Is It For You?
There is no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business. However, you can improve your chances of success with good planning and preparation. A good starting place is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as the owner and manager of a small business. Carefully consider each of the following questions.
Are you a self-starter? It will be up to you - not someone else telling you to develop projects, organize your time and follow through on details.
How well do you get along with different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers and professionals such as lawyers, accountants or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor or cranky staff person in the best interest of your business?
How good are you at making decisions? Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly, often quickly, under pressure, and independently.
Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be challenging, fun and exciting. But it's also a lot of work. Can you face 12 hour workdays six or seven days a week?
How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that many business failures could have been avoided through better planning. Good organization of financials, inventory, schedules, and production can help avoid many pitfalls.
Is your drive strong enough to maintain your motivation? Running a business can wear you down. Some business owners feel burned out by having to carry all the responsibility on their shoulders. Strong motivation can make the business succeed and will help you survive slowdowns as well as periods of burnout.
How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business startup can be hard on family life. The strain of an unsupportive spouse may be hard to balance against the demands of starting a business. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk.