anglers founded back in 2010, has closed a $2.4 million pre-Series A round of funding, led by Northzone and Active Venture Partners.

Also biting in this round are GP Bullhound and Edastra Venture Capital, as well as existing investors Mathias Ackermand, Rikard Steiber and ALMI.

Prior to today’s round FishBrain had raised some $1.5 million, reeling in investors including Industrifonden, Umando, Henrik Torstensson, CEO of Lifesum, and Mattias Miksche, Founder and CEO of Stardoll.

FishBrain uses crowdsourced data from its angling community – cross referenced with geological and meteorological data, such as wind speed and direction and air humidity and temperature – to help other users figure out things like the best spots to fish or the best bait to use to catch a particular type of fish.

The service also lets anglers log their fishing trips and catches and share them with the rest of the community — including uploading photos to show exactly how big their catch really was.

CEO Johan Attby said FishBrain has some 430,000 registered users, a little under half of who, are active. There have been some 130,000 logged catches within the app so far.

While FishBrain’s apps (Android and iOS) are free to download, it recently launched a premium product to test the waters of monetisation. 

Upgrading to a premium account provides a more granular performance analysis for users, with FishBrain taking a big data crunching approach to offer specific predictions on which bait might be most effective in catching a particular type of fish in a specific lake. So much for a level playing field.

FishBrain claims to be the largest fishing platform of its type in the U.S. — a country which it notes has some 40 million active anglers (who collectively spend more than $48 billion annually on the sport) — but evidently it’s aiming to swell its catch of the community considerably.

Attby said the new funding would be used to accelerate product development and grow its user-base by increasing its marketing, with the US pegged as its marketing focus for this year.

New FishBrain features in the works include more premium features, intelligent recommendations and gamification elements — such as leaderboards and challenges, he said. It’s also planning to work on business development by looking for other companies to build partnerships with.

For instance Attby said that while it doesn’t have plans to develop any connected fishing hardware itself, to further offer fishers a way to quantify their performance, it would look to explore partnering with companies that do.

Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Tim He, Investment Manager at Northzone, said: “There’s a great opportunity in niche social networks. Fishing is the world’s largest hobby and digitally underserved. FishBrain is the best and fastest growing app and social network for anglers. With its world class team, I am confident FishBrain will become the go-to app for fishing.”

-Courtesy: Techcrunch

6 Avoidable Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make

Being an entrepreneur is difficult enough without falling prey to easily avoidable problems, according to Jeff Busgang, whose career spans starting companies on his won to funding them as a venture capitalist at Flybridge Capital Partners. Here are the six common errors he identified, along with suggestions for avoiding them:

1. Fighting fires rather than scaling up

Great entrepreneurs have a tendency to focus on crises: product issues, customer issues, investor issues and, of course, running out of money.  They forget a startup can’t possibly grow and succeed unless they spend the time to interview and hire great candidates.

What to do: Put aside at least two hours a week for recruiting and interviewing candidates, even if you’re not currently hiring. Ideally, you want a “stable” of potential hires whenever you need to hire somebody.

2. Doing rather than coaching.

For a startup to grow, everyone on the team must up-level every 12 months. That’s only possible if the owner helps them understand what new skills and behaviors they’ll need in order to grow themselves as the company grows.

What to do: Think of coaching as an investment in time management.  Yes, it takes longer to coach somebody to do a task than to do it yourself.  Once you’ve trained somebody, though, that task leaves your to-do list, creating time to do those things that only you can do.

3. Failing to plan for setbacks

Even the best-run companies encounter problems.  If you’re not prepared to deal with them, even a small hiccup can derail your ambitious plans.

What to do: Work with your investors and “board of advisors” to create written contingency plans, in case there are product delays, slower-than-expected sales cycles, departures of key personnel, and so forth.

4. Focusing too much on setbacks.

This is the other side of the coin.  While it’s essential to have contingency plans, if you focus too much on “what could go wrong,” you can demoralize your employees and (just as important) yourself.

What to do: Compartmentalize your planning so that it doesn’t affect enthusiasm.  Once you’ve written down your plan, put the document on a shelf and forget about it.  Let the fact that you’ve got a plan free you from having to worry about it.

5. Not enough relationship building

Entrepreneur often find themselves lurching from crisis to crisis, which leaves little time to concentrate the personal side of the journey, the building of the relationships that will matter long after the crises have passed.

What to do: Commit regularly to meeting with your investors, management team and employees to do something enjoyable that’s not related to work.  These events can be as simple as get-togethers at a local restaurant or as elaborate as a week with Habitat for Humanity.

6. Neglecting your corporate culture

Companies that win “great place to work” awards and have high retention rates (and hence lower personnel costs) always have founders or CEOs who specifically set out to create an environment where people like to work.

What to do: Making working for your company more than just a way for employees to get rich.  Give your engineers challenging problems. Give your marketers the best tools. Publically praise your salespeople.  Generously heap credit wherever and wherever it’s due.

-Courtesy: Inc.com

Who is the Right Investor for You? That Depends on Where You Are Now.

Who is the Right Investor for You? That Depends on Where You Are Now.

The key is understanding how potential investors see you, and especially how they view the maturity stage of your startup. For example, if you have a proven product, real revenue, a big potential market, and are ready to scale up the business, every investor will be interested. On the other hand, if you are a new entrepreneur, still in the idea stage, professional investors will only tell you to come back later when you have traction (customers and revenue).

Thus your startup maturity and growth stage is the primary key to success with potential funding sources. Different types of investors tend to specialize in capitalizing on businesses at different stages.  Venture capital firms look for the most mature companies they can find, Angel investors typically deal a tier lower, while friends and family are most likely to help you get started.

It never hurts to start networking personally with all levels of investors, but sending out teasers and business plans to every name you can find on the Internet is a waste of your time and theirs. It will be much more productive to categorize your startup in one of the following five stages, and limit your investor focus accordingly:

1. “I have a great idea and I need money to turn it into a business.” For investors, this is the idea stage, where you may have a great idea, but no plan, product or customers, and probably no success record in this business domain. No professional investor will be interested at this point, so count only on yourself, friends, family and fools for money.

2. “My invention and prototype works, but I need funding to continue.” Investors call this the seed stage, where money is required to build a market and a real product. Government grants and industry partners are your best bet here, but Angel investors might give you $250,000 to $1 million, if you have the right business case and credentials.

3. “The final product works great, and all the early users love it.” You are now entering the rollout stage, with money required for marketing, hiring a full-time team and a production process. At this point, most Angel investors and a few early-stage VCs will be happy to talk, assuming you have the business model validated and a large opportunity.

4. “It’s time to scale up and I need money to keep up with demand.” Congratulations! Every investor wants to be part of yourgrowth stage, after your first $1 million in revenue. They call first investments at this stage the “A-round,” and often follow with a B-round through G-round. Growth-stage investments from VCs are usually $5 million and up.

5. “The ride has been fun, but I need money to start the next big thing.” This is the exit stage for the entrepreneur, and for all earlier investors. The new investors you need at this stage are investment bankers, private equity or competitors, to buy you out via merger or acquisition (M&A), or to go public with an initial public offering (IPO).

Obviously, maturity and growth are a continuum, so the rules are never absolute. Your startup will attract a different class of investors as it passes through each stage, just as it has to supplement and tune the team, process and product to keep up with the needs of a growing company and customer base. Tune your investor pitch and funding expectations accordingly.

Another good indicator of your real stage is the valuation you can set for your company at any given moment, to determine what portion of your equity an investor will expect of their money. Prior to the growth stage, your company valuation is limited to goodwill based on intellectual property and team experience, since you have no revenue. Future opportunity size doesn’t count in the early stages.

Contrary to popular opinion, all investor money is not the same. Friends and family believe in you, and only want to see you achieve success. Angel investors probably will know your business, and want to be mentors along the way. VCs normally come with the highest expectations of board seats, controlling votes and milestones to meet.

Don’t sign up for one expecting the other. If you want to avoid all these stage and investment considerations, you can always bootstrap the business (fund it yourself and grow organically). Otherwise, be sensitive to potential first impressions you leave on every investor, and the efficiency of your time spent on funding. You will enjoy the lifestyle a lot more when you find the right investor.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

The Definition of Success, According to 5 Entrepreneur Superstars

The Definition of Success, According to 5 Entrepreneur Superstars
 
Although the definition of success is subjective, there seem to be some common themes among the ultra-successful about what success really means. Very rarely does it have to do with money alone. In fact, none of these five inspiring entrepreneurs mention money at all. No, success is something much more personal and universal — it’s all in the meaning behind the action.

So here are five quotes about success from five mega-successful entrepreneurs.

“My definition of success? The more you’re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.” –Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is the UK billionaire behind the Virgin Empire of brands that include mobile carriers, a record label and a series of international airline routes. Yet to Branson, what’s most important for success is that interactivity with the work itself.

What gets you fired up? What are you passionate about? The more you’re actively engaged in the work you love, the more successful you’ll feel and most likely from the feeling, become. Love what you do for maximum success.

“My definition of failure became not trying, not the outcome.” – Sara Blakely

While Sara Blakely’s quote is technically the definition of failure, it’s the crux of what success is: to try and try and not be afraid of failure. Success comes to those who are willing to try and risk and fail and stand up to do it all over again.

Like Blakely says, failing isn’t the outcome, it’s not trying at all. Success can only come from being willing to fail. Considering that Blakely is the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire she seems innately qualified to talk about success and the need for your willingness to fail as part of the journey.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful entrepreneurs is perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

If the key to success thus far is that you must be willing to fail and be actively engaged in your work, the next step toward success must certainly be to persevere. Success can come slowly and as the result of many, many trials and years of effort. It’s those who quit, like those who never try, that won’t make it through to success.

Jobs reminds you that much of success in life is continuing to come back and keep going. It may seem easy to look at other entrepreneurs and assume their success came overnight, yet rarely is that the case. By the time these “overnight successes” come to your attention, they’ve usually put in years or even decades of long, hard work. Don’t quit.

“Remember: If the most unique ideas were obvious to everyone, there wouldn’t be entrepreneurs. The one thing that every entrepreneurial journey has in common is that there are many, many steps on the road to success.” — Tori Burch

Tori Burch is the successful entrepreneur behind the Tori Burch fashion line brand. Burch talks a lot to other entrepreneurs about the importance of hard work and the belief in yourself to be and do your own unique thing.

Entering the fashion industry is certainly not a simple task, and it would be easy for an entrepreneur to think that in a crowded industry there was little room for success. Yet Burch has created a multi-billion dollar brand just by keeping true to the fashion and vision she loves and her belief that other women would want the same style.

Don’t get intimidated by others in your industry who are headed for success. Your journey will have lots of steps but ultimately being yourself and believing in what you have to offer will carry you through. 

“I like to be involved in things thatchange the world.” — Elon Musk

From Paypal, Tesla, Solar City, to SpaceX, Musk has certainly been a man involved in things that are changing the world. Ultimately, that seems to be where his success comes from, and it gets back to Branson’s original point: Do the things you’re passionate about.

Musk wanted to change the market and the perception of the electric vehicle. He’s achieved that mission with Tesla. Put your power and your work behind the things you’re truly passionate about and you just might change the world. Musk certainly has.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com

 

Mobile Ad Startup TapSense Announces Support For Wearable Apps, Starting On Pebble

If you’re building apps for the Pebble smartwatch and other wearable gadgets, startupTapSense hopes to bring you into the wonderful world of mobile advertising.

The company announced today that its mobile ad exchange will support wearable apps, beginning with those in the Pebble appstore. You can see a video demo of an ad below.

However, as you watch the demo (as opposed to the mock-up above), you might notice a lack of actual smartwatches. That’s because TapSense isn’t running ads on the Pebble itself. Instead, it’s helping developers target ads at iOS and Android users who own Pebble devices. The company says those ads will link directly to the promoted apps in the Pebble appstore.

In other words, developers will be able to promote their apps through the same sorts of ads used by other mobile developers. TapSense founder and CEO Ash Kumar added that Pebble’s store (where users find apps on their phones, and those apps are then synced with their smartwatches) exemplifies a model where the smartphone becomes the hub for your other wearable devices.

Having that hub is important, he suggested, because “the wearables market will remain fragmented for some time,” without any one device dominating.

To a certain extent, this may be a bit of experiment, allowing TapSense to explore wearables and giving them a leg up when and off the market really takes off. Looking ahead, Kumar said he plans to support other wearable apps in the same way. He started with Pebble because of its reach and the diversity of apps (more than 3,000).

Kumar also said that, as far as he knows, TapSense is the first mobile ad company to build this kind of Pebble support. (I emailed Pebble for confirmation but haven’t heard back.)

And yes, eventually he’d like to run ads within those wearable apps, too, particularly as they provide an opportunity to deliver real-time, relevant advertising that’s much better than “annoying banner ads.”

5 Questions to Determine If You’re Ready to Be an Entrepreneur

5 Questions to Determine If You're Ready to Be an Entrepreneur
The only difference between people who want to be entrepreneursand the ones who actually are is the work and the risk of getting started. If you feel like you want to be an entrepreneur but aren’t certain if you’re ready yet, here are five questions to help you determine your capabilities.

1. How comfortable are you with being uncomfortable? Entrepreneurship will mean a lot of uncertainty. If you’re the kind of person who needs a lot of control and a strictly scheduled life, you may not be able to handle the ambiguity that surrounds entrepreneurism. That being said, don’t think just because uncertainty makes you nervous you can’t be an entrepreneur. If you find you have a need for a controlled schedule, that trait could actually work in your favor.

Entrepreneurship requires long hours, hard work and dedication when you start out. Being able to manage your schedule and control your environment could help you with the organization of your business. However, you might want to plan before you leap in. A few great ways to do this are to stockpile savings, already have a business plan you’re prepared to work and seek out a community of support to talk you through the tough times.

2. Are you disciplined? You are totally responsible for yourself. Right now, wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing — it’s your choices that got you here. How do those statements feel to you? If you feel yourself bristling and ready to argue, then you might not be in the right mindset for entrepreneurship yet. When you start, you must take full accountability for everything — there’s no back-up plan on why you got passed over for a promotion or why you didn’t get your report done on time. Clients won’t want excuses and they’ll drop you.

Even when it’s their fault you have to be prepared to deal with the possibility that you’ll have to handle it. You need discipline to survive and stay ahead of your work, ahead of your bills and to grow your business. If you struggle with accountability and discipline, don’t rule out entrepreneurship forever. Take stock of ways your current situation could be improved by better decisions and try holding yourself accountable.

3. How’s your health? Taking care of your body is important for everyone, but can have particularly far-reaching implications for the entrepreneur. There are no sick days in entrepreneurship when you’re getting started. There’s a chance there won’t be for years. That’s going to mean you have to be productive, even when you don’t feel good, or risk missing business opportunities. You have to keep yourself in good health with diet and exercise that keeps your body strong and your mind keen.

If you aren’t a healthy person, you may want to figure out a plan for improving your lifestyle before you transition into entrepreneurship. Also important, think of how you’ll cover health insurance and medical needs when you start your journey. Get a plan for your health and work it.

4. Do you love what you do and are you good at it? There are going to be long hours in entrepreneurship. If you enjoy what you’re doing and are passionate about your project, that intense amount of work is enjoyable. Don’t fool yourself into thinking money alone will be enough to motivate you.

Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re intending to pursue as an entrepreneur and that you have the skill set to get to work. If you don’t, consider how you can improve your skills before making the leap and how you might get involved in something you’re passionate about doing.

5. Do you play well with others? You might think entrepreneurship is a solo activity, but the truth is that having great relationships is crucial to long-term success. It’s not only for the value that comes from referrals and the camaraderie of close relationships, but also for the support you will need. If you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, you’re going to have periods where you need to rely on the strength, wisdom and friendship of others.

Look for opportunities to build your network: mentors, mastermind groups and other programs will help you find the right people. Just be sure that you invest in them, too. Relationships are based on give and take. Build strong relationships and open yourself up to the great support and learning that comes from others.

-Courtesy: Entrepreneur.com