As you navigate down the twists and turns of your career path you may wonder if you’ll ever find your perfect groove.  The road to a lasting career is long with some dark corners and the occasional dead end.  Bad bosses and lack of growth may have you wondering: maybe I should run my own business? But, not everyone is built to be a business owner. Apart from the idea and process there’s a lot to the secret sauce that defines success in business.


Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting prospect; you can set the rules, define your own limits and have a say in every aspect of your career.  Like anything there are obvious downsides, long hours, difficult days and financial uncertainty are just a few.  So how can you determine if the entrepreneurship path is right for you?  Read on to determine if your character and personality fits the bill.


The 4 essential steps to business success:


Keep Moving- Embark on Explorations

Let’s say you’ve got a stellar idea….so you lock yourself way in a quiet room until you create a perfect, polished prototype, right?  Wrong!

Despite your focused plan, a successful entrepreneur is one who keeps exploring and who never remains stagnate.  You’ve got to check out the competition, keep your eye on tomorrow’s prize and strive to be the person taking the next step if you want to succeed.  If you’re interested in continual exploration, this could be the right path for you.


One inspiring example of continual exploration can be found in Kat Cole (former Hooters girl and now the President of Cinnabon).  Despite her unconventional background, Cole pursed her desire to explore the corporate world and climb ladders to new heights.

It was through her international travels that Cole communicated and connected with different types of people of varying backgrounds.  Her philosophy for business is simple: be open to the possibilities of people and the potential in situations.  Strive to see the good, or perhaps the potential for greatness.


Your ideas won’t mean much without a fiery motivation flame.  You need to take action; and your motivational beliefs and outlooks are what will fuel you. Have a desire to keep asking and exploring, with that necessary movement will come unavoidable growth. Having mentors and advisers as you embark on the entrepreneurship is a must for success.


Be Flexible and Resilient

Like most things in life, things within a business never seem to go as planned.  An entrepreneur that will make it for the long haul is someone who remains flexible and who can conquer the unexpected bumps in the road.


Take a look at Bob Parsons, Founder of GoDaddy and shining example of resilience and flexibility.  Parsons is a retired Marine, who like many Veterans, returned home from service to a very competitive job market.  Thanks to the Marine Corps teachings (like responsibility and discipline), Parson’s never gave up.  Instead he chose to remain focused and was determined to build a life (and a salary) for himself despite the obvious obstacles in his way.


Difficulties and setbacks are inevitable on the path to a successful small business.  Being able to take criticism and endure mistakes is good…being able to learn from criticism and improve from mistakes is what will make you great.  There will be times throughout your career that you’ll want to throw in the towel and quit, be sure to have some resilience on reserve to ensure that you will keep on going.

Be brave enough to tread on rocky roads or change paths when required. Learning from mistakes is much better than never making one for the fear of failure.


Plan for Now and Later

Why you may just be entertaining the idea of running your own business, chances are you have an idea for a niche or a desired industry in mind.  The ability to set short term and long term goals will serve your efforts well.  While every leader will need an overarching goal to strive for, he/she will need short-term goals to act as directional stepping-stones along the way.


Just ask Robin Chase, Founder of Zip Car, a company that started in 1998 and is now the world’s largest car sharing and car club service. At the recent American Express OPEN CEO Bootcamp, Ms. Chase shared her favorite and most relevant quote pertaining to successful entrepreneurship.  She shared, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”  You have to be prepared so that when the unexpected (like luck, opportunity, or even doubt and despair) pops up you can handle things.


How you react to the things currently beyond your reach will shed light onto your ability to cut it as an entrepreneur.  Do you easily become stressed-out and anxious or do you get excited by a challenge and instead plan out your attack?  The common characteristic of ‘a hunger to succeed’ is true in every successful entrepreneur.

SMART planning helps in all aspects of life, and is an essential ingredient to success in business. Make your short-term goals the milestones to your long-term ones.


Communicate to Inspire

It doesn’t really matter how solid your business plan is, if you can’t communicate its awesomeness, then no one will be able to grasp on or care.  Also, if all goes well and your business not only gets of the ground but also takes off, chances are its because you’ve invited more people into your exclusive inner circle of one.


Scott Brian took the idea of communication to the extreme by wearing a “Hello My Name Is: Scott” nametag 24/7.  Like most successful entrepreneurs, Brain understands the importance of communicating, interacting and connecting with others.  His effort to constantly communicate has resulted in a career as an author, media expert, corporate consultant and yes, a wildly successful entrepreneur.


As the leader of your own entrepreneurial effort, you’ll need to be able to communicate your needs and wants over to everyone you work with.  From investors to vendors, employees to customers – a person who can translate their thoughts, plans and passions over to others can and will get things done.

Communication and community are defining success to many new and old business in the 21st century. This essential engagement is not to be underestimated.



Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?


Guest post contribution:
About the author: Kelly Gregorio writes about topics that affect small businesses while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a company that provides businesses working capital. You can read her daily business blog here.