Many people dream of being their own boss, but not everyone actually has the get-up-and-go drive needed when someone is starting a business. And while experts lay out a wide variety of reasons to consider, both pro and con, your path to starting a small business begins with the question, “How do I start a business?” and then progresses to these key questions to ask yourself:
Are you passionate about your idea?
Being motivated by the bottom line is certainly one way to be sure that your business holds your interest and energy, but having a personal affinity for the product or service you offer will also help you stay the course, even when times get rough. And they will.
Can you visualize the obstacles?
It’s not a matter of if you will have staffing challenges, production snafus and unanticipated events. It’s a matter of when. As you run the worst-case scenarios through your head, can you also devise plans B and C, as well as see yourself having the determination to see these solutions through?
Is it the right time to start your business?
Some people think the economy needs to be booming for their business to succeed. The simple truth is, there are businesses that manage to fit people’s needs, even during challenging economic times and other less-than-ideal periods. The key is that your business be a personal passion or area of expertise — your muscle memory and experience will give you an advantage in terms of how to adjust for economic, market or supplier shifts over time.
Who’s holding the purse strings?
As you develop your business plan, you’ll get a clear picture of the equipment and resources you will need to shore up your financial well. Have a cash flow game plan for a variety of circumstances, and consider where you can get lines of credit or low-interest loans to move your venture forward.
Who’s got your back?
Your most important resource isn’t always the cash in hand; just as important are the ideas, advice and experience of mentors and business connections who are generous with their knowledge. Do you have solid, ongoing support from people in your personal or professional life who stand ready to cheer you on (or give you a painful reality check)? Their honest reactions will help you fine-tune your offering, not to mention give you essential guidelines for running your business.
Also keep in mind that being a small business owner doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. Focus on the things you love doing and are good at doing, and partner on the pieces that feel like work to you. There are always going to be tasks to finish and skills that you’ll need to learn as you go. Set your mind to asking the right questions and being open to unfamiliar or unwelcome ideas, and you can set a direct course to running your own successful enterprise.