Have You Got What It Takes?

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Have You Got What It Takes?

20 Characteristics You'll Need As a
Business Owner

1. The Desire To Be In Charge. As the boss, no one is going to tell you what
you should be doing or how or when to do things. From now on, it's your call.

2. Imagination and Initiative. Being the boss isn't just about telling others to
do things for you. You'll need to come up with the ideas and the goals and
inspire others to work towards these too.

3. Strong Persuasive Powers. From the bank manager, to your friends and
family, to your staff and ultimately your customers, you are going to have to
persuade everyone that what you are selling is first-rate.

4. Caution. In the first flush of enthusiasm, it's easy to rush out there before you
have thought everything through. Do your homework. Is everything in place
before you start? It is a proven fact that successful business owners are
moderate risk takers. Don't take big risks. Test the waters and take advice. In
particular, make sure that you seek professional advice where it's needed.

5. Drive. It's all very well coming up with ideas, but you'll need energy and
persistence as well as enthusiasm to get you off the ground.

6. The Ability To Work Hard. As they say, some people don't know the
meaning of hard work. In the early days, you may have to give your business
every ounce of your energy. You don't just put 24/7 on your business cards
because it sounds good. If you and your family can accept this, then you are
off to a good start. However, if you'll resent the long hours and time away
from leisure activities, you'll struggle. Be honest with yourself and find ways
to work so that you are committed for the long term.

7. Resilience. There will be times when business will slump. At times like this,
it is essential to stay positive and to find the ways and means to fight your way
back to the top.

8. Flexibility. We're not talking Yoga moves here, but if things aren't going to
plan, is there another way they could be done? Running a business is about
being able to juggle, revise and adjust.

9. Being Able To Accept Responsibility. As the boss, the buck stops with you -
whoever's fault it is. Be prepared for this and learn how to be a fixer not a

10. Having Problem-solving Ability. Good entrepreneurs don't panic or stick
their heads in the sand when something goes wrong. Instead, they find a way
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to turn things around to their advantage. Face up to any problems and fix
them as quickly as you can.

11. Being Able To See Things From Other People's Point Of View. You may
be the boss and your word goes, but make sure you also look at things from
the point of view of your customers and staff. Would you want to employ your
company? Would you want to work for you? You can't please everybody all
of the time, but without happy customers and a happy team, you won't have a
successful business. Be prepared to meet people half way if it will solve a

12. Self-sufficiency. If you are used to working alone this will not be a problem
for you. However, many people find that they miss the office environment and
the camaraderie of their peers. Be prepared for this when you decide how to
develop your business. If balancing books late into the night gets you down,
employ a bookkeeper to free up some time to spend with your family and
friends. If running a business feels like too much of a weight on your
shoulders, look into teaming up with someone who can share the burdens.

13. Leading by Example: Convey your good working practices to your staff.
Show them that you expect the same working standards that you set yourself.
Above all, motivate your staff.

14. Staying Grounded. Being the boss does not mean that everybody else gets
to do the hard work. Be fair to employees - delegate the tasks that your staff
are employed to do, but don't expect them to make important decisions or to
tackle difficult problems that should be your responsibility. Always be
prepared to step into the breach if necessary.

15. Great Organisational Skills. In business you need to plan not just for the day
or week ahead, but also for the year or years ahead. Work out systems so that
you do not drop any plates along the way, whether this means redesigning
your office space, upgrading your technology or computer skills, or taking on

16. Being Competitive. Those that succeed in business want to be the best and
stay the best. Successful entrepreneurs never get complacent. They are
continually looking for ways to grow and improve their business and put a lot
of effort into staying ahead of their competitors.

17. Controlling. There's no need to be a control freak, but make sure never to let
your business run away with you. Stay as many steps ahead as you can.

18. Honesty. Shoddy work, overcharging and promising what you can't deliver
isn't a long-term strategy for success. Customers aren't stupid. If you
unavoidably run into difficulties, tell your customers. It is surprising how
many compromises can be reached by playing it straight.

19. Being Able to Do The Sums. Simply put, money coming in has to be more
than money going out. Make sure that you have a full understanding of all
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your overheads and expenses so that you can be sure your profits really are

20. Being Willing to go The Extra Mile. Just that little bit of extra effort can go a
long way . . . making the time to attend to an emergency call out; having a
good stock of materials in your van to fix on the spot repairs; hand-delivering
flyers to houses in the road in which you are working; being punctual; being
neat; being cheerful. It doesn't have to cost you a lot but that small effort
could be the difference between you getting your next job or your competitor.
Be prepared to give 110% to all areas of your business

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Evaluate your entrepreneurial potential by completing the table
below. In each box chose between low, moderate or high and add
any comments. In the final column, add your action plan to deal with
any low-scoring areas.

Low Moderate High

To Take




Risk Taking

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Ability To

Work Hard



Ability To


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Ability To See

Things From
Other People's
Point Of View



Ability To Lead

By Example

Ability To Stay


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Ability To Stay In



Financial Control

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Going The Extra


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Do you have the right business skills?

To be successful in business requires more than being a first-rate electrician.
On top of your specialist electrical skills, have you thought about brushing
up your computer skills, your skills in financial management, or employing
and managing staff?

Here are some areas to think about. If you answer yes to most of them, you
are raring to go. If you have quite a few No's on the page, however, you may
want to take advantage of further training.

Do you have clerical and bookkeeping
Do you have first-rate communication skills?
Can you negotiate credit terms with suppliers?
Can you stay on top of money coming in and
having to be paid out?
Can you create a spreadsheet on your
Can you create a failsafe invoicing system?
Can you manage your time efficiently?
Can you manage other people?
Are you a good presenter who handles meetings
Do you have good skills of negotiation?
Can you close a deal?
Can you motivate people?
Can you write a persuasive letter or copy?
Do you know the best ways to market your
Can you see ways to expand your business in
the future and to stay ahead of your competitors?
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What are your training needs?
Experience counts for a lot, but in some areas it may be better to seek out formal
training. It is for you to identify and decide where these areas lie.

How will this be valuable to
my business?

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