Should You Be in Business for Yourself The Northwestern Mutual test is based on 60 questions that were asked of 30 successful entrepreneurs and an equal number of successful If you keep asking that question then try this quiz feature Ц to executives who work as employees. The entrepreneurs included men help you arrive at the answer.
and women whoТd started unique franchising operations, retail chains By Peter Lohr and manufacturing companies. The employees ranged from bankWhen financial problems plagued the family farm in Loomis, branch managers to chief officers of multinational corporations.
Neb., Betty Isaacson faced two options: either augment the familyТs inУWhat we were looking for,Ф says Braun, Уwere significant difcome with an outside job or try to sell the wood-and-fabric decorations ferences between the two groups.Ф And while the answers to many she often made at home for friends. Without hesitating, she chose the 69 questions showed little disparity Ц both groups almost unanimously said oneТs own way,Ф explains Braun. In the survey, almost three times as they were УpersistentФ, УcompetitiveФ and Уwilling to work eight hours a many entrepreneurs admitted to childhood stubbornness as did nonendayФ Ц in at least 22 questions the responses differed dramatically. trepreneurs. Add 1 if you were a stubborn child; if not, subtract 1.
To get a rough idea of your Entrepreneurial Quotient (E.Q.), sim- 7. Were you a cautious youngster, the last in the neighborhood to ply answer yes or no to the following questions, tallying your score as try diving off the high board you go. While this is not the complete test, it will at least provide some If, as a child, you were reluctant to take risks, this may be a sericritical signposts on the road toward a decision. ous handicap when embarking on a new business. Nine of ten entrepre1. Are you a first-generation American neurs regarded themselves as УdaringФ youngsters, while only 15 perIn the Northwestern Mutual survey, 50 percent of the entrepre- cent of the employees did. Score minus 4 for yes, plus 4 for no. If you neurs listed themselves as first-generation Americans, while only 23 were a particularly daring child, add another 4 points.
percent of the employees had a similar background. Score plus 1 if your 8. Do you worry about what others think of you answer was yes and minus 1 for no. УEntrepreneurs often speak of having the faith to pursue different 2. Were you an honors student paths despite the opinions of others,Ф says Northwestern MutualТs Surprisingly, few entrepreneurs rated themselves as Уtop Schuenke. Fifty percent of the entrepreneurs did not worry about what achievesФ in school, whereas almost two-thirds of the corporate execu- others think of them, but only eight percent of nonentrepreneurs felt that tives did. Other studies reveal the same pattern. Score minus 4 for yes, way.
plus 4 for no. In an earlier study at Babson College, 90 percent of 56 entrepre3. Did you enjoy group functions in school Ц clubs, team sports, neurs expressed a far greater need for independence than did nonentreeven double dates preneurs. Subtract 1, if opinions of others matter a lot of you; if not, add 1.
If you did not relish group activities, donТt worry. As students, 67 9. Are you in a rut, tired of the same routine day in and day out percent of the entrepreneurs said they were enthusiastic group partici- Boredom often helps to spark an enterprise. Sixty-one percent of pants, compared with 92 percent of the nonentrepreneurs. Score minus 1 the entrepreneurs who responded to Northwestern MutualТs questionfor yes, plus 1 for no. naire cited a Уdesire for changeФ as a factor in starting their own busi4. As a youngster, did you prefer to be alone frequently ness. A study of 21 successful entrepreneurs at Babson found that in If you answered yes, youТre in good company. In their earlier many cases Уfrustration is a prime motivation for an entrepreneurial years, 39 percent of the entrepreneurs often preferred to be alone; about career.Ф If altering your routine is an important motivator for you, add 85 percent of the nonentrepreneurs, however, frequently sought com- 2; if not, subtract 2.
pany. Score plus 1 for yes, minus 1 for no. 10. Would you be willing to dip deeply into your Уnest eggФ Ц 5. As a child, did you have a paper route, a lemonade stand or and possibly lose all you invested Ц to go it alone some other small enterprise Most successful entrepreneurs Ц 94 percent in the survey Ц will Running a business as a child is a strong prediction of success. tell you they would use a big chunk of their savings to start a business.
Nearly 80 percent of the entrepreneurs had some sort of business as a Only about half of the nonentrepreneurs said they would take the same youngster. That compares with 31 percent for the nonentrepreneurs. risk. If yes, add 2; if not, subtract 2.
Add 2 for yes; subtract 2 for no. 11. If your new business should fail, would you get to work im6. Were you a stubborn child mediately on another Tenacity and perseverance are hallmarks of most successful en- Ninety-four percent of successful entrepreneurs replied yes. Only trepreneurs. УThese qualities translate into a determination to do things eight percent of the employees did. УThe most effective entrepreneurs 71 do not become discouraged by a setback,Ф Jeffry A. Timmons writes in step without a cool drink. I didn't realize it then, but I had responded to The Entrepreneurial Mind. УThey see opportunity where others mostly the first precept of an entrepreneur: I had recognized a need.
see obstacles.Ф If you fit that description, add 4; if not, subtract 4. My grandfather staked me to five dollars to buy 100 bottles of 12. Are you an optimist Coke. But before I could take my first step into the world of high fiA positive attitude is important for the entrepreneur. УAt least a nance, I had to set a prie for my goods. With naive boldness, I settled half-dozen people warned me that the economy was bad and the compe- on a markup of 100 percent! tition too tough for starting my photography business,Ф recalls Bob Business was brisk the first day and got better as th week proSatter. УBut I was convinced I could make a go of it Ц and did.Ф If you gressed. You would have thought I was a pint-size John D. Rockefeller.
consider yourself an optimist, add 2; if not, subtract 2. My grandfather was of that opinion. So you can imagine his shock Now look at your final score. If you tallied roughly plus 20 or when, having sold my entire stock, I had only four dollars to show for more, that suggests you have everything going for you. A score of zero my efforts.
to plus 19 isnТt as promising, but still points toward a strong head start. Few of my customers could afford to pay ten cents for a bottle of If you scored between zero and minus 10, your chance of making soda. Many couldn't even afford the nickel I needed to break even. It it in your own business is probably marginal. Finally, an E.Q. below was so hot that I couldn't bear to let anyone go away empty-handed, so I minus 11 is a clear signal that your talents may lie elsewhere. So, if you trampled my bottom line by giving away my merchandise. My first arenТt in business for yourself rejoice! If you are, and have made it a business was.a financial failure, but it sure built up a lot of good will.
rousing success in spite of your score, remember: entrepreneurs donТt Entrepreneurs can be found everywhere Ц from fellows with outalways do well on tests! door lunch wagons to people within the corporate mainstream. Their common bond is that they are risk takers, willing to roll th dice with SOME QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION their money or put their reputations on the line in support of an idea or a 1. Do you agree with your results Do you think you can work project. They're following their own visions, and hve decided to make for yourselves Can you give your reasons for or against it the sacrifices necessary to achieve success.
2. Do you agree with the very idea of such kind of test or maybe In 1968, after 18 years at Lever Brothers and Playtex, I left my itТs useless job. I had long thought of doing something on my own, but it was talking with friends and attending a seminar on entrepreneurship that gave TEXT me the push I needed. I bought into the Benrus Corporation. Then in 1979 I acquired the Remington Company.
Are you an Entrepreneur Thirty-five years of experience has given me a good idea of the entrepreneur's profile. To find out if you have the right stuff, ask yourHere's how to tell if you've got what it takes. Victor Kiam Conself:
densedfrom УGoing For It! How To Succeed As An EntrepreneurФ.
1. Do I have enough self-confidence Before the startof the When I was eight, the streetcar named Desire ran only four blocks baseball season, Pete Rose was asked how many times at bat it would from my home in New Orleans. But the Sound of eager Desire racing take to get th 95 hits lie needed to break “у Cobb's record. Rose rethrough the night did not inspire me Ц as it did Tennessee Williams Ц to sponded, УNinety-five. I expect to get a hit every time up.Ф spin a passionate taie. Instead, it invited the entrepreneurial muse to You must believe in yourself. In a corporation, you want th peowhisper the suggestions that guided me to the path l'm still traveling.
ple working under you to follow your lead; you want your superiors to That summer I noticed that people getting off the streetcar at the respect your judgment. If you're running yotir own business, you want end of the day looked as if they would pass out if they had to go another 73 investors to place their money and trust behind you. You want your relaxing weekends may be few and far between. I've even seen entreclients to catch your enthusiasm and to believe in your product or ser- preneurs whose marriages fell apart because they forgot about their vice. How can you inspire them if you don't believe in yourself spouses. That's one sacrifice I don't recommend! If you lack self-confidence, find some. Lack of confidence isn't a 4. Do I recognize opportunity This is a key. Get used to examindisease, it's a symptom. Self-perceived negatives can rob you of a ing all angles of a proposition. Ask, УHow can this work for meФ healthy ego.
I learned this the hard way. When I was with Playtex I met an inEvery six months, to deal with mine, I do a personal balance venter who showed me two pieces of nylon fabric and demostrated how sheet. I make a list of my pluses and my minuses. For example, I was they adhered without hooks, zippers or snaps. All I could think about once a procrastinator. Confronting tins in black and white helped me to was the lack of applicability for our brassiere business.
overcome it. I started making it a point to tackle distasteful jobs first. In That product was Velcro. And not a day goes by when I don't see a short time, procrastination disappeared from my list of minuses. Facit used somewhere.
ing my negatives, I developed a more positive sense of myself. There is 5. Am I decisive You'd better be. As an entrepreneur, you're on nothing on ту list I can't overcome if I make the effort. Try a balance your own. And you're going to encounter situations where time isn't on sheet of your own.
your side. At Lever Brothers we were launching a new product, an im2. Do I have confidence in ту venture l've been asked, УWhen proved wrinkle cream. We planned a major promotion in Ohio stores, you make an investment, are you backing the idea or the people behind with a famous makeup man flying in from New York to apply th gook.
itФ Both. No entrepreneur is a miracle worker. You can labor 16 hours But he suddenly became ill and couldn't come.
a day, seven days a week, but if your product is lousy, you've wasted What do I do now I thought. So I spent th next 24 hours in a your time.
crash course in makeup, using a secretary as a guinea pig. Poor woman.
A friend of mine is a terrifie shoe salesman. When management I practiced until her face was raw.
of the business changed, the quality of the stock dropped-off. A cusMy moment of truth came with ту first customer, the wife of a tomer complained that the expensive shoe she was about to buy was too store president. 1 applied the product and she left without comment.
snug. Ќе offered to stretch it. УI gripped the shoe and pulled,Ф he told Two days later she came back. lier husband had liked the results so me. УIt tore in half. What had been a finely crafted shoe was now a much that she wanted more. Developing a quick, positive response to piece of junk. I told the customer the truth, then I resigned.Ф adversity had saved an important promotion campaign.
The lesson is simple: You can't sell anything you wouldn't buy.
6. Am I willing to lead by example You can't ask your troops to 3. Am I willing to make sacrifices Body builders hve a saying, give their ail if your idea of a rough day is two hours in the office and УNo pain, no gain.Ф It should be the credo of every entrepreneur. Forget six on the golf course. I never ask an employee to do something l'm not the clock. Nine-to-five doesn't exist.
willing to do, and I work even harder than they do.
Saturday became part of mу regular work schedule as a young By now you should have some idea if you have what it takes to, salesman. And when a snowstorm hit mу region, it was an opportunity, be an entrepreneur. So IТ11 mention some of the rewards for your sacrinot an obstacle. The idea that mу rivals would be hiding from the elefices. You'll find satisfaction in creating something out of nothing.
ments gave me the impetus to push mу product. Its amazing how recepYou'll gain a positive sense of self. And of course, there are financial tive a buyer could be when the snow was waist-deep and I was the only rewards.
friendly face he'd seen all day.
But it's not easy. Are You An Entrepreneur If you're opening your own business, you'll lose the security of QU. Do you have what it takes to be an Entrepreneur to start paycheck and the company benefits you take for granted. And there will your own business be other changes in your life-style. You might not get home for dinner;
75 SUPPLEMENTARY ACTIVITY УI always say, don't ever miss one of your kids' important events.
That's something you might really regret and that's sure to impact on (If you have any practice of working for any firm or compa- your work life. I'm verybigon parents being present for their children,Ф ny Ц this task is for you.) she says.
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