There are scores of reasons you’re looking for a new business opportunity. Entrepreneurs often cite: Being your own boss, doing something you love, contributing to the greater good, and creating jobs. The list goes on.
It’s easy to fall for the romance that comes with having something to call your own, especially when you’re having a difficult day or the boss’s nickname is something we can’t write on these pages (after all, this is a family blog). It takes far more than that (or at least it should) to give up a solid career to go out on your own.
We’ll make the assumption you know what kind of business you’d like to run and something about the product or service you plan to offer. That’s just ante into the game.
But before you place your “Open for Business” sign in the window you need to do extensive research and a fair amount of soul searching — and ask yourself these five tough questions.
Why Am I Doing This?
An obnoxious boss and a coworker who steals from your lunch might be annoying; they also might be temporary. Giving up (relative) stability for the unknown of starting your operation might not be the panacea you dream it to be.
Do I Have The Skills It Takes To Run A Business?
As the business owner you’ll need to be the accountant, human resources department, salesman, janitor, and the list goes on. Early on, all those roles will be your responsibility so you need to be able to handle the basics or have an affordable alternative.
It’s the rare employee who hasn’t asked the question: “What idiot decided to do it this way?” The problem with that question is we rarely follow it up with: “Why did they decide to do it this way?” In other words, you might not have all the information. There might be very good reasons for those procedures.
Should you choose the franchise route, you will very likely have a set of procedures to follow. At Bin There Dump That the answer to that “why” question is simple: We’ve tested our policies in a variety of situations and geographies. We know they work.
Do I Have The Financial Wherewithal To Survive Until I’m A Success?
If you’ll forgive the cliché, it takes money to make money. Whether you choose the franchise route or building a business from scratch, you’re going to need some scratch to get things running. Almost no business makes money the day the doors are opened.
Expenses start the moment you flip the switch and sometimes long before you do: Equipment, products, employees, rent, utilities, permits, licenses, and marketing are just a few of the items that you’ll pay for out of pocket before you start bringing in money.
Do I Have The Right Mental Makeup To Run A Business?
If you’ve gotten this far, we’ll make the assumption you’ve got the skills to operate the business. You can manage the numbers and have the personality to bring customers through the doors.
But do you have the right attitude? There will likely be tough times. Do you have the intestinal fortitude to gut it through slow sales and economic downturns? That romantic dream that helped lead you to start your own business likely set aside many of the pitfalls reality brings. Attitude is everything.
Do You Have The Support You Need?
There’s probably no more misleading phrase than “self-made success.” Every business owner, no matter how smart, talented and charismatic, has help along the way. Your customers and employees are only the start.
Family and friends often offer financial support or at the very least, moral support. And if you’re willing, what about all the teachers who shared their knowledge to help shape you into the businessperson you are today. In short, there’s no such thing as the self-made man (or woman).
Everyone needs help along the way. Make sure your support network is in place.