One of the most commonly asked questions at Centech’s Medtech accelerator is straightforward: ”Am I ready and do I have what it takes to be a successful start-up entrepreneur?”
There are two ways of looking at this very important question – practically and psychologically. I recently wrote a blog post on some of the practical aspects.
To help tackle the psychological aspect, my business colleague, Steve Courmanopoulos, PhD, of Medius International, will delve into the mysteries and revelations of which emotional and psychological assets make for the best entrepreneur. Here is part one of a a three-part blog series on the intangible aspects that entrepreneurs need to delve into.
SA: I’m asked this all the time, “Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? How should I answer this question from the psychological perspective?
SC: The simple answer is, If you have to ask - you’re not ready! Entrepreneurship is not a sanctuary from the boss you hate or the job that holds little meaning for you. Entrepreneurship is a compulsion - you do it because you have to. It’s not the result of weighing a balance sheet of pros and cons. You’ll only know if you have what it takes when you actually do it! But there are some key attributes and questions that you should ask yourself about.
After more than 60 years of research on what makes a successful entrepreneur, the answer remains elusive. One thing that seems consistent across many studies is that entrepreneurs are not as risk-averse as most people. They have a dampened sense of risk that allows them to invest in their dream.
Speaking of dreams, another success factor is that entrepreneurs have a sense of purpose that transcends just making money. If making money is the goal, you’re likely done from the get-go. Money is just one external measure of success. The real measures will come from your purpose. If you want to change the world, measure your success in parameters that are meaningful to what you want to accomplish.
The question, “Do I have what it takes?” is really a function of two precursor questions:
1. Why do I want to do this? Is it to escape from a situation that I’m not happy about, or is it because I want to move towards something important?
2. How much risk can I handle? Am I willing to put my personal resources into this venture? Do I have the support of my significant other, or will they hold me back because they are risk-averse? Building a business from scratch is tough enough, you need the support of family to survive the inevitable rough spots.
Parts 2 and 3 of the psychological aspects are coming soon…
Dr. Courmanopoulos is the Senior Partner and CEO of Medius International Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to leveraging the latest in evidence-based psychology to help clients solve their biggest challenges and grow their businesses. His background includes clinical, corporate, and entrepreneurial career phases.