Many people think they are ready to start a business but they haven’t considered if they have what it takes. They are interested in setting their own hours, not having a boss and having unlimited income potential. These items are the rose-colored glasses of owning your own business.
Hare are the five reality check questions I ask my fledgling entrepreneur clients.
Yes, it is kind of true that you need to have money to make money, but you don’t need millions. Do you have six months or more of living expenses in a liquid account? Or do you not need your wages to contribute to the household income?
If you answered, “Yes”, congratulations. If you answered “No”, determine how long would it take for you to accumulate that reserve?
One thing to consider is your current lifestyle. Are there expenses you could eliminate or scale back on which would allow you to save additional money? If you’ve eliminated the expense it means you’ll need less to live on in the future.
Do you have a minimum of 30 uninterrupted hours per week to devote to your business? By uninterrupted, I mean time that you aren’t watching a child, doing laundry, running errands or telecommuting to a job.
A lot of people answer yes to this question without really thinking about it so I recommend that you take a calendar and map out an average week. Be sure to put in everyday things you might take for granted, such as picking up the kids from school, doing household chores and exercising.
These tasks take up physical space instead of mental space because they’re repetitious and so they give you the perception that you have more time than you actually do. How many hours of uninterrupted time do you really have?
When does your free time fall? If it’s between 9 pm and 1 am you could start an Internet business but if you’re offering a service to people or companies they will want to do business during standard office hours.
If you find that you have less 30 hours per week, it might not be the right time for you to start a business. A new venture takes a lot of upfront time and energy and it will take longer to build a solid client base if you don’t have the time to devote to it.
However, if you’re transitioning out of a full time job or know that you will soon have more than 30 hours, set yourself up for success by expecting your business to get started and grow at much slower than the average pace.
Do you work well by yourself? Not everyone is able to work from home alone. If you currently work in an office ask your boss if you can telecommute from home for a week. See if you like working without the environment of an office. One day isn’t enough. You need to be home for a solid week to see how it feels to be isolated and solely responsible for each minute of your day.
If you find this you can’t work alone, you can still open a business with a partner or even several or you can rent office space in an executive suite.
Are you able manage multiple projects and tasks simultaneously without getting overwhelmed? If you answered yes, that’s wonderful, because that is exactly what you’re going to do on a daily basis. You are the provider of the service, the customer service department, the accounting department, the marketing department, the administrative department—EVERYTHING (unless you have a good amount of startup capital and can hire help right away). This doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself because you will need, for instance, legal representation and advice if you decide to incorporate your company.
If you answered no to this question, you might be a tradesman or woman who desires autonomy in your work, but who really isn’t an entrepreneur. The distinction is that a tradesman or woman wants to do their specialty, such as massage, process improvement, executive coaching, but they don’t want to punch a clock or be responsible for all the ancillary duties of owing a business.
If you answered yes to all of the questions, then you are ready to go!
© Leah Grant Enterprises LLC.