So, you have a seemingly promising business idea. You’ve been working yourself off on an 8-6 job, and in some occasions pushing through double shifts just because the boss said so. Consequently, you’ve gradually grown tired of working for someone and think it’s time to drop the bomb on the HR department before moving out to chase your dreams.

You don’t have to be an extensive reader to learn about entrepreneurs who’ve been through the same experience, and subsequently went ahead to build impressively huge business empires. Strangely though, only a few stories are told about individuals who left their jobs and eventually failed at their business endeavors. So, are success stories possibly much higher than failure rates? If yes, could it mean that you have a higher chance of success than failure?

According to research done by University of Tennessee, Bradley University, Small business Development Centre and Entrepreneur Weekly, a little over 50% of new businesses survive after four years. The leading industry is Insurance and Real Estate at 58%, followed by Education and Health at 56%, Agriculture at 56%, and information coming in last at 37%. Of course there are a myriad of reasons which trigger their respective collapses. One particularly common reason however, is poor management – a significant number of businesses have failed due to unsystematic decision making and strategy implementation, mostly triggered by incompetent entrepreneurs.

So, what makes competent entrepreneurs? Which factors could you use to assess and determine if you really have what it takes to build a successful business empire?


Passion has always been a common trait among all successful entrepreneurs. It converts that early morning sulk to a smile as you wake up to embark on your regular business schedule. You’ll consequently commit long hours to your business, tirelessly rallying your team to achieve a predetermined set of organization goals.

One of the primary secrets of developing a passion for your business is focusing on things you’re already interested in. For instance, if you’re talented programmer and enjoy solving problems through software solutions, your best bet would be a software company.

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Risk Taking

Business is all about taking and managing risks. Every move is considered a potential risk, especially when there are no guaranteed results. By efficaciously managing them, entrepreneurs delve into the unknown and convert uncertainties into paying certainties. The eventual outcomes therefore, largely depend on your ability to spot risks worth taking and subsequent management measures.

In addition risk taking, aversion to losing is arguably one of the main triggers of startup entrepreneurs. In fact, researchers from UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business found the latter to be a more significant driver than the former- because most aspiring entrepreneurs are driven to kick-start their own businesses by the fear of losing their full-time job prestige and salary.

Willingness to Break Rules

Since the challenges in the business world require some finesse in tackling them, you’ll occasionally be forced to bend some rules. According to a study conducted by the London School of Economics and UC Berkley’s HaaS School of Business, successful entrepreneurs have a history of getting into trouble as teenagers. A significant number of future business leaders are always willing to intelligently break rules especially when they stand in their way of achieving short and long term goals.

This however, shouldn’t be an excuse to begin breaking rules irresponsibly. Each challenge should be approached independently, analyzing possible mitigation measures and subsequent consequences. Through an experience-based accumulation of skills, you should be able to use common sense to discern situations that require you to break the rules and ones that don’t.

The Bottom Line

Your personal attributes and application of general practical/theoretical business knowledge will ultimately determine your subsequent failure or success rate. All success stories are made by uniquely talented individuals.

So, going by this list, do you believe you have what it takes to make you own success story?