What You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business
It seems that everyone has a grand idea for starting a business. Does having an idea, however, actually translate to becoming an entrepreneur? Launching and running a startup business requires hard work, dedication and a willingness to sacrifice. Before embracing the entrepreneurial life, potential entrepreneurs should ask the following questions to determine if you are ready.
1. What’s the reason for starting the business? If the answer to that is to get rich, then you’re probably not ready. Most startup founders and entrepreneurs don’t get rich. What they do get is freedom to work for themselves and to do something that they love – often without the safety net or day-to-day paycheck. Most businesses fail before they ever take off. Many successful entrepreneurs had to wade through several failures before they found a business model, service or product that worked.
2. Are you OK with risks? Risks are an innate part of the startup process. An entrepreneur risks both his capital and that of investors. Also, someone has to take the risk of not having a nine-to-five job and steady hours and work weeks. Entrepreneurship is all about uncertainty, including uncertainty for the future.
3. What type of personality do you have? Most successful entrepreneurs are creative, aggressive and independent. They accept rejection, but also learn from mistakes and setbacks. Optimism is required to get through the tough times. They are creative problem-solvers and can quickly come up with new ideas. They’re willing to learn from others and actively seek out mentors in the business. Successful entrepreneurs are also adept negotiators and networkers – often actively seeking out new people to meet and with which to network.
4. How unique is the business idea? A good idea should be unique enough that it can take advantage of a niche that no other business has. Yet, there should be a solid enough market for the product or service as well. If it’s so different that people can’t see a use for it, then it’s no good for anyone.
5. How are your leadership skills? A person who wants to start a business should be able to see himself as the boss. Ask yourself if you’re ready to make all of the decisions, or if you think you’ll need a business partner.
6. How willing are you to give up personal commitments? Being an entrepreneur does not conform to the standard work week. Most entrepreneurs work long hours – trying to get work done, making sales or just networking. This may sometimes mean giving up personal time and commitments. A potential startup founder should speak to family and friends and ensure that they are ready to support this lifestyle.
7. Are you ready to put in all the legwork? Having an idea is just the beginning. From there, it’s writing the business plan, finding financing, getting loans, dealing with accountants/lawyers, etc. Then, it’s the long-term need to find steady cash flow, hire contractors/employees, obtain sales, etc. Once the business is launched, there are still a lot more that needs to be done. If you have an idea, but don’t want to work hard, then you’re probably not entrepreneurial material.
A potential entrepreneur should always do a self-assessment before embracing the lifestyle. The worse thing that could happen is that the entrepreneur gets mid-way through the startup phases and realizes that it’s too much to handle.