3. FINANCIAL KNOW-HOW
Being financially proficient is also a must for those who aspire to run their own show. That includes being across your overheads and operating costs, knowing your break-even point, and taking a keen interest in cash flow.
“It’s more of a skill than an attribute, but you’ve got to be able to understand the numbers,” Schebesta says.
“If you can’t, it’s like driving a car without a speedometer.”
It may not come naturally to everyone, but it’s possible to learn from experience, particularly when it comes to dealing with cash-flow crunches.
“We had a bad run a while ago with a court case and ended up owing legal fees and payroll and money to the tax office, such that we were $250,000 in the red,” Schebesta says. “I had to mortgage my shares in Finder but we dug our way out slowly and went on to make a profit. The mistakes I’d made in the past helped me to work my way.
It’s easy to do things well when funds are plentiful, less so when you’re operating on the smell of an oily rag. For entrepreneurs in the latter category, being able to think creatively and bootstrap is essential.
“You need to be able to figure out ways to run as lean as possible and stretch whatever resources you have,” he says.
“This frugality is an attribute that will stand you in good stead, even when your business grows and becomes profitable, as Schebesta’s has done.
“We launched Finder in the US in 2015 and there’s a video of me on YouTube, running over the Manhattan Bridge to buy an $8 whiteboard that was advertised on Craigslist,” he says.
“A new one would have cost $150 but by going the frugal option I saved money and got some exercise!”
5. WILLINGNESS TO MAKE SACRIFICES
Establishing a successful enterprise is not without its price – think stress, sleepless nights, and long hours on the job while others are off enjoying themselves. Giving things up to achieve your goal is part of what it takes.
“If you’re prepared to sacrifice the time and energy you spend socialising with friends and on your hobbies, and dedicate it to your business, that will definitely put you in a better place,” Schebesta says.
“It’s got to be everything to you, especially in the early years. I used to just work and eat and sleep for the first few years after I started Finder.”
The world is full of naysayers. You’ll come across plenty of them when you announce your plans to start a business from scratch. Unwavering self-belief can help you shake off the doubters and stay the course, even when the going gets tough.
“No matter what happens, you’re going to find a way around and achieve your goals – you just have to believe in yourself and then anything is possible,” Schebesta says.
Successful enterprises aren’t created by chance. It takes perspiration, persistence, and a healthy dose of self-belief to turn your good idea into a great company.