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What Qualities Are the True Tokens of Successful Entrepreneurs?

You've probably seen the bumper stickers that say "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way." While the bumper sticker may be directed at the dreamer doing 10 miles less than the speed limit in the left lane, it also applies to everyone's life. Most people are followers, but others are leaders. They want to be at the helm of their own ship, charting the course that their lives will take.

They are most likely ENTREPRENEURS - people who have what it takes to start and succeed at their own businesses.

What qualities are the true tokens of successful entrepreneurs? Thousands of books and articles have been written on the subject. There is even a Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul and an annual event called "Entrepalooza" at the University of Michigan, where successful business owners relate their secrets. It turns out, though, that just about everyone who takes on the challenge of owning their own business has certain qualities.

1. They have a dream. It can be anything from wanting to make a living from a hobby to wanting to find a way to spend more time with their families. Along with their dreams comes the foresight to see a need for something or a problem that needs solving, and finding a way to supply that need or solve that problem. Instead of saying, "Someone will probably invent a way to make a profit from that," the entrepreneur says, "I'M going to be the one who finds a way to make a profit from that."

2. They visualize success. Lots of us have thoughts and ideas of how we'd like our lives to change. We say, "If only I could find a decent job," or "If only I could lose 20 pounds." Entrepreneurs don't just think about it. They see it. They spend a great deal of time "seeing success." If the goal is to spend more time with family, the entrepreneur sees himself or herself working at home, hears one of the children say "Mom, I'm so glad you don't go away to work anymore," and feels what reaching the goal is like. This "positive thinking" technique has been around for a long time-and it still works. It helps create faith in yourself, and that is a prerequisite for anyone even thinking about starting a business. They never stop using this visualization process: It keeps goals shining brightly, and for the entrepreneur, there are always new goals to reach for.

3. They're good listeners and observers. Aki Morita, who founded Sony, got the idea for the infamous Sony Walkman when he got tired of listening to teenagers blasting music from their boom-boxes. He knew he wasn't the only one bothered by the noise. By listening to what people are saying and observing what they're doing (or not doing), the entrepreneur identifies what people want. Lots of people.

They also listen to advice. While it's great to have people cheering you on, entrepreneurs find a wealth of knowledge in the doom-and-gloomers. They present the possible downsides, providing the business owner with some new ideas to think about as they develop their business plan. They read books and listen to motivational CDs. They stay psyched up for success by learning new skills and staying on top of technology.

4. They're good organizers. Once a new entrepreneur develops an idea and begins visualizing a goal, he or she makes a plan. They know they can't just plunge in and hope for the best. They do research, find out what others in similar businesses are doing, and find mentors who can help them figure out what steps they need to take to begin reaching for their goals and dreams. They find out how much money they need, what kind of equipment is essential, and if they will need to hire people or can go it alone. Ultimately, they consider all of the information and advice they've gathered and make their own decisions, taking the best ideas from each source.

5. They're focused. Once the course is charted, the work begins. There will be phone calls, e-mails, and paperwork. There will be days when nothing goes right, and when obstacles seem insurmountable. But because entrepreneurs are, above all, problem solvers who love a challenge, they have the courage and perseverance to keep going. They bounce back from failure like super-balls hitting the sidewalk. They keep their organizational plans in mind, and keep striving to achieve each step, one at a time.

6. They don't believe failure is an option. To be successful in your own business, you must believe 100% that you will succeed at what you are doing. You must have faith in your own ability to make things happen. You must believe that your idea is really a good one that will help other people or make the world better in some way. Sometimes, it simply takes guts-like the quarterback who decides to run the ball and, against all odds, scrambles over the pileup and scores a touchdown.

7. They have self-discipline. Running your own business doesn't mean that you can mosey down to your home office at 10 AM, go to lunch at noon, and take the afternoon off. Just like at a regular job, entrepreneurs work hard. In fact, many put in more hours and work harder than they did when they were someone's employee. But it's easier to put in the extra hour or two when you have a passion for what you are doing, a roadmap for where you're going, and the confidence that you will achieve success.

Are you tired of working for someone else? Do YOU have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? If you believe in yourself, fill in the form below for free information about starting your own business.

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Michael & Leslie Hamburger
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