Is Starting A Business Right for You? 4 Things to Keep in Mind
If you are reading this blog, chances are that you are either an established business owner, or—what’s much more likely—you are considering starting a business but don’t know yet exactly how to go about it. Fed up with your corporate desk job, assured of the fact that you are ten times smarter than the guy at the top, you get it in your head that it’s time to strike out on your own; it’s time to start your own business. There’s much romance associated with start-ups these days. In fact, you can consider Steve Jobs story as the 21st century’s Horatio Alger tale.
But before you buy into what will inevitably be a costly romance, be honest with yourself. Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you quit your day job.
1. Starting a business is not the way to go if you desire greater work-life balance.
If you are the type who wants to start a business merely because you desire greater flexibility in your job, then think again. While in theory, once your business takes off, you may get to work a schedule that suits you and your various personal commitments, those first few years, are, simply put, hell. As noted in a recent Forbes article, entrepreneurs must be completely married to their job in order for it to thrive. That means putting in longer hours and expecting as much from yourself as your employees.
2. Marketing your product or service is more important than your actual product or service.
Many business owners-to-be feel that, in order to be successful, their product or service must have some quality that they themselves deem valuable or unique. When considering a product or service that you hope to found a business on, however, the first question you must ask yourself is this—will there be enough people who will buy, or at least buy into it? You can have the most incredibly innovative product, but if no one cares, no one will buy it. At the same time, you can have a product that isn’t particularly unique, but if marketed well, can sell big.
3. Most small businesses fail.
If you look behind the story of every successful entrepreneur, you’ll find that hidden in the closet is a dozen of failed businesses and ideas. If failure disenchants you easily, then you may be better off not starting a business at all. Although we may have been raised thinking that hard work will pay off in the end, this isn’t true of business. Of course, hard work is instrumental. But luck plays a larger role than you may think. If you aren’t prepared for significant failure—both personal and financial—then it’s better to stay out of business altogether.
4. Instead of answering to one or two bosses, you will have to answer to everybody.
One of the biggest misconceptions about starting a business is they “being your own boss” myth. In the most technical sense, you don’t have anyone hierarchically above you. But as a business owner, everyone—from your employees to your investors to your customers—will look to you for answers. As the person in charge, you’ll be beholden to every single person in the company. And when you first start, this means being on alert and responsible 24/7.
Now of course, this article isn’t meant to dismiss anyone who is interested in starting their own business. At the same time, however, it should serve a warning to those who don’t know quite yet what they are getting themselves into. If you find that you can deal with the hard work and risk inherent in starting any business, then more power to you! Good luck!