Are You Ready To Start A Business?
by Leah Grant
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Published on this site: August 22nd, 2009 - See
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Are you ready to start your own business? A lot of people feel
they are, but they haven't considered what running their own
business will really entail. They are interested in setting
their own work hours, not having a boss and having unlimited
income potential. These items are the rose-colored glasses of
owning your own business.
I'm going to share with you the five reality check questions I
ask my fledgling entrepreneur clients.
The first question is about money. 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,
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, plus, if you've eliminated the
expense, it means you'll need less to live on in the future.
- Tick Tock
The second question is about time. 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 quickly 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 items 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. Now, how many
hours of uninterrupted time do you have?
When does that 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 business 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
On the flipside of that, 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.
- La La Land
The third question often surprises people. Does your personal
life run relatively smoothly? You are the center of your
business. If you are also the center of emotional mayhem in
your personal life, it's going to show in your ability to start
and run your business. If you're in the middle of a nasty
divorce, adopting your first child, moving to another country or
have some other intensely emotional taxing event happening in
your life, adding the stress of starting a new business could
send you straight to the funny farm, and if not there, to
Get your personal affairs in order then open your business. I
coach many of my clients for six months to a year on getting
their personal and financial life cleaned up before they get
down to opening their business.
- One-Ring Circus
The fourth question is: Do you work well by yourself? Not
everyone is cut out for working from home alone. If you
currently work in an office, ask your boss if you can work from
home for a week. See if you like working without outside
stimulation or the environment of an office. A 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 isn't for you, you can still open a business
with a partner or even several or you can rent office space in
an executive suite.
A lot of people love working by themselves from home but they
determine that they aren't as productive when others aren't
around or someone else is setting the deadline. Your level of
self-management will impact this element.
The final question is do you manage multiple projects and tasks
simultaneously without getting overwhelmed? If you answered yes, that's great, because that's exactly what you're going to need
to do daily. You are the provider of the service, the customer
service department, the accounting department, the hr department, the marketing department, the administrative department, the
technologist-EVERYTHING (unless you have a good amount of
startup capital and can hire help right away).
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 fall into this category, I recommend one of two things. Buy Michael Gerber's book "The E-Myth Revisited" and see if you
want to stretch into the areas necessary to run a successful
business or find a company or business that has put the
structure in place and pays you as an independent contractor. This arrangement allows you to control when and how much you
work without managing the day-to-day.
If you answered yes to all of the questions, then you are ready
Leah Grant: New
Business Mentor Leah Grant publishes Startup Success, a weekly
enewsletter. If you're thinking about starting a new business
or are in the early phases of entrepreneurship, get your FREE
New Business Startup Kit including the Secrets of Successful
Business Owners audio at http://www.leahgrant.com.