Maybe you’re tired of working for someone else. Perhaps the daily 9 to 5 doing the same old thing has worn you out. You might be fed up with not getting the credit or promotion you feel you deserve at work. Could be the corporate structure has lost its luster. Or you feel that you have a great product idea that no one in your company wants to pursue. Maybe you lost your job and your employment search is not producing much. Whatever the reason, you’re beginning to think about starting your own business.
That sounds great doesn’t it? Being your own boss, making your own schedule, setting your own rules – what could be better? While it all sounds good, it’s a serious decision – one which requires a lot of self-evaluation, thought and planning. The reality is that starting your own business generally requires incredible commitment, long hours, and what we used to call “stick-to-it-iveness”. Use the following information to thoughtfully determine if you are cut out for the startup lifestyle.
You need to ask yourself some hard questions and answer them truthfully to see if you’re cut-out for entrepreneurship. Are you ready to work as hard as is necessary? Are you willing and able to swallow your pride and learn new things along the way? Are you prepared to sacrifice financially for a long time, as a new business typically does not begin to pay off until considerable time has elapsed? Are you self-motivated, passionate and determined? Are you disciplined, organized, and humble? If you can answer “YES” to most or all of these questions, you just may have the attributes to succeed in owning your own business.
Before you decide what kind of business you’d like to start, you need to take a hard realistic look at your personal skill set and available resources. For example, if you’re an experienced carpenter, you’d probably consider opening a home remodeling business as opposed to a beauty supply shop. Make a list of all the specific skills you have. Review your work history and determine what your strongest area of expertise is. While you’re doing these exercises, try to pinpoint which of your traits you're most passionate about. A strong passion for what you’re doing will serve you well in getting a new business off the ground.
Most importantly, make a realistic assessment of your available resources (e.g. tools, equipment, workspace etc.), especially the financial ones. Many a great business idea has gone down the tubes for lack of adequate financing. It’s critical to have enough funds on hand to support your business until it begins to make money, which is usually longer than you think it will be. You can personally fund it, take out a U.S. Small Business Administration site can not only provide you with tips and resources regarding funding, but also information on market research, business plans, and much more.
Do you want to be totally independent or perhaps purchase a franchise? Do you want to work from home, open an internet business, rent an office, or work from a storefront? Do you have particular products or services in mind to offer the public? These questions must be answered before taking the next step, which is…
Determine if somebody else is offering the same product or service. If they’re not, maybe there’s a good reason; or maybe you’ve found a niche to be filled. Is there other competition out there? How much, and how might it affect your plan? Is there an actual, sustainable demand for your service or product? Does your product or service fill a unique need that isn’t being filled by someone else? If you feel comfortable doing it yourself, conduct extensive market research for your product/services and your projected geographic reach. Your best bet, and one that’s worth the investment, is to hire a qualified market research consultant. By doing so, you’ll receive a totally objective opinion about your chances for success.
If you’ve made it this far, this is the next step. At a minimum, be prepared to objectively state the purpose of your business; your customer demographics; the uniqueness of your product or service; your competition and why your product or service is better; how your product or service will be priced, positioned and marketed; and how you realistically view the financial state of your business over the next three to five years.
Well, if you’ve gotten this far and haven’t been discouraged, owning your own business may be just the ticket for you. The next step is to actually execute what has been described and see how you feel about your chances after completing all of this ‘homework’. Owning your own business can be a very satisfying experience; just take the time and steps to be sure that it’s absolutely right for you.
Regardless of whether you work for yourself or somebody else, occasional financial emergencies do pop up. Don’t let these temporary situations stop you from achieving your financial goals. Apply for an easy, inexpensive installment loan and get right back on track!