If you think you’re not smart enough to start your own business, think again. Here’s what you really need to be successful.
You think you want to start a business, but you’re worried you’re not smart enough and everyone will find out. Good news: even if you were a C student, you can still succeed at business.
If you were the kid in school always trying to figure out new ways to make money off your more studious classmates, you may have what it takes.
But if you think a business degree is all that’s required, sorry, there are no guarantees. A degree may give you that extra dose of confidence, but it’s not a necessary ingredient for a successful business venture. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) In fact, only about 50 percent of small business owners have a college degree.
If you don’t need to be brilliant and you don’t need a degree, what do you need to succeed in business?
1. An innate business sense
It’s vital to have a commonsense understanding of business basics. You need to offer something people want, and they have to be willing to pay for it. You also need to deliver the product when people want it and make sure there isn’t too much competition at the price you’re asking.
Sound pretty basic? It is. But too many entrepreneurs fail to grasp the basics.
If you’re already nodding your head because this makes sense to you, you may have been born to do this. You probably honed your skills early on, like when you tested customers at your mom’s garage sale and learned you could sell more baseball cards if they were sold separately rather than bundled. Or when you discovered two paper routes were better than one, but with three, you could corner the market.
If you have this innate business sense, great. That’s not all that it takes, though.
Without passion, you wouldn’t have that deep desire to start a business or the drive to persevere when business gets tough. Passion will keep you going when you’re worried the money coming in will never exceed the money going out, or when you’re so tired from 80-hour workweeks you can’t see straight.
Passion makes you get up the next day and try again until you figure out what works. It keeps you tweaking things to make them even better. Passion is what will keep you going when everyone else tells you you’re crazy.
3. Willingness to take big risks
People may throw around scary statistics, like the number of startups that fail in the first year, and then tell you you’re crazy for trying. Crazy or not, to be successful at business, you need a high tolerance for risk. You need to be willing to take chances that may not seem rational to anyone else.
And the risks you take will be more than financial. You’ll be taking chances on people — the people you hire and the people you hope will become lifelong customers. You’ll be taking the risk that people might think your business idea is stupid — and that you are, too.
In the face of minor problems or major disasters, you must be able to laugh and keep on going. You have to press on and overcome your failures, or they will crush you and your business.
You’ll feel uncomfortable much of the time, so you might as well set up permanent residence on the edge of the cliff.
Does owning a business still sound like fun? Then congratulations, you may have what it takes. Go start your business and change the world — because that’s what we entrepreneurs do.
Mike Kappel is the president of Patriot Software, Inc., a developer of online software solutions for small businesses and a supporter of entrepreneurship. You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @MikeKappel and on LinkedIn.