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What does it take to own your own business?

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Thinking Kid
Running your own show can be an absolutely fantastic experience. It gives you such a sense of satisfaction, it increases your self esteem and helps you realise you have what it takes to rise to any challenge.

But running a business can also be extremely testing and can push you to your limits. So how do you know if you have what it takes to run your own business? We spoke to three successful businesses owners to get their take on the traits and characteristics you need to thrive in business.

Karen Tearney runs independent PR consultancy PR Freelancers. Karen says from her perspective, the first and foremost quality you need is determination.

Not inspiration, ambition, creativity or intellect but pure, focused, unadulterated determination. There will be many, many hurdles, disappointments, tears and tantrums. But you have to just keep going. And eventually, those glimmers of success will give you the boost that you need to make it through,” she says.

According to Karen, determination drives change, forces you to be flexible and keeps you focused. “Without it, new ventures are doomed to failure,” she says.

Melissa Browne, an accountant and business adviser who runs Accounting & Taxation Advantage and Business Advantage Coaching has seen what it takes to run a business from her own perspective, and from the perspective of her clients. She believes most people are capable of running their own business.

What is generally required is a change of mindset from employee or technician to business owner and often that’s missing when someone sets up a business,” says Melissa.

When you’re an employee you might be great at your job but someone else is taking all the risk. To run a business it takes more than just being good at your job. You have to be willing to become great at being a business owner. That is a skill set that may be very different from the skillset you have as an employee.

She says some of the skills you need include a dedication to life-long learning, a willingness to wear many hats and a propensity to take on things you don’t think you have a natural aptitude for, such as numbers.

Says Melissa: “You also need to be open to the possibility of failing, to have the courage to ask for help and to be willing to change course if need be. I don’t believe there is a particular type of personality that suits running a business – it’s about courage, focus, determination and then actually doing something about it.”

Amber Daines Ungar, who runs Bespoke Communications, says after seven years of being self-employed and running a thriving media training and PR business, she knows how important it is to have a diverse range of skills when you run your own firm.

You need to have accounting, business planning, sales and marketing skills, to name a few. You must always be on the front foot in areas like cash flow, client planning and firefighting. Running a business is all about degrees of risk; you need to be prepared and in some ways thrive on it as the risk-taking does not stop,” she says.

Amber says being an entrepreneur is in her DNA. “I often joke to my friends I am unemployable because I crave the pace, the challenges and the flexibility that is only possible when you are the CEO of your own business.

Here’s Amber’s three most important qualities you need to be a happy, successful business owner:
• Patience
• Tenacity
• Agility


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