[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text](Article written by Thomas Oppong )

You have an epic idea. Now what? The real challenge for any entrepreneur isn’t getting started. It’s staying in business. Yes, you can be successful as an entrepreneur but it won’t be easy. It has never been easy to start and run a successful company.

Startups are always hard. But if you don’t pursue your dreams, you’ll never know if it stand the chance to be successful. Dreams are all we have. Take them seriously. The bitter truth is that most entrepreneurs fail to get their businesses off the ground. Every insanely successful startup story has a flip side. If you ask any great entrepreneur about what it takes make it, he or she will most likely mention one of these signs.

1. You can execute on your ideas.

“Y Combinator doesn’t invest in ideas, it invests in people” — Paul Graham

Execution is everything for startups. You may have the best idea and even have funding for it but if you can’t execute, you have no business. Having a great idea is not enough. You can have the most brilliant idea, but if it’s executed poorly, you will be out of business soon. You will ultimately end in the dead pool.

You don’t need an original idea to be successful. Dating is nothing new but Tinder changed how to help people find better dates online. Google has executed search brilliantly but it wasn’t the first search engine.

There are hundreds of people who may have had a similar idea as the one you are currently thinking about, but failed to execute. If you have what it takes to get an idea from nothing to a stable business, you will go far on your entrepreneurship journey. Ideas are cheap, it’s execution that matters.

2. You genuinely care about what you do or want to do.

If you don’t care enough about a product or service you want to provide, don’t even start it. Startups are not sprints. They are marathons. You won’t be able to build a business that can last if it doesn’t mean more than money to you.

Every entrepreneur needs that intense, driving or overmastering feeling of conviction about his or her idea to push it past the idea phase. Running a startup takes a lot of perseverance. And It can wear you down. It’s full of stress and set backs. And most startups fail. You’ve got to love it to get past every obstacle.

If you are not passionate about your career choice, you might as well give up right now, as your startup will never take off like it should. Solving a problem you deeply care about is an amazing way to start a company.

3. You are able get over failures in life and business.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” — Ken Robinson

Successful entrepreneurs know how to get over their failures. Failure is not sign of permanent trouble, but merely as a sidestep on the path to success. Great entrepreneurs know that. And they have the strength to move beyond temporary challenges.

Read about Richard Branson. You will be surprised by the number of businesses he founded in the past. You probably know about his most popular companies. But it goes beyond that.

Check out this timeline of his businesses now and in the past. Not all of them are still up and running though. But it gives you a fair idea about his perseverance and what it took him to make it that big as we know today.

4. You are a passionate life-long learner.

“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” — Jim Rohn

Most successful entrepreneurs spend considerable amount of time working on their personal development. There are no traditional rules for success. What works for Google may not necessarily work for Yahoo. Great entrepreneurs are constantly learning how their businesses can adjust and change with time to be relevant now and in the future. The process of exploring, understanding and even mastering different topics prepares entrepreneurs for emerging opportunities and helps them make informed decisions about their businesses.

Warren Buffett spends 80 to 90 percent of his day reading hundreds of pages to amass knowledge to be better at what he does. His industry thrives on information. Richard Branson never attended university but he has started and run some of the most unorthodox and successful companies in the world. Never stop learning. And keep asking critical questions. it’s the only way to stay relevant to your customers now and in the next decade. Entrepreneurs are passionate life-long learners.

5. You can you handle risk.

‘An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it’ — Roy Ash

How much you are willing to lose for your life’s work? One of the biggest risks most entrepreneurs take is the decision to leave their jobs to pursue their dream careers. When it gets to it, can you make that decision to focus on the one thing that matters to you? Most people can’t do it. The uncertainties can be overwhelming.

Entrepreneurs work really hard to limit their risks. But they still take calculated risks everyday to be successful. If you are better at minimizing your risks but can still make crucial life and business changing decisions, you will do well as an entrepreneur.