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updated 2/11/2013 2:21:56 PM ET 2013-02-11T19:21:56

Sunday February 10th begins the Chinese Year of the Snake. While some cultures consider the snake to be a bad omen, Neil Somerville, author of Your Chinese Horoscope 2013: What the Year of the Snake Holds in Store for You (HarperCollins, 2012), says it’s quite desirable in the Chinese zodiac.

"Those born in the Year of the Snake are born under the sign of wisdom," he says. "They tend to be quiet, reflective and secretive. They are patient and observant but are also highly ambitious. They choose their moments well and are often successful in later life."

Using the Chinese lunar calendar, astrologers during the Han Dynasty (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD) assigned an animal to each year. They believed the time of your birth predicted your destiny, and personality traits were outlined for each of the 12 animal zodiac signs, which include a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. 

Somerville says snake individuals, born during the lunar years (which begin and end in late January to early February) of 1929, 1941,1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013, are deep thinkers and enjoy research and study.They have a good business brain and are generally shrewd in their dealings. Famous entrepreneurs who were born during the Year of the Snake include Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart.

Related: Hunting for Business Ideas? Consider Looking at These 8 Hot Industries

The Year of the Snake might also be a good year to launch a new company, says Marina Lighthouse, author of Chinese Astrology Predictions and FengShui for 2013 (Beacon Light Publishing, 2013).

"Businesses that are ‘born’ during the year take on those zodiac traits," she says. "Astrologers also assigned elements to each year, and 2013 is a year of water. According to the Chinese astrological belief, water is associated with money, wealth and commerce. Combine the snake with water, and it could be an auspicious year to open a business."

Related: Feng Shui and the Successful Entrepreneur

Lighthouse and Somerville agree that companies started during a snake year should not forget the importance of market research and product development.

"This isn't the time to do anything rash," says Lighthouse. "Move forward steadily and smoothly. Work hard and keep an even pace to succeed. It’s a year of steady progress; discipline and attention to details will help you achieve goals."

If neither you nor your business were born during a Snake year, there’s still good news; ideas and concepts born this year benefit from its sign, says Somerville."Interestingly it was in a Snake year when Apple launched the iconic iPod (2001) and when the CD (1977) was invented," he says. "Both have impacted the world so much." 

Somerville says the Snake year offers considerable promise for everyone.

"It is a year for personal development, study and the furthering of skills," he says. "In this year, which offers so much potential, it is important that we begin, act upon our aims and do our personal best. There is a lot now to be gained."

Related: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Testing a Business Idea

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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