We’ve all dreamt of it: Being our own boss. It doesn’t matter where you are on the corporate ladder, or even if you’re just helping in a friend’s store or business, there have been moments where you have thought, “I can do this better. I’m leaving right now, going out the door and starting my own business where everything will be run perfectly and I’ll be rich and famous within a year.”
Within a few seconds, though, this enthusiasm is tempered by several other thoughts popping into your head, such as, “Where will I get the money to start? Will I have enough to live on? Do I actually have any idea what I’m talking about?”
As a small businessman myself who struck out while still working for a boss, I can tell you that the little voice whispering such ideas into your ear is right, there are some real issues that you need to take into consideration before venturing out. It can of course be done, but it won’t be easy, so let’s look at some of the obstacles you may face to give you the head start I didn’t have.
Is It Really A Good Idea?
The first question you should ask yourself is if your idea is a good one. We all have a friend or family member who said they had the perfect idea, then tried it out (renouncing their entire safety net beforehand of course) and then crashed and burned so hard you didn’t hear from them for a few years. And, when they told you their idea, you didn’t think it wasn’t very good in the first place. Do you feel a tiny bit guilty about not saying so at that time?
My point here is you really don’t want to be that person, so give some serious thought about what you’re setting out to do by researching the field you’re getting into and finding out if someone hasn’t already done it before you. Look at your plan, be a pessimist and think of everything that could go wrong. Try to think if you’re qualified for this field. If there are already others doing it, what do you offer that makes you better?
After you’ve convinced yourself that you’re good to go, talk to the friends and family that you know will tell the truth and present your idea to them. Listen to what they have to say; really listen. If you still think it’s a good idea, then go ahead and do it. Stories about people that went their own way despite others’ advice and did well are just that: stories. Most people that do that burn out like that friend or family member just mentioned. Listen and learn from people who know what they’re doing.
Are You Motivated And Focused?
The other reason you’re doing all that research and talking to people is to find out if you think that you can stay motivated while you build up your business. An aphorism has it that it takes five years to build a business. Do you have the motivation to work hard at it for five years? And will you be able to remain focused all that time? These aren’t questions to gloss over.
If you lose interest, you just spent time doing something that won’t translate onto a resume and you’ll likely have wasted yours and maybe other people’s money. Take a long, hard look at yourself before you strike out on your own, you may save yourself a lot of hurt in the end.
Do You Have Enough Money?
“You need money to make money.” Do you have enough? Or will you need the help from the people you’re running the idea past? Will you be able to make it back in a reasonable amount of time? Is the proposed profit (you calculated that, right?) worth the money that is being put into the venture? You’d be surprised how often people don’t ask these questions and find themselves in a deep, dark hole of their own devising before they know it.
Banks can help out, and are often glad to, but their money costs money and that can hurt your long-term growth if you’re not careful. Consider hiring a financial planner or accountant with a reputation for honesty before you put your or your family’s savings on the line and start a business venture that may not be profitable.
While all of this may sound discouraging, it’s not! The upshot is that you can’t just jump in. You need to plan a big move like this for it to be successful. I did it, and so did many others. Good luck!