So you think you’re ready, willing and able to strike out on your own? Why? Opening a business is a dream many people have, but not everyone is equipped for it. And worse, many make aspiring entrepreneurs move to open their businesses with misconceptions about what the adventure will require of them.
Entrepreneurship is all about risk and reward. Are you ready for the trials and tribulations? Are you entering entrepreneurship for the right reasons? Launching a new venture requires some clear-headed thinking, so let us help you get ready for your new business with our aspiring entrepreneur reality check.
DO take the leap into entrepreneurship because...
You have a passion for the business.
Artist, writers and musicians fall in this category, but it can be for any type of business. If you are passionate about the business you want to open than it is a good reason to do it. That passion will keep you going. A business can take months if not over a year to get a foothold on the community, if you do not have passion for it, then you will surrender and give up.
You love what you do, but you want to improve upon it.
You may already work for a business doing something you love doing, something you are passionate about, but you think there are ways to do it better. There is nothing wrong with striking out on your own; the business world is always evolving and you can be a step in that. Cars were around before Henry Ford added the assembly line idea to building them, which most every car company does now.
You want to be paid based on how well you’re actually doing.
While you will still have bills to pay, when you own a business you are not financially tied to another person's business and whims. There is no cap to how much you can make. While we would suggest when building your business plan you setup a salary for yourself to make sure you and your family can survive, and put a certain amount back into the business, anything beyond that is yours to make decisions about.
You want to be your own boss, and are equipped to be the boss to others.
There is nothing wrong with listing wanting to be your own boss as one of the reasons you want to be an entrepreneur. You may feel hindered when working for other people and just want to call the shots yourself. While you may have investors to answer to, at the end of the day, you are the boss.
The other half of this is being sure you can be a good leader to others. Do you feel that is a strong suit of yours? Have you led others in other positions and found those endeavors smooth and successful? If leadership isn’t what you’re offering, think twice about entrepreneurship. Hiring an experienced manager can help you guide the day-to-day operations, but you’ll still need the skills to make big decisions, set the tone of your company and inspire your employees.
DON’T become an entrepreneur because...
You want to become rich.
This is something lots of people think about, but you might as well play the lottery if this is your aspiration. While making a lot of money is not beyond reach, it should not be the reason to try your hand as starting a business.
Remember, while Apple is a huge business now, back in 1976, the Steves and Ronald were just a few guys trying to start a business out of a garage. Most of their contemporaries never got close to being the company Apple became.
You hate your current job.
Hating your job is not a reason to run out and start a business. If you are unhappy with your job, consider why that is and will running your own business fix it. If you hate the time it takes to get to the office each day, and the hours you have to put in, keeping you from being with your family, starting a business is not the answer. If you don't like your boss, starting a business is also not the answer. Yeah, you'll get away from the boss you don't like, but you’ll be taking on a whole new set of problems at the helm of the ship.
You want to have more free time.
Running a business is a 24 hours, 7-days a week job... with some overtime thrown in for good measure. You will be busy because every significant decision is going to pass through you, even if you plan to hire managers.
For example, there is a shop here in Tucson I have been going to for nearly 20 years. It has been in the same place the whole time and has always done well, and until recently, the owner was there almost every time I went in. After 28 years, he is finally taking more time to himself. Point being, you can not expect much down time as you get started.
You are hoping to become famous.
Most businesses do not become famous, some chains get huge, most business will be local, or only know to a niche group. You might be known in your area, but most businesses that is the extent of how well your business will be known. Once again, your business, unless your face is the logo and on your product, you will not be too famous.
In 1975, Wally Amos started his first cookie shop and named it Famous Amos. And he and the cookies did become famous before he sold the business in 1988. But while you can look up pictures, he is not someone you would recognize walking down the street if you didn't already know him.
So, why do you really want to be an entrepreneur? Consider this question carefully. Many business fail within 18 months, and a large number that make it past that will not hit the 10 year mark. It’s a risk, but the reward is there for you. Starting a business is not for everyone, but if you have the passion and/or the energy to enter entrepreneurship, then it may be something you should try. Start by putting a business plan together and looking at competitors. There could be a business out there that you are just the right person to start.