One thing many people learn from starting their own business is that you have to be in the right mindset from the very beginning. If you have the drive then all the rest should fall into place. But there are key questions you should be asking yourself before you even think about quitting your day job.
1. Are you the right sort of person to start up a business?
Not every one will have the right temperament to pursue this type of career. It requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Stress is a common occurrence as you ride the highs and lows that your new business brings with it. You need to be able to handle both, in a calm manner. Also, it can be quite lonely in the early stages if you’re working by yourself or even if you start your company with one or two others. You will need to build the business up before you can afford to hire more staff, so be prepared to work in a very small team for a while. If you are coming from a corporate company environment then the change will seem monumental. Make sure that it’s what you really want.
2. What are your reasons for starting your own business?
What do you hope to get out of it? An escape from the corporate world and rat race? A way to make lots of money in the quickest time possible? An easy way of making sure you get lots of time off work to do your own thing? Get a pen and paper and make a list, it will really help you think it through. But whatever your reasons just bear one thing in mind, success doesn’t come without hard work. If you’re looking for the easy life, this isn’t it. Of course, some of the perks above can be obtained once you are on the road to success, it just takes a bit of time. Remember that a business can easily fail as well as succeed and so be prepared for both.
3. Is there really a risk?
All businesses have an element of risk and new ones more so than any other. It’s a common perception unjustly spoken that founders have a gigantic level of risk when starting a business, but I can’t understand why that is. Granted, you have to leave a stable job, with guaranteed income and exchange it for something where the revenue streams may not be up and running – but as long as you have a great idea and real dedication then you should learn quickly. Not only do you get a real life MBA, but also the potential to get high rewards for your time and investment. Ask yourself ‘If it doesn’t work what can I do?’ If you’ve got qualifications and a good level of work experience behind you then you can always go back into another job in your industry. Would you be sad if you looked back on your life and weren’t able to say that you gave it a go?
4. Does your idea offer something unique, will people want it, and can it make money?
This is key. Your idea must be hot! It must satisfy a gap in the market which will address a customer need and be unique enough to succeed in the early stages against potential competition. Think about how are you better, where you think the market is going and how will it get there? Your vision must also have the ability to do what all businesses are created for, make profit. The Internet used to be full of ideas which had no hope of achieving profit, these quickly fell by the wayside. Now you need to be more realistic. Ask yourself ‘will my idea make money?’ and if the answer is yes then it has a good chance of lasting the distance. Get someone experienced involved at an early stage to look over your idea and give you some indication of its potential.
5. Innovate then implement
If one hundred per cent of people have ideas, 30 per cent of these are good enough to succeed as a profitable business, 10 per cent of these ideas are in the hands of those with the motivation and entrepreneurship to take them forward, and 10 per cent of these will actually become a business. That’s a total of 0.3 per cent. On the positive side, remember that if you have a great idea then a lot of people may have had the same one, but very few of them will have the motivation or ability to make it a success.
6. What does your instinct tell you?
This is difficult to put into words. It’s not scientific, it doesn’t have analysis behind it, it is just a feeling. An emotion so strong and overwhelming that you just know your idea will work and no one can demotivate you from implementing it. In fact, you will probably be willing to spend all your free time on it and implement it as quickly as possible. Do you want your idea to work, or do you know it will work?
7. Are you prepared to fail, fail again and then succeed?
There will be lots of time when things do not go your way and you lose heart. Perhaps a competitor has just arrived on the scene with a virtually identical product, a major client did not deliver, one of your key team members leaves, or you’re simply not getting any customers. This is the ‘test’ that all entrepreneur face where hard work and dedication will pay off. Just remember that when you think you’re at the bottom, something will come along and reward you for your persistence, giving you the lucky break you deserve.
Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding choice of career and if you decide that it’s for you then it’s a decision that could change your life. And the best thing about it is that it gets easier as you go along. Good luck!