So many businesses are the result of personal experiences. A woman has a hard time finding clothes she loves. A dad is upset his son with a physical disability doesn’t have the tool necessary to learn to walk. An employee is frustrated by how his boss treats him and decides to work for himself. People want to fill gaps in the market when there is a product or service they want or need but can’t find. Each person is starting a business for a valid reason.
It takes so much more than just a desire to do something to start a business. There is a significant amount of planning, research, and decisions to be made. It is important to do a deep examination of your strengths and weaknesses as both an individual and business owner.
- Is this something you want to do or feel obligated to do? The most important part of starting a business is knowing your true reasons. It so easy to get swept up in the idea of doing something, especially in the world of online businesses, that people forget how much work goes into starting a successful business. Then when the work gets hard they want to walk away, because it was never something they truly wanted to do anyway. It ends up costing them emotionally and financially.
- What do you need to learn? If you are moving from one industry to another, it is time to do a significant amount of learning. It is important to understand how businesses in that specific industry work. If applicable you need to research supplies, laws and regulations, and competitors. Maybe you need to learn which systems are the best for organizing inventory or reaching customers. Perhaps you have never used Facebook or any other social media platform, and now you need to set up accounts. Make a list of what you need to learn and start figuring out how to learn it.
- How are you paying for this? Starting a small business is no cheap endeavor. In most cases there are large overhead costs. Whether it is the cost of materials or office space or both, it is important to have a realistic idea of what the expenses will be. Then you need to figure out how to get the money to pay for it. Sometimes it is as simple as using your personal savings account, but other times it requires business loans, investors, and more. Gather your financial resources and put together a plan so that you don’t run out of money before you start making money.
- Can you sustain this idea for the long term? A good small business outlasts its entrepreneur. Whether that means the business is sold or passed along as a family business, it is important for a business owner to be honest with him or herself about the commitment it takes to run a business. There will be long nights, early mornings, and working weekends. As the business grows it is imperative to evaluate the sustainability and your role within the operation.
It takes some serious planning and soul searching to start a business, and it is extraordinarily important that care is taken when getting started. There is so much that goes on in between imagining an idea and actually starting the business. Take care to make sure you are ready to leap into business ownership and sustain the effort to keep the business running.