For many, starting a business is part of a lifelong dream. The freedom of owning your own business and to control, through your hard work, the success of your business epitomizes the American dream. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, the life of a small business owner is also remarkably stressful and difficult to maintain. Pushing off into open waters does indeed free you from the rule of a boss or supervisor, but it also distances you from the 9-5 schedule, as you might be working crazy hours.
Before making the plunge into starting your own business, you need to have a few things in place, least of none being your own mental preparation. Here are four questions to ask yourself before you start your business.
What is your motivation for starting your small business? You know yourself better than anyone, and know the real reason why you want to take on this endeavor. Is it to cause valuable change in the world or in a particular industry? Is it for a deeper sense of gratification through your work? Or is it simply to be able to work from home and stick it to the man?
You’ll be able to determine if your reasoning and desire to start a business is strong enough to endure the flames of small business ownership, or if you’ll lose the fire after the first few signs of opposition. Having the right, motivation and drive can make all the difference between failure and a successful business.
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2. Are you ready to give up a lot of personal time for your business?
As mentioned above, business owners, particularly in the very early stages, do not enjoy the relative luxury of a 40-hour work week. Instead, you’ll be working late most nights and manning the ship throughout the day. While you can make your own schedule and technically take time off when you want, there are simply opportunities you can’t afford to miss and work that needs to get done.
This means previously regular social engagements may not be on the docket anymore. Perhaps most unfortunate is the effect this could have on your family time. Are you and your significant other ready for the time necessary away from home to make the business run? This can certainly put significant stress on any relationship, and failing to discuss or consider this could be a major oversight going into a new business.
3. How will you fund your business?
So, you have a figure for how much it’ll cost to run your business? Newsflash: it’s not enough. Seldom, if ever, do things go to plan, and everyone needs a safety net. From unforeseen expenses to unfulfilled expectations, you’ll end up spending more than you anticipated. Familiarizing yourself with different funding options, from crowdfunding to lines of credit will be key as you look to bridge financial difficulties. Nav can help you not only monitor your business credit but also find the best financing options for your business.
Keep in mind that most business financing options require that a business have at least one or two years in business, and your financing options may be limited in the early stages of operation. Being savvy in regards to business grants for startups and specific businesses is also key. Being prepared financially is a must if you plan on staying in business for any significant amount of time.
4. Can I start the business while staying in my 9-5?
While the dream of sticking it to your boss and walking out to start your own empire of industry sounds oh-so-satisfying, it may be wise to wait to leave the office behind. It could take a little while before your business starts bringing in money, meaning every dollar you have becomes that much more valuable. Many business owners profiled by Nav have expressed regret for quitting their jobs too early, instead wishing they had toughed it out a little bit longer to have the money to get over the rough opening sequences of business ownership.
If you can realistically start your business while keeping your 9-5, consider pushing through the long days and making it happen, it could make the difference and open you up to more growth opportunities for your young business.
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