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Who Wants to Be a Successful Entrepreneur?

In career makeover workshops, I talk with many jobseekers about the skills necessary for entrepreneurial success. Although the economy is bad, many jobseekers still are anxious to start a business. Many think it is a good time to capitalize on deals for exisiting businesses for sale, suppliers willing to give good discounts, lower rents and scooping up good employees at negotiable rates.

The fundamentals of starting a business like finding professional services such Accounting, Legal and Marketing can be found on every quick-start business checklist out there on the internet. However, too many people seem unaware of or uncomfortable discussing the necessary personal traits and success behaviors. By no means does it guarantee success, but it does help people think positively about traits they need.

his quick entrepreneurial assessment, I developed a few years ago, albeit non-scientific, is one way to take inventory of personal and professional abilities necessary for business success. It is based on the well accepted principle used successfully in job interviews – Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.

Create a spreadsheet with five columns and label them as follows:

Column #1. Must-Have Traits.

List the following 20 traits in the column. Feel free to add others you think are important.

-Agility

-Confidence

-Courage

-Creativity

-Decisiveness

-Self discipline

-Good judgment

-Flexibility

-Hard Worker

-Leadership

-Multitask effectively

-Networking ability

-Objectivity

-Openness to new ideas

-Political Savvy

-Resilience

-Self-starter

-Interpersonal skills

-Risk tolerance

-Visionary

Column #2. Rating:

On a scale of 1-10, rate yourself on each of these traits – with “1” meaning you have concerns about your strengths and “10” meaning you have confidence your skills are strong in this area.

Column #3. Example:

Identify the best example in your past that demonstrates your strength with regard to this trait or skill.

Column #4. Strategy

Define a plan of action to address your shortcomings in any trait where your self score is less than a 6 – especially if you consider it important to your business.

Column #5. Sensitivity

To help focus and prioritize efforts, rank the skills and traits based on their relative significance to your potential business.

Column 3 is quite possibly the most important. It forces entrepreneurs to not just say how good we are, but to actually identify specific examples to demonstrate how we have acted in the past. If we score ourselve with a high rating (6 or higher) BUT cannot identify great examples in your past to support that ranking – rethink your self ratings.

Once you have completed the exercise yourself, ask someone whose opinion you value or potential business partners to complete a similar chart with their observations about you and each other. Compare the results should give you a good idea of skills you have mastered and those which are potential weak areas you might need to address to improve you or your team’s chance of success.

Brainstorm potential solutions and be open to the fact that it might come in many forms. One entrepreneur might choose to join business clusters to share ideas, while another could decide to create a board of advisors. If on a team, you might choose to defer someone’s strength in one area while they defer to yours in another. No one path will fit everyone or every start-up business model.

Facing our fears head on will significantly improve our chances of success as entrepreneurs. The last thing we want as our businesses begin to grow is to find out that doing this personal inventory is long overdue and our skills bank is close to running on empty. Begin taking stock today!

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Best Website to Find a Rental Home

Craigslist

Almost everyone has heard of Craigslist, and it definitely has its pros and cons. Some people shy away from Craigslist because they are fearful that the advertisements are bogus. It is important to bring along a friend when checking out the location in person to protect yourself. However, there are some major benefits to craigslist as a source to check out rental properties: 

  1. Photos – most people provide 4 photos for users to look at before bothering to even inquire about the home
  2. Direct communication with owner – either through email or occasionally by phone, users can typically chat with the owner as opposed to a real estate agent/intermediary
  3. Bargaining – Most advertisements on craigslist are a bit above what the owner will rent the property for. Users can typically bargain with the owner to reduce the listed price.
  4. Access to more selections – When dealing with a real estate agent, renters only gain access to the few houses those agents may have for rent. Not to mention the fact that renters are typically not the priority for real estate agents, who have more to gain financially by dealer with sellers/buyers. Craigslist offers a wide variety of possibilities in one easy-to-access, free location.

Tips:

  • As mentioned, always bring a friend with you. Just because Craigslist has some great postings does not mean it does not have some potentially dangerous postings. Be careful who you trust and whose house you step into.
  • Remember that real estate agents and property managers do post on Craigslist too. If you see a bunch of listings that say the same thing (often listing offers that seem completely too good to be true), be especially wary.
  • If you are look for a specific neighborhood or a specific feature, use the top of the Craigslist page, where you can search for keywords, etc.

Other helpful sites:

Rentals.com and Rentalhomesplus.com are easy to access and very easy to use as far as narrowing the search by amenities, price range, etc. However, be aware that many advertisements are not removed quickly when the homes/apartments are already rented. There are also many location-specific sites to use; however, some request money and most are run by real estate agencies with only a few options.