Should You Start A Business?

The most common question I hear from aspiring entrepreneurs is this: What’s the best business to start?
Many people, if not most, are at a loss as to what business to pursue. What complicates the question is that people have different definitions of “the best business.” Some mean it as the most profitable, some the safest, while others think that it is some venture where they will be most happy. Usually, it is not just one factor but a mixture of benefits with differing emphasis on each benefit.
I believe that the first question people need to ask is actually if they should start a business. Now don’t get me wrong, I do wish to help, but I would never mention that a particular business is the best. In the first place, I’m afraid I may get blamed if that particular venture does not work out. In a more serious vein, however, the truth is that only you yourself can provide the best answer; although, it would also be a great help if you consult with those who are knowledgeable in the field.
What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur
Probably the first and most common denominator among entrepreneurs is the guts to take risks and meet challenges. If you have the guts, then that is a strong plus factor that may help you overcome many disadvantages. Entrepreneurs do not let themselves be discouraged by the dismal stories of pessimists from pursuing their dream of starting a business. They believe they can chart their own destiny. Only those who dare have a chance to succeed.
Wimps or those easily swayed by the opinion of other people will find it more difficult to be in business. Even if you own the business, if your character is such that you find it impossible to resist pressure from people, then you will likely fail. You would probably be unable to get the best prices and terms from suppliers since you would not be able to assert yourself. Even within your own business, you will encounter situations that demand firmness. A wimpy boss will have trouble managing workers. Eventually, there would be a deterioration of discipline if you are too soft to implement the rules. If you are too afraid of offending other people, then you would be at a disadvantage in any stressful situation.
The second quality that you should possess if you plan to start a business is the willingness to work harder than most. Unlike the first quality of being a risk taker, it’s actually possible to be successful in business even when you are not hardworking. Life is not always fair— there are indeed some businesses that can operate well even if the boss is not that industrious. An average entrepreneur works more than 60 hours a week on his business, and he is not averse to doing almost any task.
The odds against a lazy person running a profitable business are very slim. Maybe this is possible in less than one in 10 businesses. In general, there are two factors that make this possible: The first is that the business has unique qualities that enable big margins, as in the case of monopolies; the second is you have a manager that is capable and honest. I strongly suggest that the manager, assuming he is not the owner, must be compensated very well and that strong control systems are strictly adopted.  
The third sign that you have excellent prospects if you start a business is if you have strong determination. I have seen so many brilliant people start a business and then quickly abandon their dream at the first wave of challenges. Ironically, people who have no option but to continue the business are the most likely to show determination. Those who have been employed in the corporate world or currently have another profession seem to lose hope faster—maybe because they have a backup.
There are many other strengths that are useful in starting a business. But in my opinion, the three I have mentioned are the most crucial. The guts to start and address difficulties, the ability to work hard, and solid determination are the basic qualities that you should have before deciding to start a business.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, April 14, 2013. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.