Want to start a business? 20 questions to ask yourself first.
Being your own boss can be rewarding, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. Sure, to some degree, you have more freedoms working for yourself than you do working for someone else. But often young entrepreneurs find that the workload and the stress of having to continually perform to keep their young business viable can be too much for them. It's true that, statistically in the U.S., more new businesses fail than succeed. You shouldn't let that discourage you but if you're thinking about starting your own business, there are some important things you should think about before making your decision.
People start businesses for a lot of reasons, not just because they have some great idea that can change the world. In fact, many small businesses do very well marketing others' products and services.
Have you ever felt trapped in a job working for a company? That happens to lots of people and many of them dream of one day starting their own business and working in a way that gives them more control over their worklife such as hours, pay and overall job security--hey you're not going to walk into your own office and fire yourself unexpectedly one day, right?
Unlimited earning capacity
When you work for yourself, the sky's the limit. You can potentially increase your own earning capacity to limitless levels if you grow a successful business that generates realiable profit. If you could afford to pay yourself more, wouldn't you do it?
Out of necessity
The job market is unpredictable. "Permanent employment" still only means you're only employed until your employer decides to let you go. Finding a new job can also be quite a chore, in some climates, near impossible even. When you work for yourself, you guarantee your own employment by applying yourself to your own business. As long as you are doing the right things that grow your business and keep it viable, you're employed!
A change of lifestyle
Not everyone is cut out to be a nine-to-fiver. For some, it's not even an option such as in the case of new families in which at least one parent must stay home with children. Some just seek a change from the "daily grind" wrought with routine and process. Some seek a greater challenge and starting a business can fulfill you multidimensionally in a way that you can actually enjoy getting up and working rather than feel like you're being drug to a funeral every morning.
So is starting a business for you? Ask yourself the following questions and answer as candidly and in as much detail as possible.
- Why do I want to start a business? What are the three primary factors influencing this decision?
- Specifically what kind of business do I want to start?
- Am I interested in selling products or services?
- What are my key personal strengths--what am I better at than anyone else?
- What could I see myself actually enjoying doing every day and can I form a business around it?
- Am I a better leader or do I need a partner who I can rely on to help blaze a path for me?
- Am I ready to devote the necessary time, resources and capital to be successful in business?
- Am I in a good place physically, mentally and emotionally to dedicate a lot of time and energy into starting a new business?
- Do I have personal and financial support of family and friends to accomplish my goals?
- How will I balance family and business?
- Do I possess the necessary skills and abilities to start and control the day-to-day operations of a business?
- Do I have up-to-date working knowledge of technology necessary for efficient operation in order to keep pace in the business world? If not, where would I get it?
- Am I open to meeting new people and listening to a variety of new ideas?
- Is my past education and experience relevant to the industry I'm looking at? Is my education and/or certifications sufficient to do what I want to do?
- What sacrifices and risks am I willing to take to be successful?
- What are my financial goals, both personally and for the business?
- Have I made proper provisions for income and insurance (health and life) while waiting to achieve business success?
- Why do I believe I can make this business work?
- Is my business concept unique? Do I have an advantage to beat out similar competing businesses? How?
- Why do I believe this type of business is sustainable?
If you're honest in your responses, you should start to get an idea of whether or not you're willing and able to start a business, if this is the right time to do it and what kind of business you might actually pursue. Only you can make the right decision for you, but remember that no successful businessperson need look back to ask, "what if?"