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Why Become an Entrepreneur?

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Why become an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs are found in all industries and have different motives for starting companies. The most common reason, as cited by CEOs in Inc. 500, annual list of fastest growing private companies, is the desire to control their own destiny. Related to this is a desire for job security now that large corporations regularly downsize staff and streamline operations. Other reasons include making money and building a new company. Two other important basic motives mentioned in other surveys are feeling personal satisfaction with your work and creating the lifestyle that you prefer.

Do entrepreneurs feel that going into business for themselves is worth it? The answer is a resounding yes.

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Being an entrepreneur requires special drive, perseverance, passion, and a spirit of adventure in addition to managerial and technical ability. An entrepreneur must also be able to develop and manage the company that implements the idea.

Reasons Entrepreneurs Start Companies

Reason Percentage Citing
To be my own boss or control my own life41%
To make money16%
To create something new 12%
To prove I could do it9%
Because I was not rewarded at my old job6%
Because I was laid off from my old job5%
Other1%
Source: "Inc. 500 Almanac", Inc. 500 (October 22, 1996), p. 24

The Entrepreneurial Personality
Many of the studies of the entrepreneurial personality have found similar traits. In general, entrepreneurs are:
  • Ambitious. Entrepreneurs have a high need for achievement and are competitive.
  • Independent. They are self-starters who prefer to lead rather than follow. They are also individualists.
  • Self-confident. They understand the challenges of starting a business but are decisive and have faith in their abilities to resolve problems. Entrepreneurs trust their hunches and act on them.
  • Risk taking. Though they are not averse to risk, most successful entrepreneurs prefer situations with a moderate degree of risk, where they have a chance to control the outcome, to highly risky ventures that depend on luck.
  • Visionary. Entrepreneurs believe they can create the future. Their ability to spot trends and act on them set entrepreneurs apart from small business owners and managers.
  • Creative. To compete with larger firms, entrepreneurs need to have creative product designs, marketing strategies, and solutions to managerial problems.
  • Energetic. Starting a business takes long hours. Some entrepreneurs start companies while still employed full-time.
  • Passionate. Entrepreneurs love their work. If you are not passionate about your work, you can't be an entrepreneur. It takes too many compromises and too much effort.
  • Committed. They make personal sacrifices to achieve their goals. Because they are so committed to their companies, entrepreneurs are persistent in seeking solutions to problems.
Source: "The Future of Business", Copyright © 2000 by South-Western College Publishing Company

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