Quiz: Do You Think Like an Entrepreneur?

Last Updated Aug 12, 2010 7:34 PM EDT

Maybe it has been nagging you for years – the urge to be your own boss, to try to build something great. Perhaps you have an idea that you're certain has promise, but that you're not sure you could pull off. Maybe you keep asking yourself whether you have what it takes, although you're not really sure what that "it" is.

Well, we can't answer that question; we're not fortune tellers. We're also not going to tell you if you have the right personality traits to succeed as an entrepreneur because most of the research out there debunks the whole notion that such traits exist. What we can tell you is whether you think like a successful entrepreneur. Just take the quiz below, which we created with the help of three business professors — Saras Sarasvathy of the University of Virginia, Robert Wiltbank of Willamette University, and Stuart Read of the Swiss business school IMD — who study what makes entrepreneurs successful. A key finding of their work is that great entrepreneurs are skilled at navigating fledgling businesses through uncharted terrain. Put another way, good entrepreneurs thrive amid uncertainty.

Think you have what it takes? Read the scenario below and then decide how you would make the following five business decisions.

The scenario:

For 12 years you've had a well-paid, stable job as an engineer at a major computer manufacturer. Of late, you've become much more interested in an idea you've been working on in your own time: A wearable computer device that you believe has huge potential for changing the way people interact with their software applications. But when you try to sell your company on the idea, it goes nowhere. You've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and fortunately you have all of the technical skills to create the product effectively and efficiently. You decide it's now or never.

1. As you start developing the idea, what do you think is your best next step?
2. How will you decide who you're going to market your product to?
3. You know how you want to build your device. How will you measure the progress of your product development?
4. As you start to build your product, you discover another, better-funded company is working on technology that would be very complementary to your own — actually, it would make your idea a killer product. How do you respond?
5. As you proceed, how will you approach making investments to move the opportunity forward?