What does it take? Can I learn how to start business successfully? That is the big question and the answer lies in our expectations. Success for one is not always success for another.

When you begin to think about getting into business for yourself, stop looking for a list of small business ideas and instead look at yourself. Why do you want to start your own business? There are many reasons and we will each have different ones.

Whatever your reason, how will you define success? Take a minute, think about it, and write it down. Most people start right out thinking about how to start business for themselves without ever thinking about the why.

Why will you do it? And by what measure will you determine success?

What are your motivations?

Many come to me looking for help and wanting to know how to start business successfully. The first thing I ask is whether they see themselves as an entrepreneur or a small business owner.

How about you? What is your motivation?

This depends upon a definition of these terms. It may seem mundane but it is important. It will help you to understand your motivations and expectations. Our motivations and expectations drive what we do and how far we go.

So … how do we define these terms?

An entrepreneur is …

An entrepreneur is a unique person. It’s often said that they are born not made and there is likely some truth to this. An entrepreneur is a person who isn’t satisfied with just starting a business or just creating an income stream as an alternative to being a wage slave.

No, this person wants to create significant wealth and significant cash flow. This means their business will typically be very high risk. You know the old adage … high risk, high reward … low risk, low reward. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and often fail, sometimes more often than they succeed.

Do they lose heart? Never!! Failures are just lessons on the way to greater success. They don’t loose sleep thinking about how to start a business successfully, they can’t imagine it any other way!

The risk is high and so is the reward. In a success, the entrepreneur creates significant wealth. This often happens within 5-7 years of the business start up. Once a success is achieved the entrepreneur sells or harvests the business to cash in on the wealth they have created. And then? Then they look for the next opportunity!

How does the entrepreneur create a business with such significant growth potential? It usually comes from the development of a new innovation. Sometimes it comes from the application of an innovation in another setting which is applied in this new setting. The innovation could be in either a product or service business or even in how the product or service is produced or delivered.

The key here is the creation of significant wealth in a short period of time.

A small business owner is …

A small business owner is also a unique person. They have decided to do something more with their life than continuing as a wage slave. They want to know how to start business and succeed.

I believe everyone has the ability to be a successful small business owner. Sometimes it requires coaching, advice, some additional knowledge. Sometimes you just need a little encouragement to start down the road to financial security.

Understand that many businesses fail each year. They didn’t always take the time to learn how to start business successfully.

Their failure is often due to a lack of planning and preparation. These are two things that you will likely not fall prey to if you heed the advice in these pages and diligently pursue the basic principles all successful businesses must follow in order to succeed.

There are many outside forces (like the economy and government regulation) that arise that impact us all. To have the very best chance of success you need proper planning and preparation. This will help to minimize the impact of those outside forces – not eliminate them.

Let’s get back to defining a small business owner. You may start a business for one of many reasons. Those reasons might include:

  • To pursue your dream or passion.
  • To create self employment income after losing your job.
  • To create a second source of income.
  • To take control of your future.
  • To diversify a risk of losing your job.
  • To create a family business.
  • To become a stay at home mom and still earn extra income.
  • To earn extra income from starting your own business.
  • To develop a business as an investment you can sell one day.
  • To develop a retirement asset.

When you think about those last two … maybe it beats investing in the stock market!

Back on point, the reasons noted are clearly different than those of an entrepreneur. This means that your business may have a much longer time horizon before it is sold, if ever. It also means that the risks you take can be much lower since you’re not swinging for the home run when you decide how to start business.

Even so, the innovation factor the entrepreneur seeks is still something you, the small business owner, must consider carefully. Innovation and the continued development of new and better ways of doing things are keys to business growth and success.

Stand still and you’ll get run over!

Your business can never, I repeat NEVER, enter a holding pattern. The status quo is an impossibility. A business is either progressing or dying. This is one of those core business principles you need to grasp.

There are no in between places, no middle ground. You must always be innovating and improving. Whether it is in your product or service that is delivered to your customer, or whether it is in how you do business, it is vital. Quit innovating and start dying, it’s that simple.

So what does it take to be a small business owner??

It takes a lot of things, but I’d like to point out two things I believe are very important. They are two things I’ve observed in successful small business owners. These people have proven they know how to start business and start it well.

The two keys relate to individual traits and lifestyle issues. Certainly there are many other issues when looking at how to start business, such as selecting the right business opportunity, proper planning and preparation, adequate funding, and so forth.

You will read more about these as you click on the various tabs above. Here though, we will look at traits and lifestyle.

Traits you need to succeed.

The traits of a successful small business owner include their skills and talents, their character, their attitude, their passion, and their dedication to key business principles.

Without these traits, which you need to read about in the linked pages, you won’t succeed for long, no one can. You, the small business owner, are generally in it for the long-term. That being so, you dare not ignore these key traits if you truly want to know how to start business well.


by Steven Schlagel – June 21, 2009