Starting a business is a huge life change. It’s bigger than buying a new house or buying a new car. For some people, it may even be bigger than getting married! Small business is big business because it helps grow the economy, the local community, and turns dreams into realities. If you feel like you’re on the edge of becoming an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to ask yourself these important questions before making the final leap.
1. Does Your Idea Have the Potential to Be Successful?
If you’re trying to do something that’s already been done before, it’s not technically impossible to be successful. But it is incredibly difficult and exorbitantly expensive, because you’ll have huge competitors with massive budgets. If your idea is a little more offbeat, solves a pain point that’s never been solved, or brings a necessary innovation to something that already exists, you’re more likely to see success.
2. How Will You Afford Everything?
If you’ve recently come into a large sum of money and you don’t have any debts to contend with, you’re probably in a great position to open a business. However, many of us are not in that position and are currently shouldering existing debt of our own. If that’s not the case, you’re probably going to need to meet with an investor, look into taking out a loan, or applying for a grant. You’ll also want to consider creating a financial safety net, or plan B, to support you in the event of an emergency.
3. How Will It Affect Your Life?
If you have a family, or you’re in a serious relationship with someone, you’re going to need to take their needs into account. Do they want to join you as a co-founder or business partner? Do they want to provide help? Would your stress spill into their lives? Are they uncomfortable with you using family assets for your idea? Have a long talk with the people who are closest to you, especially if you depend on each other, and determine what your strategy will be for going into business.
4. Can You Go It Alone, or Will You Need Help?
Starting a business is a lot of work. Can you do it all by yourself? If you have business experience and you’re comfortable with your ability to learn as you go, you might not feel the need to find a partner. If you’re very new to everything, you might want to find a likeminded partner who has the experience that you lack. At the very least, you might want to consider finding a mentor.
5. Will You Have a Physical Location?
Do you need a brick and mortar storefront for your products? Would it be better to stick to eCommerce? Can you provide all of your services remotely? The way you choose to deliver your products or services, as well as the market you intend to deliver them to, will drastically affect the way your business needs to be set up. Start-up costs will also vary significantly depending on the kind of business.
6. Are You Really Cut Out to Do It?
Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur, unfortunately. Some people are great leaders and inventors and managers, but they don’t have the special set of skills it takes to be an entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs do struggle a bit at the beginning – they’re bootstrapping expenses and wearing a ton of hats in order to make their business work for them. Ultimately the temporary stress at the start, while it can feel never-ending, does lead to incredible things.
Everything in life is a balance of risk and reward. If you know in your rational mind that you’re ready to take that risk, pursue your business dreams. If you aren’t sure you’re in the right position just yet, attend business school or network with other business owners. You never know what opportunities you might find!
Lily Kaligian is an editor at Businesscheck.co.nz and Bizinfo.in. She creates a variety of articles about careers, entrepreneurship, technology, business, education, as well as travel and personal development.