Starting your own small business is an overwhelming task. It is as if you are staring at the start line of a long and trying marathon with no end in sight. Should you do it? Here is a guide on how to organize your thoughts and determine if you have what it takes to operate your own enterprise.
Are you ready?
Going into business and thinking about it are two different things. Inside your head, everything is smooth and simple but the moment you roll your ideas out, you will realize it is a most challenging experience.
But there are infinite rewards to putting up your own business. Self-wise, the level of independence that you will feel will be enormous. Finally, you are the boss! This brings a serious level of accomplishment. There is much pride in ownership, in the same way that you feel good about owning a house or getting a car. Once you have a product or service out in the market that is perceived as valuable, the satisfaction is more than delightful.
Also, because you are the boss, there is more security. You will not get fired and you cannot fire yourself – though admittedly, you will unavoidably encounter some very long days where you wish you can be fired just to end it all. But by steering your own ship, you are in a unique position to adopt or drop ideas quickly. With a small business, you hold control. Staff to attend to for training or a supervisor to ask permission from does not exist. When a new idea comes into your head, all you need is your enthusiasm and willingness and you can have a go immediately. On the same token, if the launch proves too turbulent to sustain, you can just as quickly call it quits. This flexibility is a big advantage and it will help you a lot in adjusting and developing your own enterprise.
However, being in charge means you also need to handle important matters promptly. Depending on the size of your business, you may have some employees that you need to pay every week. Your creditors, dealers, landlord, mortgage holders, publishers, and tax collectors need regular attention, too. In fact, the money you make from your trade has to go through all of them first before you can count on any profit.
More important, being the boss means immense accountability. It is not just a flashy sign you put on top of your desk. It means a big weight on your shoulders in terms of being responsible for all the decisions that you make. This will make or break your company. Now, your failure will not solely affect you. It can also mean losses to your employees, creditors, or customers. You have to be strong. There will be days where every single thing will go wrong but there is nothing to do except weather the storms, regardless of whether they are within your control or beyond.
These setbacks you must overcome and only with hard work and long hours. This is where the reality of having a small business sets in. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile; do things that you really do not want to do. It is an entire universe different from being an employee, where you only need to perform a certain task every day and clock out at 5 PM. Here, you do give your skill to the business and perform management roles at the same time. This involves many things like balancing books, analyzing data, accounting work, planning and expediting, and even cleaning the shop or office.
As your business grows though, you do not have to juggle all of these tasks at once. Delegating comes along the way but to start, it is essential to focus on the all important management aspect of the work all the while keeping your customers happy.
It takes a whole lot.
Having learned what it takes just to get the show started, you must now ask yourself if you are prepared to take on this big challenge. Whatever happens, you are your most important employee. For your business to be established and for it to become a success, you have to dig deep and examine yourself objectively to determine your readiness. Have a good hard look at yourself and appraise both your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize where your strengths lie but more important, be aware of the loopholes in your game and consider addressing deficiencies by retraining or hiring a competent employee.
Over the years, numerous studies have been done to distinguish the person who opens a business from someone who will be better off working for a company. There are certain traits that prove common to successful owners. Of the varied characteristics, what comes out on top is often determination.
Studies have shown that people with an exceptional drive are more likely to open up their own enterprise. They are passionate individuals who are not afraid of expressing themselves and feeling strongly. This is essential in business since you are potentially putting your money and time on the line. You got to have a strong feeling of success to begin with!
Consequently, the same mentality leads to an immense desire to achieve something. Psychologists can measure this as the need for achievement. There are tests that accurately determine this and it spells how motivated you are to reach your own pot of gold. Taking risks will be necessary, too. There is no guarantee that once you open your business it will take off nice and smooth. As such, you need to be comfortable with a certain degree of risk. If you back down from risks and fail to come up with mechanisms to control factors that determine success or failure, then you are likely to plod along with your dreams stuck inside your brain. It is not being unreasonable. It is diving deep into controlled chaos and making the most out of it.
Where to go from here?
If you have decided that you are the type to sit on top of your own business, the next step is to determine what enterprise to go into. There are many ways to find answers and at the prime spot is nothing but good old self-evaluation. Ask yourself what have you done to get you where you are right now. Summarize your background and experiences. Put into consideration the jobs you have held before, your education and skills, and your interests. Compare this list with what you want to do next. It becomes simpler when your experience and training lines up directly with your new enterprise.
From here, focus on another important question: what does your customer needs? Naturally, you want to do something that will make you happy. However, in business, it is better to do something that is deemed valuable by paying customers. You may or may not like it but success is measured by the utilization of your product or service. Right at the onset, see if there is a need for what you want to sell or offer. How equipped are you to fill that hole in the market? Is this an area that you feel strongly about? Do you have the skills needed to operate at top capacity? If not, can you learn these things quickly either by retraining or education? Do you see potential for growth in this industry? Will it grow or evolve and continue to require what you provide?
Do not waste any time and dive deep to find the answers to these questions. As the experts say, most businesses close because they do business wrong, not because they are in the wrong industry or field. Speaking of experts, it never hurts to get ideas from successful people who have already achieved what you set out to do. Mentors are great. Take the time to talk to business people and learn nuggets of wisdom from their growth.
It is up to you.
Every year, new businesses crop up like mushrooms. As the population increases, so does the needs of their members, and there is never a shortage of enterprising individuals wishing to cash in on this. However, despite the big number of new businesses, the ones that close still outnumber them continuously. There are many reasons for this such as legal business matters, partnership dissolutions, death of owners, sale of the business, or just some proprietors trying to cut losses.
Mainly, the younger the business is, the bigger the risk it will close. So the longer you stay in the game, the better your chances of success. What will ultimately determine this is all up to you. Are you managing your business as competently as possible? Are your customers happy about the product or service that you give? How are you handling present risk factors that continue to challenge your organization? How is your cash flow going? Are you getting the most returns or will it be better if you jump in on another investment? All of these questions determine where you should go next. The decisions rest in your hands and it is not solely dependent on financial returns. Your motivation for going into business affects this first and foremost. A lot of considerations must be made but certainly, there is no keeping your business if it is leaking with loses on all sides. As such, it is imperative that you are vigilant and always on your toes to ensure everything is running on top order. It is never easy but as mentioned above, the storms must be weathered in order to collect the gold at the end of the rainbow.
Subject Matter Expert – Home Business