Thinking of starting your own business? Before you plan your grand opening, ask yourself these 10 questions to make sure that you’re ready economically – and emotionally – to take it on.
1. Am I willing to sacrifice personal time to run my business?
Business owners, especially in the first years of the company, don’t have the luxury of holidays off or even sick days. Your business will always have a pressing matter that needs your attention. The good news? If you are passionate about your industry, working hard to make your business a success will be a source of joy instead of feeling like a sacrifice. This infographic from The Huffington Post sheds some light on the roles of a business owner.
2. Is my idea unique enough?
Maybe you are thinking of opening a salon or spa in your neighborhood, or you have a great idea for a restaurant inspired by your grandma’s recipes. Whatever your dream business is, you need to define what will set your company apart from your competitors. Consider investing in a market analysis to assess the potential success of your idea. It could save you money in the long run and help your business. Entrepreneur.com shares some ideas on how to find the perfect business idea here.
3. Do I have the money or good credit to start the business?
It usually takes months, if not years, for a new business to become profitable. (That also means you shouldn’t get discouraged if you don’t become an overnight millionaire.) What can you do? Plan for unforeseen expenses, like an air conditioner that needs to be replaced in the middle of July. And make absolutely sure you know your credit history, especially if you need a bank loan to start your business. Good credit can go a long way when it comes to getting the start-up capital your business needs. The SBA has some great tips for acquiring additional funding here.
4. Can I start a part-time business?
If you want to become your own boss without taking on all the risk of starting your own business, consider starting your business as a part-time venture. You’ll maintain a stable income while you decide whether running your own business is really something you would like to do. The disadvantage, especially if your business involves employees, is the lack of your personal touch when it comes to managing your expectations and what actually gets done. Another important consideration: you would be working your usual hours, then dedicating your after-work time to your business. Make sure you are physically able to handle the extra hours and know how to manage your time to avoid mental burnout. Inc.com shared some thought on how to run a part-time business here.
5. Am I passionate about the product or service I will sell?
If you don’t care about what you’re selling, why should anyone else? You need to be able to sell your idea to the bank, potential investors or partners and, of course, your customers. Your passion for your business is key, and the more you know about your industry, product or service the more successful you will be.
6. Can I multitask?
An entrepreneur needs to be the boss, marketing specialist and human resources department all in one. If working on one thing during a nine-to-five shift is your ideal situation, developing a small business is probably not for you. You need to be able to wear many hats everyday to be a successful business owner.
7. Am I willing to take risks?
Risk is part of the very nature of being an entrepreneur. Any investment is a bet that there is a market for that product, service or idea, and as with any type of gamble, you have to assume the risk of losing. Before starting your business, make sure you have the mental capacity to survive lean times. Be aware of how much money you are willing to invest and if that amount will be enough for the successful operation of your enterprise.
8. Do I have the support of my family and friends?
The encouragement and support of your friends and family will be crucial to your well-being and the development of your business – especially while you work long hours to get your business off the ground. Talk to your spouse or partner and discuss the sacrifices involved in order to avoid conflicts once the business is operating. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice that could be valuable for the growth and success of your venture.
9. Am I able to plan ahead and anticipate my company’s future?
The successful businessperson has the ability to foresee industry trends and to adapt swiftly to change. When you own a business it is not enough to deal with the day-to-day happenings. You have to find the time and resources to define the course of the company, study the market and make the necessary adjustments along the way. You don’t have to be psychic, but your ability to seek new opportunities and plan ahead will be an asset as your business develops.
10. Are you a leader and do you enjoy relating to others?
When you decide to be your own boss and if your business is successful, there is a good chance that you will soon be someone else’s boss. Good employees are the foundation of a successful enterprise, and it is crucial to establish good relationships with your employees. It is important that you possess the leadership skills to bring about the best efforts and commitment from your staff. Good people skills are also an asset when developing relations with your business’ support network, and its clients and suppliers.