Business is difficult. Eight out of 10 businesses fail within 18 months of opening.
This is a massive statistic for an aspiring entrepreneur to overcome. It's not an undertaking one should enter lightly, and it's not for the faint of heart.
Although countless people aspire to be entrepreneurs and own their own business, very few will ever open their doors – let alone cut themselves a salary – before their organizations crash and burn.
Entrepreneurs require dedication, patience, skill and luck to succeed. But they also need strong ambitions and the ability to survive in a cutthroat world.
Not just anyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
1. Entrepreneurs need dedication.
Any entrepreneur looking to start a business is going to need dedication, focus and determination to make his or her dreams a success. Nothing about starting a business will be simple or straightforward.
If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you must have the determination to see your vision through, even when you have utterly insurmountable challenges ahead of you.
This dedication will be necessary for you to find hires, negotiate bills, find people who are willing to fund your business and promote your service to potential customers.
2. Entrepreneurs should be creative.
Being a successful entrepreneur requires a lot of creativity. First, you must come up with a service or product that doesn't exist, which means identifying gaps in the market and finding ways to show the versatility, usefulness and necessity of your job.
Then, you must figure out how to make your new business dream a reality, from visualization to completion.
This means adapting quickly to changing situations that require a creative response. For example, if a bank won't give you a loan to start your shop, you'll need to think of alternate sources of funding for your startup.
You must be open-minded, flexible and willing to address issues with creative solutions.
3. Entrepreneurs need to be educated.
In order to enter a market, you need to know about it.
In order to start a business, you need to know about licensing requirements and legal obligations. In order to provide something worthwhile, you must offer customers the reassurance you know what you're doing.
Entrepreneurs must be informed, educated and aware of the world around them.
You should keep up with the current events that could affect the outcome of your business, understand spending patterns and be capable of addressing employees and customers alike with confidence and knowledge.
This means learning about your industry, learning what competitors are doing and knowing the history behind the industry you want to enter. This background knowledge is crucial to your success.
4. Entrepreneurs must be risk-takers.
Above all else, entrepreneurs must be willing to put their necks on the line. A business will not find success if you half-ass it, which means you have to throw your heart and soul into being an entrepreneur.
You must be willing to invest and risk losing money. You also must be willing to accept an erratic lifestyle and schedule, and face an uncertain future.
You don't know if your business will be one of the 80 percent that fail, or part of the smaller 20 percent that will make it beyond the 18 months. You don't know if you have a stable career, or if you'll be employed in a few months.
These are the terms entrepreneurs agree to. They're not easy, and they're not for everyone. An entrepreneurial spirit is tough, brave and headstrong.
Take a long look at yourself, your qualities and your willpower, and ask yourself if you have the ability to make it through the challenges.