Have you ever thought you could be a great entrepreneur… if only you had that special something?
Being your own boss can seem like one of the most rewarding experiences. You have no one to answer to but yourself. You can set your own hours and never have to ask permission to go on vacation. Every penny of profit goes right into your own bank account and you can feel like you’re actually making a difference in the world.
But how do you know if you are ready to start your own business?
Instead of diving head first, into the entrepreneurial world, stop and think rationally. More new business fails than succeed in the US. With proper planning, strategy, and a little luck you might just succeed in business. The first step of your journey into starting your own business should begin with some simple questions.
Ask yourself the following to help you think about what it takes to create a successful business.
- What is the reason for starting my own business? If your biggest reason to start a business is to get rich, you will most likely fail. It might sound corny, but you need a better reason than money.
- What kind of business do I want to have? There are service businesses and product businesses, brick and mortar and location independent businesses. There are companies that serve consumers and those who serve businesses. You have so many options. They are all different with very different requirements on you and your business.
- Do I want to sell a product or a service? A product business generally requires a lot more startup capital than a service business. If you have a skill, you can start a service business fairly quickly. A product business requires research and development, prototyping, manufacturing, etc.
- What can I do better than anyone else? If you are only as good as the next business, you won’t go far. What skills do you have that will help you get ahead of the competition?
- Can I do this by myself or do I need a business partner? Some of the most successful businesses were started by co-founders, think Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Even if you are not starting the next Apple, the right partner can make it easier on you to start a business.
- What activities can I do every day and not grow tired of doing? If you can build a business on skills that you enjoy doing, you are half-way there.
- Am I healthy? Do I have the time and the energy needed? Even if everything goes well, starting a business is a lot of hard work. You will work longer hours than you think now, and it will take longer than you think to succeed. To be an entrepreneur, you will be challenged physically and emotionally.
- Will I be able to balance my family life and my work life? If you want to spend more time with your family, starting a business might not be the best idea. At least, not in the beginning.
- Will I be able to run day-to-day dealings of a business? When you start a business you are in charge of everything. You don’t have to be a sales expert, but you have to know enough about selling to close deals. You don’t have to be an accountant, but you have to understand your financials. You don’t have to be an HR professional, but you have to know enough to stay compliant. There is a lot of different skills that are required to run a business, at least in the beginning, you will have to do most of it.
- Do I have enough money for start-up costs? Can I rely on family or friends if need be? Even if you start a business that requires very little money, you still need money to pay your bills.
- Do I know enough about technology to meet the needs of my business? Many of the technical skills you will need can be easily outsourced.
- Do I like to meet new people and will I feel comfortable engaging in conversations with potential business partners? You can be an introvert and do a great job at making new connections with people.
- Do I have relevant education and experience for the type of business I want to start? Do I need to be re-certified in anything? Some businesses require certain education or licenses. Are you willing to do what it takes to get them?
- If need be, what am I willing to sacrifice to ensure my business is a success? It will take many hours, weeks, months, and even years to reach your goals. Is that something you are willing to live with?
- Do I know what my personal and financial goals are for my business? It is important to go into starting a business with clear expectations. Be realistic, and come up with an exact dollar amount you need to pay your bills and other expenses.
- What types of insurance will I need? Of course, you should talk to an insurance professional. But, to get a less biased point of view, talk to entrepreneurs in similar businesses to the one you want to start.
- Do I have a unique idea? Something that fills a particular gap in a market? Your idea doesn’t have to be revolutionary, but it has to be an improvement on what is already out there. If you want to offer the same exact service as the competition, you will find a constant uphill battle.
- How will I be successful? This is one of the most complex questions you could ask yourself before starting a business. Business success is the result of many things. Answering the questions above will help you start your business the right way.
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, stop to see how you’re feeling. If you want to continue your journey to being an entrepreneur, you should be feeling relatively confident. If, on the other hand, you felt overwhelmed about the questions, then you might want re-think starting your own business.
This doesn’t mean that you need to have all of the answers to these questions in order to succeed with your business. Chances are you don’t have all of the answers. But for the ones that you don’t, you should be excited to delve deeper and find the answers. Starting a business is not an easy venture. It takes a lot of time and energy just to start it, let alone grow it into a successful business. There will be many ups and downs, and a lot of trial and error. But by beginning with this series of questions, you can anticipate if starting a business is right for you.
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