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All start-up plans begin with taking a serious look at your personal characteristics and technical or professional qualifications. Because setting up and being responsible for running your own business is demanding.

Personal requirements

Setting up or taking over a business requires total personal commitment. In the first few years in particular, hours can be very long and work can be very intense. So, before you begin, think about your resilience under pressure, as well as in the face of economic uncertainty.

Tip: Business founder test

Tests are available on the Internet to help you reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. You can complete these online, e.g. on the BMWK business start-up portal:

How you deal with customers, your bank, business partners or staff, social skills, such as the ability to communicate and compromise, negotiation skills and openness to other people are all factors that can determine your success. For CEOs, other qualities are required, such as the ability to make and enforce decisions; entrepreneurial vision and a sense of reality are also important.

Finally, support from family and friends is important, so you need to involve them in your plans. The people with whom you are in direct contact will usually be good judges of your personal qualities and skills.

Quote Conrad Pischel, Master Boat and Shipbuilder
Conrad Pischel

My industry requires solid craftsmanship training evidenced with a master craftsman’s certificate. You won’t go anywhere without this qualification. It also requires a good deal of stamina. Being self-employed, my working day can quickly turn into a 14-hour marathon. A certain perfectionism and a tendency towards being meticulous are also qualities that are very helpful. [...] Naturally, networks that have been well developed in the planning phase also help.

- Conrad Pischel, Master Boat and Shipbuilder

Technical and professional qualifications

As well as personal qualities, technical and professional qualifications are also crucial. Find out what expertise and specialist knowledge is required for your project, and what qualifications and certificates you need to have (e.g. master craftsman’s certificate, certificate of reliability for restaurant and hotel owners and taxi drivers, etc.).

As a future entrepreneur, you also need business and commercial knowledge to keep an eye on all costs, sales and revenue and to keep proper accounts. Do an honest and objective audit of your knowledge and skills and, if in doubt, obtain further qualifications. Most STARTERCENTERS NRW run seminars – many of them free of charge – where you can acquire or brush up on the necessary knowledge and skills.