Starting a business is easy – it’s surviving that’s tough. About 80% of start-ups don’t survive a year and most of the rest are gone within five. If that freaks you out, that’s OK. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur.
If, on the other hand, you are exhilarated by the challenge, it’s time to move on to a little honest soul-searching.
- Can you make decisions quickly and learn from making the wrong choices?
- Do you have apersonal vision that propels you forward or are you focusing merely on a goal?
- Do you have a lot of energy? And I don’t mean just physical energy, which you will need in abundance as you will probably work like a dog – every day – for an indefinite period of time. It’s also emotional energy, a high level of self-confidence, a capacity to seek and take risks, an innate aptitude to thrive on competition.
- Do you have adequate resources, financial and otherwise? It’s vital to have enough money to bankroll your new business, which must also include a marketing and advertising budget. How can you sell anything if no one knows you’re around? Not only that, you must also have enough money to sustain your household. I hear you need a six-month cushion to help your enterprise get off the ground. I’m not convinced that’s enough. Being successful in business is not an overnight thing. Or even a six-month thing.
Support is vital for entrepreneurs
Does your spouse support you in this venture? Do you have any other support systems in place, such as a business mentor or a coach?
- Do you have the right experience to succeed? Being an enthusiastic hobbyist does not automatically translate into commercial success. Just because you’re a great cook doesn’t mean you can be a successful restaurateur. If you don’t have experience in business, consider partnering with someone who does. If the idea of a partner doesn’t appeal to you, be prepared to pay for the expertise you’ll need on the business side.
- Is your product or service unique? Is there a demand, or market, for your product or service, so much so that people are willing to pay you for it? If you’ve decided to start selling bubble wrap because no one in town sells it, maybe it’s because someone else is giving it away.
- Have you done your due diligence? If you want to start a retail business, what are appropriate locations? If your business will rely heavily on foot traffic, don’t rent a storefront in a medical center or similar professional services locales.
What is the best time of year to open your business? A tax-preparation company might be better off opening its doors before the end of the year rather than on April 16.
- Have I completed a business plan? Passion is great, but a business plan will take you a lot further. Not only that, but it will improve your chances to raise capital. To get a good business plan, ask these questions:
- What do you want your business to be?
- What do you want out of your business?
- What are your goals?
- What do you have now?
- What do you need to achieve success?
- What is your timetable?
- What are your short- and long-term objectives and what actions do you need to take to get there?
- What is your mission statement? How are you going to make sure your mission statement is carried out?
- Who is your competition? Who is your target market? What is your marketing and sales strategy?
- Who will run your business? How many employees will you need? How much will it cost to hire a staff?
- What conditions will impact your business? What is in your control? What conditions do you have no control over? How can you mitigate those things over which you have no control?
Self-employment can be wonderfully rewarding. If you think you’re ready for the challenge, consider hiring a coach to help you get there.
What do you find is your biggest challenge as a business owner? Please share in the comments.