The Science of People

Dream of Being the Boss? Behaviors that Boost the Best Entrepreneurs

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“You’re not the boss of me!”  Sure, as a parent I’ve heard this refrain a few times.  And I, like many of you, have fanaticized about being an entrepreneur.  But here’s the cold reality.  In their first year, four of every six small business fails.  And in my world, in the heart of Silicon Valley, only one in ten makes it ( 90% of tech startups fail ).

Yet, small business is the backbone most economies are built on.  According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses make up:

  • 7 percentof U.S. employer firms,
  • 64 percent of net new private-sector jobs,
  • 2 percentof private-sector employment, and
  • 9 percentof private-sector payroll.

So, there are clearly many with the chutzpah to have a go at entrepreneurship. So what is the secret sauce that gives these leaders the courage to take on this daunting challenge?

Toronto management consultant, Laurence Ginsberg says, “In the end, the acid test is how they react when they have to meet a payroll and don’t have the money.”  Yikes!  But what if you could better predict your chances of succeeding in small business or technology startup, before wrestling with the nightmare scenario Ginsberg nets out?

It turns out you can. In fact, predicting job performance is something that our small company, SuccessFinder, does exceedingly well.  Since launching the company last year, it’s given me my own entrepreneurial petri dish.  If you truly want to predict success as an entrepreneur, your behaviors—how you act— turn out to be as important as your education, experience, and skills combined.  As you may know or have seen yourself, a good track record as an executive is no guarantee of future success — especially when it comes to starting your own business.

In the entrepreneurial domain, we look hard at your style of thinking, your street sense and your ‘survivability.’  Toughness, drive and a certain ego are all parts of the equation.  You also need tenacity for the long game that is small business.  And unfortunately, like football players who anticipate being jumped on, so should new business executives be prepared for a lot of pummeling, over a long period.

While success in small business comes more easily to people with high standards of personal integrity, good health and a solid family life, they are preceded with the street smarts to know what pitfalls to avoid. The four most common:

  • Ensuring adequate cash flow
  • Picking the best market niche
  • Not investing in good advisors
  • Sloppy bookkeeping

Still intrigued if you’ve got the right stuff to put your name on the door of your own business?  We can help.  Contact us at and we can hook you up with SuccessFinder-certified practitioner who can help you uncover your entrepreneurial strengths and any areas you might want to further develop to make the most of your dreams to be your own boss.

As for me, with one son in the college and one working full time, I’m clearly no longer “the boss” of either of them.  Luckily, I have a partner who lets me play boss at least half the time.

Author:  Lisa Hartley, SuccessFinder CMO


Telephone Montreal : 514.687.2272​
Telephone Toronto : 416.590.9852​​
Toll Free : 844.932.3231

Find A Partner

We have a number of partners who can help you understand and implement SuccessFinder in your organization.

Find Partner