Q: I’m thinking it’s finally time for me to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. What do I need to consider before I get started?
When starting out in business there are many things to think about, but I believe there are 5 things in particular that must be taken into account up front. Consider these:
Do you have the energy and discipline to bring your business to life? You are the engine that will drive you business. Your elbow grease is required and even more than that your customers, employees and partners will feed off the energy that you bring to your business. If you don’t love it, no one else will. Discipline is also a key ingredient in a successful small business. You must be disciplined with your budget and in following your business plan. It’s very easy to get distracted as a start-up business owner. Your ability to be disciplined will be a strength to your business operations.
Can you afford to become an entrepreneur? Your ability to save has everything to do with your ability to start a business. Ideally, you need to have three pools of money before you start a business:
a) Emergency savings
b) 1-2 years of money to run your household
c) First year of operating expenses to launch the business
If you have these funds you are in a good place financially to start a business.
Is there a real market for your product or service? There is a big difference between need, want, and willing to pay for in business. You need to make sure that there’s a viable market for your business or service. You should develop your marketing plan before writing your business plan. Do this so that you can make sure that you know who your customer is and why they will buy from you.
How will your spouse feel about you leaving your job to start a business? Things could get tough at home if your spouse and children are not on board with your new business . You need to make sure that you communicate with your husband or wife about your business plans early on. Make sure they understand that you’re doing this for their benefit financially. I suggest getting some facts and figures together to present the business case to your loved ones if you think it could be a tough sell. Having 8-10 months of emergency savings will really be important if your spouse’s love language is security.
What skills do you need to learn to run your business? Once you decide to take on the role of entrepreneur you must understand that you will need to become a student of entrepreneurship and many other things. When you become a small business owner you immediately inherit 10-13 jobs until you can afford to start outsourcing some business functions. Be a life-long learner and remember you must grow yourself to grow your business.
Melinda F. Emerson, “SmallBizLady” is one of America’s leading small business experts. As a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach, she develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. As CEO of MFE Consulting LLC, Melinda educates entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on subjects including small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She hosts #SmallBizChat weekly on Twitter for emerging entrepreneurs and publishes a resource blog www.succeedasyourownboss.com. Melinda is also the author of the national bestseller Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works (Adams Media 2010).