I’d say that being a business owner is a profession on its own – a multi-faceted and demanding one at that.
The truth is, only you can determine whether you’ll make a good businessperson or not. Ticking off a checklist of entrepreneurial traits does not make you the ideal entrepreneur. And a few flaws don’t mean that you should give up the idea either.
Having said that, there are a few major and obvious aspects you need and don’t need to run a business.
You should start a business if:
1. You’re a self-starter and you like responsibility.
I’ve heard the word ‘self-starter’ too many times. But it’s still essential to business ownership. It’s always going to be up to you to take the initiative, and once you do, it requires commitment and accountability.
2. Family, friends, investors, and/or partners are onboard with it.
Unfortunately, it’s not always about what you want. And eventually you’ll need someone to support you – whether financially or emotionally or in some other way – so if you have people behind you, then go for it.
3. The product/service makes you enthusiastic, and the customers genuinely matter.
We always hear this: “You need to be passionate.” Of course you do. A business without a dream is a deadweight. Just don’t forget that passion alone won’t run the company for you.
4. There’s enough startup capital for at least a year.
This isn’t to say that without 12 months’ worth of money, it’s out of the question; but it would be great if you have sufficient financial reserves in place, and it would start the business off on the right foot.
5. The thought of working with people (and looking after them) excites you.
Yeah, sure, you’ll be your own boss. But you won’t exactly be by yourself; remember the partners/co-owners, employees, and the customers. You’re especially a slave to the latter. But if you love interacting with others, then this is for you.
6. You’re curious and willing to learn new tasks and concepts.
Versatility is a crucial asset for any business owner. You’ll find yourself juggling things like bookkeeping and marketing, in addition to your actual work. Which can be interesting too!
7. You are confident!
Why is this vital? Because you are your only motivation! Success partly relies on self-assurance. But don’t simply depend on that – hard work is just as, if not more, important.
8. You know when it’s time to let go.
Sorry to end the positives on a negative, but there’s a sky-high heap of business carcasses, the ones that didn’t make it. The risk of failure is always going to be there, and if you’re smart, you’ll know when to abandon ship.
Don’t bother beginning a business if:
1. You can’t afford a huge financial loss.
That’s not to say that the above will definitely happen, but there’s always a big possibility. If you’re already low on funds, and/or can’t see yourself getting out of future financial woes, then don’t take the risk.
2. The phrase “change of schedule and lifestyle” sounds terrible.
If you like things to remain the way they are, then forget it. Business ownership comes with big change. Without flexibility, it won’t work.
3. Your family can’t deal with it.
Starting and running a company can take a huge toll on your personal relationships. If you have a spouse, children, or people who constantly rely on you, it’s going to get tricky. Make sure that the entrepreneurial obligations won’t interfere with your life at home.
4. Only one kind of job/work appeals to you.
If you just want to do what you like, and let the rest take care of itself on its own, the business is not going to work. You’ll have to take on things you never saw yourself doing, especially managerial and administrative activities.
5. The vague ideas and plans that you make never materialize.
Are you the kind of person who doesn’t follow through on your thoughts and words? Business is all about putting strategies into practice and seeing them through ’til the end.
6. The words ‘integrity’ and ‘ethics’ cannot be found in your personal dictionary.
The world has enough business crooks. Please save others some grief, and stick to something that’s not so tempting to dishonest people.
7. You’re in a poor mental/physical state.
Business can and will take a lot out of you. Don’t jeopardize your health and sanity if you’re not emotionally sound and if your body is not up for the exertion.
8. You’re not ready to manage employees and deal with customers directly.
The nice thing about working for yourself is that only you can tell yourself what to do. But you still have to hire, supervise, guide (and fire when necessary) employees. Plus, as business owner, you’re the one who has to face up to your customers.
9. You’re only in it for the money.
That clichéd word, ‘passion’, comes into play here. And I don’t mean passion for money either. If you’re just working and waiting for the money, get ready for disappointment. Most of the time, it takes years to find financial success. Sometimes it never comes. But loving your work makes the process MUCH easier.
10. You expect failure.
It’s natural and even wise to anticipate obstacles and setbacks; this allows you to plan for them. However, believing that you’re going to fail is a horrible mindset to begin a business with. If you don’t have faith, what’s the point?
If you can identify with the 2nd part of this post, then definitely – think again about being a business owner.
If you’re thinking, “I already know all this; I don’t care and I still want to own a business,” then what are you waiting for?