How well can you answer these basic questions? Take some time to sit down and reflect on them.
1. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
When you think of entrepreneurship, how do you feel? What do you imagine for yourself as an entrepreneur? Do you picture yourself manning a highly successful business that you’ve built from the bottom up, or managing a smaller company that you are growing and selling, eventually moving on to another project?
Whatever the reason, reflect on it – why, exactly, did you decide to pursue entrepreneurship? It’s a well-known fact that for the most part entrepreneurship is a high-demand job that requires a lot and gives very little in return.
That doesn’t mean that entrepreneurship isn’t without its perks – after all, there are so many people out there willing to start their own businesses and work to build their own successful company; each individual has their own reasons for becoming an entrepreneur. What are yours?
2. What motivated you to start a company?
Think back to that moment when you decided that you wanted to start a company. What did you feel? Why did you decide to start a company in the first place?
3. What do you hope to achieve as an entrepreneur?
Just as there are innumerable reasons to become an entrepreneur, there are a great number of motivations for continuing along that path. Maybe you want the freedom to work from anywhere, or to become the only person in your city who does what you do. Maybe you see a need in the market and want to become a well-known provider of, I don’t know, chocolates (I may be on to something here folks – I’m pretty sure that there’s no such thing as too many chocolate vendors).
4. How much time are you willing to commit?
How much time do you think a business requires each week?
Got a number?
Now double it.
Then, add more hours on top of it for all of those unseen tasks such as planning, financing, doing inventory, and bookkeeping, among other things.
Chances are that the number is relatively high, especially when you consider that many entrepreneurs hold full-time jobs in addition to running their own business. If you’re one of those people, then you already know that your “real” job tends to limit the amount of time you have to work on your business and to a certain degree dictates when you are available to work on your business (you can’t just leave in the middle of the workday).
For entrepreneurs with families, things are even tougher. Not only does this further limit the amount of time that they can dedicate to their company, but it can be difficult for entrepreneurs with families to sit down and focus for a long period of time. So the question is, do you think that there is room in your day for you to run a company alongside everything else that you currently have going on?
I’m not asking this question with the intent to scare you away. Rather, this is an important question that requires careful consideration. Starting a business requires a lot of time and money, especially at the very beginning before you see the fruits of your labor, and it would be extremely unfortunate if overwhelmed entrepreneurs pay for start-up costs without being able to continue to work on their business and make that money back.
It’s important to think about how much time you have on hand, whether or not you can eliminate or delegate certain tasks, and come up with a set number of minimum hours that you can dedicate to your business every week. If possible, pick specific days to work on your business, put it up on a calendar or come up with a schedule and stick to it.
5. Will you be able to achieve your goals on a limited schedule?
How do your business goals fit within your current framework? Do you believe that you can achieve what you want within the amount of time that you have set aside? If so, how long do you think that it would take? Think about the difference in financing a short-term goal vs. one that will take years to accomplish – you need to be prepared for the potential difference in cost and timeframe that comes as a result of having limited availability.
6. What makes you qualified to start a company?
You do not need to have a degree in marketing or any professional experience to do well in business. Reflect on the type of experience you do have and how this can contribute to your business success. Consider your knowledge and personal skills such as leadership or time management, which are very useful in the business world.
Remember, great things can be achieved when working together because no one person is able to do everything perfectly. If need be, you can turn to freelancers or professionals to accomplish things that you cannot do yourself.
7. What kind of financial resources can you draw upon to support your business?
It’s no secret that businesses cost money: start-up costs alone can be enough to send even the most determined entrepreneur running. It’s important that you have at least one area (other than your personal bank account) that you can draw money from in times of need.
Bank loans are not necessarily the answer, and they certainly aren’t the only option. Research local, regional, and national programs that provide financial assistance to entrepreneurs, and apply for the grants that they offer. Among other things, these programs can provide money to partially cover start-up costs, educate potential customers, establish a storefront, or to encourage an increase in overall sales.
8. Is there a proven market need for your product?
If you are going to become a provider of a product or service, it is important to understand the market that you are going into, and the competition that you will be sharing that market with.
Have you researched the market that you are going into to see whether or not the market has already been saturated? Are you planning on providing a new, up-and-coming service that you believe will take off? Note: new products and services can be tricky because the public needs to first learn what the product/service is.
9. Are you willing to take risks?
Everyone has a different threshold for deciding whether or not a risk is worth taking. There are a few questions that you should consider, among them being:
1. What kind of risks would you be willing to take for your business? To what degree?
2. Would you be able to make a small investment into a piece of equipment or inventory?
3. Can you book time off of work to go to a course that will help you create a better business?
10. Can you handle downfalls and setbacks?
How well can you handle change? Stress? Wasted product? No-shows? Financial setbacks? Bad reviews? Can you continue to work on your business while experiencing setbacks, or will it be difficult for you to remain motivated?
Do you have a support system in place? Having family and friends at hand can help reduce the impact that setbacks have on us.