“Success to me is not about money or status or fame; it’s about finding a livelihood that brings me joy and self-sufficiency and a sense of contributing to the world.”
Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop
Thinking about making the jump into the world of the self-employed? Dreaming about being your own boss?
Before you give up your current job, before you even start planning what your new business will look like, there are some questions you should ask yourself.
WHY AM I STARTING MY BUSINESS?
If your main reason for starting a business is because you want to escape a job or boss you don’t like or you think owning a business is glamorous or you want to become rich quickly, perhaps you should reconsider.
Although starting a business may, indeed, accomplish these things, the person destined to become a successful entrepreneur starts a business because she is passionate about her product or service and sees a need for this product or service in the marketplace.
Without this passion, this strong belief in your vision, it will be very difficult to get through the many challenges that face every entrepreneur as she builds and grows her business.
CAN I BE HONEST IN MY ASSESSMENT?
Honesty and objectivity may seem to be the opposite of passionate belief, but a successful entrepreneur will clearly assess the obstacles and challenges to starting a new business. Passionate enthusiasm doesn’t have to be blind.
Beware of others’ unconditional encouragement, the “of course you can do it” attitude. While support is wonderful, be sure you have made a rational and objective assessment of both the challenges and opportunities of your business idea. Listen to the opinions of your critics – they may see issues that, in your enthusiasm and excitement, you have overlooked.
AM I COMFORTABLE WITH RISK?
There is not a new business venture in the world that doesn’t have some risk attached to it. Risk can range from the very practical to the more intangible:
• will customers buy my product or service?
• will my business make enough money to pay the bills?
• will I earn the respect of others in the business community?
• will my reputation survive if I fail?
A successful entrepreneur will certainly take steps to minimize the risks of starting a new business. But, bottom line, entrepreneurs can accept risk and even thrive on it.
So before you start your new business venture, ask yourself these three questions. Ask friends, colleagues and family too. Then listen honestly to all the answers.
[In a subsequent post, we will cover more tips on starting a business.]