About half of Americans dream of opening their own businesses, according to a recent survey by the UPS Store, but with 50% of small businesses failing within the first five years, how do you know if you're an entrepreneur ... or a "wanna-preneur"?
"When we go through recessions and people lose their jobs or are offered buyouts, many decide it's their impetus to launch their own company," says entrepreneur and business coach Daniel C. Steenerson. "But just because you can start a business doesn't mean you should."
Before you take the leap, Steenerson suggests taking an honest inventory of your skill set. He offers these ten clues that you're not cut out to launch a business:
1. You can't stand the heat.
Before you jump into self-employment, Steenerson says you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
"Every day you'll need to try something new for the first time," he says. "Growth happens at edge of comfort zone. If you're unwilling to go there, you may not be cut out for being an entrepreneur."
2. You're on the quest for quick cash.
While profit is the result of successful business, it shouldn't be why you are in business, says Steenerson, who in 1997 launched Disability Insurance Services, a provider of disability insurance products, to fill a gap in the marketplace.
"You start a business to solve problems and serve others," he says. "If you do that the cash will follow, but it can take time."
3. You have professional ADD.
Starting a business isn't about chasing the latest shiny thing; it's about picking a dream and staying with it even when times get tough.
"Being an entrepreneur requires unwavering laser focus," says Steenerson. "If you don't have patience and are unwilling to push through the tough times, launching a business might not be for you."
4. You get stage fright.
As an entrepreneur you wear many hats, and spokesperson is one. If you shy away from public speaking, overcome this issue by joining a group like Toastmasters or by hiring a spokesperson for your company.
"Opportunities don't always come to us in a scheduled manner, however. And entrepreneurs will need to be the front man from time to time," says Steenerson. "If you're uncomfortable with self promotion, it can be problematic."
5. You hate roller coasters.
When you're an entrepreneur, there are no flat surfaces. "One day you're tackling a steep hill and the next you're on a gut-wrenching free fall," says Steenerson. "You need to be prepared to hang on and enjoy the ride."
In other words, entrepreneurship isn't for those with a weak stomach.
6. You think complexity is cool.
Winston Churchill said, "Complexity is not a virtue." Steenerson agrees and says simple, straightforward businesses are often more successful.
"If your product or service is complicated, it will be hard to communicate that to your customers and your employees," he says. "A confused mind always says no."
7. You don't believe in marketing.
No matter what the economy looks like, you've got to keep marketing; it makes the business world go 'round, says Steenerson.
"When the economy declines, it's time to double your efforts because your competitors are pulling back, too," he says. "You must be willing to continue to throw revenue at marketing - no matter what."
8. You're easily winded.
Launching a business is like running a marathon. At the start, adrenalin keeps you going, but 15 miles in, you can hit the wall. Entrepreneurs are willing to push through the portion of the journey called the "middle mile" - the place where challenge and drudgery happen.
"Your feet will hurt and your breathing will be labored," says Steenerson. "Despite these inconveniences, you must place one foot in front of the other and press on. A lack of stamina is a recipe for burnout and overload."
9. You can't explain the steps of shoe tying.
Tying a shoe is complicated - and so is running a business, says Steenerson. Entrepreneurs need to be able to delegate tasks and to direct others. This means you need the ability to take a task and break it down into easy, actionable steps for implementation.
"Big ideas are a dime a dozen," he says. "Knowing how to implement them is the game changer."
10. You're a problem passer.
As an entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. You must be willing to upset the apple cart and make decisions
"Sometimes your customers will be unhappy with your decisions and you've got to be comfortable with that if it's in the best interest of your company," says Steenerson.
You must also be able to resolve problems. "Understand that if you're unwilling to handle something immediately, it will not go away," he says. "It will grow bigger."