The skills and personality traits necessary to start a new small business and make it successful are much different from the skills necessary to take over an existing business and grow it . A small business start up needs an entrepreneur who has a vision and is passionate about his/her idea. The entrepreneur will work in a chaotic environment where idea generation and learning are the real engine for growth. This is a high risk transitional period when the entrepreneur should expect a high rate of failure and when failure should be used as a learning opportunity.
Most people are not very comfortable living in this chaotic environment since most people fear uncertainty. This explains why few people have the entrepreneurial personality necessary to create very successful companies from scratch.
Buying an existing business requires a completely different mindset. Management capabilities, organization skills and hard work are paramount. The owner needs to control the key parameters that make the company successful. This is more of a consolidation period and less of an experimentation period. The business owner can use the past results to predict the near future and make decisions concerning managing the company.
Before deciding whether you should start a new company or buy an existing one, you should dig deeply into your own personality to understand what your personality traits are. In what category of people, from the categories described above, do you fit the most?
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