Are You “Business Owner Material?”

Are You "Business Owner Material?"

By Andy Kocemba

If you are looking to buy a business, you know you will need to do plenty of due diligence on the business itself - digging deep into financial statements and tax returns, scouring over online reviews to assess the company's reputation, and spending plenty of time with the seller to get a firsthand understanding of the business. But have you committed to doing that same level of due diligence on yourself? It’s important to be confident you are “business owner material” before you take the jump and purchase a business. Here are three character traits business owners are either born with, or develop, in order to be successful running a business.

  1. Risk / Reward: Successful business owners have a solid understanding of and comfort level with risk and reward. All people love rewards, and when most of them look at a business owner’s life, the rewards are all they see. While financial independence and freedom are worthy goals, not every business owner achieves them, and if they do, there is a cost. Running a business can require long hours, and your money is on the line. Risk and reward are always in tension. Some days you will ask yourself why all people don’t own businesses, while other days you will ask yourself why you own a business. The buck stops with you. Sometimes that feels great, and sometimes it’s a challenge.
  2. Even Keel: To be a successful business owner, you must have laser focus on and commitment to your goal. Some days will go your way, and some days won’t, but you must wake up each day with a renewed focus on the task at hand. Working with my dad, we always allowed ourselves 24 hours to either celebrate a victory or mourn a loss.  Either way, after that 24-hour period ended, we knew our business depended on us getting back to work. Put another way, you can’t let your highs can’t get too high, and your lows can’t get too low.
  3. Nobody Tells You What to Do:  A successful business owner is willing to chart his or her own course. There is no manual telling you how to best run your specific business. Sure, there are plenty of good business books out there, but not one is written about your specific business in your specific industry with your specific personality and strengths in mind. Simply put, nobody is going to tell you what to do.  Successful business owners know this.  They pursue knowledge and development, picking and choosing gold nuggets of info from great business minds, and combine them all to create their formula for success.


  1. Being confident you are cut out to be a small business owner is an important step that is often overlooked.
  2. Business owners need to be even keeled, confident and comfortable with risk and reward.
  3. Ultimately, the buck stops with you. You determine if your business succeeds or fails.