Dating back to the time of the medieval guilds in Germany, a craftsperson required special permission to operate as an entrepreneur, the small proof of competence (Kleiner Befähigungsnachweis), which restricted training of apprentices to craftspeople who held a Meister certificate. This institution was introduced in 1908 after a period of so-called freedom of trade (Gewerbefreiheit, introduced in 1871) in the German Reich. However, proof of competence was not required to start a business. In 1935 and in 1953, greater proof of competence was reintroduced (Großer Befähigungsnachweis Kuhlenbeck), which required craftspeople to obtain a Meister apprentice-training certificate before being permitted to set up a new business.
Stanford University economist Edward Lazear found in a 2005 study that variety in education and work experience was the most important trait that distinguished entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs A 2013 study by Uschi Backes-Gellner of the University of Zurich and Petra Moog of the University of Siegen in Germany found that a diverse social network was also important in distinguishing students that would go on to become entrepreneurs.
Flexibility – Not everyone fits into the rigidity of a traditional corporate culture. Entrepreneurs are often looking to free themselves from these constraints, find a better work-life balance, or work at times and in ways that may be unconventional. This doesn't mean they are working fewer hours – oftentimes, especially in the early stages of growing a business, they are working longer and harder – but, rather, that they're working in a way that is natural and instinctual to them.
Giving credence to the adage, “find a way to get paid for the job you’d do for free,” passion is arguably the most important component startup business owners must have, and every edge helps. While the prospect of becoming your own boss and raking in a fortune is alluring to entrepreneurial dreamers, the possible downside to hanging one’s own shingle is vast. Income isn’t guaranteed, employer-sponsored benefits go by the wayside, and when your business loses money, your personal assets can take a hit — not just a corporation’s bottom line. But adhering to a few tried and true principals can go a long way in diffusing risk.
The majority of scholarly research done on these topics have been from North America. Words like "leadership" and "entrepreneurship" do not always translate well into other cultures and languages. For example, in North America a leader is often thought to be charismatic, but German culture frowns on such charisma due to the charisma of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Other cultures, like some European countries, view the term "leader" negatively, like the French. The participative leadership style that is encouraged in the United States is considered disrespectful in many other parts of the world due to the differences in power distance. Many Asian and Middle Eastern countries do not have "open door" policies for subordinates and would never informally approach their managers/bosses. For countries like that, an authoritarian approach to management and leadership is more customary.
Researchers Schoon and Duckworth completed a study in 2012 that could potentially help identify who may become an entrepreneur at an early age. They determined that the best measures to identify a young entrepreneur are family and social status, parental role modeling, entrepreneurial competencies at age 10, academic attainment at age 10, generalized self-efficacy, social skills, entrepreneurial intention and experience of unemployment.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.