24 de junho de 2024

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Successful entrepreneurs. What does it take to be one?

Click on the link to listen to the dialogue “Successful entrepreneurs. What does it take to be one?” and then do the activities below.


Dialogue comprehension
1. What are the main qualities of an entrepreneur in Don´s opinion?
2. Does luck play any role at all in turning a company into a successful business according to Don?
3. Does Alan plan to start his own company some day? How does he feel about it?
4. What advice does Don give Alan about starting his own business?

Find words or expressions in the dialogue with the following similar meanings:
a- a small business that has just been started: _________________
b- try hard; make a lot of effort: _____________________
c – become weaker or less important:_________________
d- make neither profit nor loss: _______________________
e- manage a company; control a company: ________________
f- have a big influence on; be very important: ____________________
g- determined; hardworking and ambitious: _____________________
h- talent; natural ability to do something: ________________________
i- become frightened to do something you had planned to do: ________________
j- an attempt to do something: ________­­­___________
k- influential person or organization, esp. in business or politics: ______________
l- the point where a company neither makes a profit nor a loss: ______________
m- become successful: __________________________
n- lucrative: ______________________


  1. Have you ever thought of starting your own company? What kind of business would you choose?
  2. What are in your opinion the main advantages of having your own business? Are there any disadvantages at all?
  3. What are some of the main challenges of running a company in you opinion?

Language practice – Choose the alternative that best explains the meaning of the words in bold in the sentences below:

  1. “It takes most new businesses at least a couple of months to just break even.”, said Gary to a coworker.

a- become profitable       b- start making a lot of money       c- make neither profit nor loss       d- become successful

  1. “Who´s been managing the shoe store since Mr. Smith retired?”, Todd asked a friend.

a- working       b- driving       c- developing       d- running

  1. Many people get cold feet when they have to speak in public.

a- become excited       b- become frightened       c- become impatient      d- become annoyed

  1. “I´m sure Mike´s new business will become successful in no time. He´s got a lot of experience in the field.”, said Luke to his friends.

a- take up      b- take away       c- take on       d- take off

  1. Richard has a special ability for languages.

a- nich      b- gift      c- shift      d- hit

  1. Women are very important in the workplace today.

a- play a major role      b- play a minor role       c- play a relative role       d- play a different role

  1. Jake is a hard-working and determined employee who always strives for excellence.

a- support       b- enjoy; have a great time       c- try hard; make a lot of effort       d- admire; look up to

  1. “It seems that their interest in the project began to wane after a couple of months.”, said Howard to his coworkers.

a- become stronger or more important       b- become stable         c- become sustainable         d- become weaker or less important

Dialogue Script: Successful Entrepreneurs – What does it take to be one?

Alan: I´ve always been intrigued by the fact that some companies can grow so quickly in a short period of time while others strive to just break even and never really take off.
Do you think that´s solely related to the competence and talent of the people who are running them?
Don: Surely there are many other factors to be considered, but I´d say that competence and talent of the owners play a major role.
Alan: What are the main qualities of an entrepreneur in your opinion?
Don: The first word that comes to my mind is initiative. Successful entrepreneurs are also usually determined, hard-working and driven and have a sense of opportunity. Many entrepreneurs are also visionaries, they have the gift of looking into the future and knowing what product or service will be in demand.
Alan: Wow, it´s pretty much like having a crystal ball or something like that, right? (laughing) Just kidding! Now seriously, I guess you´re right, it does take someone with many special abilities to be an entrepreneur.
Don: That´s right, and let´s not forget about leadership. Entrepreneurs are usually natural leaders.
Alan: Right! Do you think those qualities are also crucial for someone planning to be a franchisee of a well-known product or service?
Don: I wouldn´t say crucial. Many people do well as franchisees because besides being hard-working they are methodical and can follow a formatted business plan easily.
Alan: I see, what about luck, do you think it plays any role at all in turning a company into a successful and profitable business?
Don: Well, my friend, as the saying goes, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. In my opinion it would be unrealistic to say that luck has anything to do with making a company successful, but that´s just my point of view.
Alan: I think I agree with you Don. You know, I plan to start my own company in the future, only sometimes I get cold feet when I think about all the details involved in such an endeavor.
Don: There are in fact many factors involved. You should do your homework first before even thinking of leaving the company you work for to start up your own business. This is a market-driven economy, you have to know the players well and above all having a detailed business plan is a must.
Alan: Yeah, I´ve thought a lot about that. I guess planning ahead is crucial!
Don: It is as a matter of fact, but if you´re willing to do whatever it takes to be a successful entrepreneur then you´re half-way there. You should also bear in mind that you shouldn´t let your enthusiasm wane if things don´t work out fine from the very beginning. Remember it takes most start-ups at least 8 months to just reach breakeven point.
Alan: It´s been enlightening talking to you Don. How can I thank you for such sound advice?
Don: Oh, forget it Alan! You´re always welcome, you know that, and in spite of what I said about luck I do wish you good luck!
Alan: (laughing) Wow, I guess I could do with a little luck Don! I appreciate it. Thanks!

Ref. “Fluent Business English” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young, Disal Editora

José Roberto A. Igreja is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including:

LET´S TALK ABOUT IT! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book 

Available on Amazon (e-book) and UICLAP (print book)


Let's Talk About It!: The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book (English Edition) por [Jose Roberto A. Igreja]

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Quer ter aulas de Business English online ao vivo? Clique aqui!