Are You The Entrepreneurial Type? Factors to Assess Yourself On

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?

Avoid the Pitfalls Online Businesses Face

The internet is as diverse the standard market. It extends to both extremes- good and false opportunities. Since online based fraudsters and conmen understand the rat race of business very well, they’re fond of preying on desperate individuals seeking to monetize online opportunities. It’s therefore advisable to proceed with caution especially when:

• You are required to pay an upfront fee just to gain access to a business opportunity. Most of the scams even require you to recruit other naïve ‘members’.
• You are required to pay a regular fixed amount of cash on your ‘membership’ regardless of whether you make money or not.
• The opportunities presented to you do not have sufficient background information and backing
• There are guarantees of making a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. For instance, you may be attracted by an ad requiring you to sign up and make USD 10,000 per week possibly just by liking a few pages on social media.
• You can’t trace genuine members who’re actually benefitting from the said ‘promising opportunity’.

Map It

Many entrepreneurs are fond of seeking opportunities by casting a wide net, possibly trying to capture as many prospective customers as possible. Taking this principle too literally however, could eventually cost you your business. Although it’s advisable to be aggressive, it’s equally important to be strategic and calculative by starting small. That means mapping your opportunities and business by focusing only on the core elements.

Mapping your resources and dedicating them to a specific target market is a much more effective strategy, especially to small businesses, than splitting the resources between unspecified goals for an indefinitely wide market. One of the methods of achieving this is focusing on your location first before growing to spread your products and services to the rest of the world. Since mapping strategies depend on the type of business, resources and consumer needs, you should comprehensively assess these three elements as you define your opportunities.

Assess Your Resources

Lastly, analyze your resources, both offline and online, to understand your capabilities in terms of the opportunities and business types you may be able to handle. Although you could eventually begin compiling additional resources after setting up your business, your current resources greatly dictate your ability. Having technical expertise in one type of business for instance, could significantly boost your chances in that specific industry compared to other businesses.

As you make up your mind on online businesses to pursue, remember to build sufficient resilience, especially against failure. Although failures may pull you back resource-wise, they are good learning experiences. If you fail therefore, you should have the strength and determination to dust yourself and proceed with other ventures – after all, each business is a risk, with a potential of failing or succeeding. What makes the difference is how you manage your risks.

5 of The Biggest Suspected Corporate Pyramid Schemes

Although most developing pyramid schemes are blacklisted and crushed by the Federal Trade Commission, there are still a couple that successfully manage to swindle hardworking individuals off their hard earned money. According to FTC officials, the schemes occasionally manage to penetrate the market and take advantage of people who find it difficult to differentiate between a legitimate business and a pyramid scheme. So, what’s a pyramid scheme? How is it different from regular, legitimate businesses?

Going by the commission’s definition, a pyramid scheme is a “an establishment or model of business that promises investors or consumers huge profits not from any actual investment of sales, but rather from recruiting more members into the organization”. It may sound simple- but it’s definitely way more complicated than you think. Some companies use this system of businesses, but still manage to maintain legitimate operations- consequently making it harder for the FTC and judicial system to make informed and definite decisions. In fact, the FTC has been engaged in many prolonged legal battles due to this, with some being concluded in favor of the businesses.

Here are 5 of such cases involving big corporations which have been suspected of conducting pyramid schemes:

1. Amway

Amway, a 50 year company, which was even recently ranked as the world’s most profitable direct selling firm by Direct Selling News, has always attracted a fair share controversial legal battles- including overseas- on pyramid schemes. In a particularly interesting case in 1979, the FTC made a ruling that Amway was not a pyramid scheme since payments were not made to
distributors for recruiting new salesmen and women. In fact, this alone changed FTCs definition of pyramid schemes to date.

2. Herbalife

Herbalife has lately been facing a significant number of allegations on being a corporate pyramid scheme. In addition to being investigated by the DOJ, SEC and FTC, it was recently declared an illegal pyramid scheme in Belgium. Additionally, back in the year 2004, it was subjected to a serious class-action lawsuit by its distributors who were frustrated by its inability to provide a concrete opportunity to make a profit.

3. Mary Kay

Although Mary Kay has been in the FTC watch-list for a while now, one of its most controversial moments was when Virginia Sole-Smith, a writer, referred to it as “The Pink Pyramid Scheme”- through a story published by Harper’s Magazine. In a subsequent interview, the writer further emphasized on her piece saying that its distributers only make money from recruiting other sales people and commissions from orders made by recruits. Interestingly, FTC maintains that the commissions paid on actual sales are completely legal.

4. Nu Skin Enterprises

Over the past two decades, Nu Skin has been at the center of a legal storms, not only in the United States, but also in China. In addition to being investigated by a Chinese government agency and subsequently dismissed as a pyramid scheme by the Chinese media in 2014, the company was the main subject in a pyramid scheme report published by Citron Research in 2012. In the 1990s, it was subjected through legal battles after being investigated by the FTC and the states of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Although it was forced to make settlements, it refused to admit to any wrongdoing.

5. USANA Health Sciences

Unlike the previous companies, USANA couldn’t take pyramid scheme allegations lying down. It sued Barry Minkow, a fraud investigator who was previously a stock-fraud felon, for publishing and distributing a 500 page report on the company’s alleged fraudulent pyramid scheme activities in 2007. The two parties agreed on a settlement but that hasn’t stopped the FBI and SEC from investigating the company.

Interestingly, all the mentioned companies are still active despite facing numerous pyramid scheme allegations. Since there are many others which fall in the same category of companies, individuals are advised to be extremely vigilant as they assess individual companies before committing themselves.