For many people, starting and running their own business is living the dream. Being in charge of your own destiny, owning your own means of production, and not being beholden to the whims of others (quite as much) can be freeing. But it also means taking on a lot more responsibility. So, how do you know when you’re ready to step up and run your own business?
For some people, that moment of realization never comes. Here, however, we’re going to look at some of the factors worth considering that can help you realize that, yes, you are ready to step up to the plate.
You know your own motivations to start a business
It’s never quite possible to tell if you are 100% ready to start a business, but you can at least make sure that you know that you really, really want to. You should be entirely clear about the reasons and motivations you have to start a business. There are all kinds of reasons to start a business but if you don’t have that core motivation worked out for yourself, then you might be lacking that “true north” that will always guide your way when the going gets rough, as it often can.
You have a well-researched business idea
Every business has to start with an idea of what it is that you’re going to do. Aside from the products or services you provide, you have to think of what makes your delivery so worthwhile that you can stand up to any of the competition that might be out there. Furthermore, is there room and demand in the market for what you’re offering? Taking the time to do your research, as recommended by Dee Agarwal, to see where you’re likely to fit in that market, even in a best-case scenario, is vital to make sure that your business has legs, or if you need to consider changing the timing or location.
You’re able to get the funding that you need
Unless you’re able to bootstrap the business, which is normally only an option for those who are independently wealthy or are starting a business with very minimal costs, you’re going to have to think about where you can get funding for your business. This can include looking at the various loans your business can take out, as well as approaching angel investors, or even raising money amongst family and friends. Take your time to research your options and figure out which works best for your business.
You’re ready for both failure and success
No one wants to imagine that they will fail after they put their heart and soul into starting something, but it is a real risk that you have to be ready for. If you don’t acknowledge the potential for failure, then the fear of it can stop you from making the best decisions. However, there is also a risk to becoming successful. Success can change your relationships with people in your life, it can change how much free time you have, and it can even change your own motivations and viewpoints. Acknowledge and be ready for the ways that success can change you, as shown by Susan Krauss Whitbourn PhD, and how you might handle it.
You’re ready to work for very little
The grind is real. While you reap all the rewards of running a business successfully, a lot of people don’t experience those rewards for a very long time. While you’re starting up, you might find that there’s little money to go around. There are two ways to handle this, to make sure that you’re paying yourself a wage, regardless, so that you’re not literally too hungry to successfully run the business, or to prepare a fund to sustain you until the business is up, running, and profiting.
You’re good with people
The stereotype of the curmudgeonly business magnate who stays isolated in their ivory tower should not be an aspirational image. Misanthropes do not succeed as easily as those who are good with people, both the people that they hire and the people that they sell to. If you need to take time to work on your leadership skills, there are courses that can help you with that.
Do all of the above factors apply to you? If so, then it might be time to start getting your plans in motion and to take advantage of the opportunity when you see it. If not, then you might need to hang back and find what it is that you’re missing before you begin such an arduous journey.