Many of today’s’ professionals dream of starting their own business, and with good reason: there are plenty of perks. Being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and deciding exactly how your business runs are compelling reasons to get into the entrepreneurial spirit, but is everyone cut out for the gig?
Running your own business, as you likely assume, is hard work, but it can become significantly more challenging if you don’t already possess some of the qualities typically required of business owners. If you’re thinking of opening up shop but aren’t sure you have what it takes, here are a few questions to ask yourself.
Do You Have What it Takes To Run a Business?
Do you have a strong work ethic?
One of the best things about owning your own business is that you don’t need to answer to anyone, apart from your clients or customers. However, living life without a boss can also spell trouble if you don’t have a strong work ethic or lack motivation.
As a business owner, you’ll often need to go the extra mile and put in the extra hours, sometimes even during weekends, holidays, and vacations. That’s not to suggest you can’t sneak in some time off or work reasonable hours, but it’s important to be honest about your work ethics and how they can impact your productivity when you’re the boss.
Are you passionate about your product or service?
Maybe your current work ethic leaves more to be desired, but when tasked with something you feel deeply connected to, you’re the most motivated self-starter out there. Being passionate about your your venture and product or service can make the difference between a long, lucrative business and a short-lived failure.
Many entrepreneurs scale their business plans around extrinsic wants, like more money or flexibility; however, if you aren’t intrinsically driven by passion, then dedicating the time, energy, and emotions necessary to make it successful is going to become increasingly difficult.
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Are you organized?
We all have days where life is messy, and sometimes that spills into our professional life, but if you want to make the most of your entrepreneurial efforts, then you’ll need to get and stay organized. While some dream of an opportunity to sell a product or service they are passionate about, as a business owner, you’ll also need to get your hands dirty, whether it be crunching numbers and taking care of HR concerns or marketing your product and expanding your reach.
If you aren’t organized, those things can quickly fall to the wayside, creating a long list of fires you’ll need to tend to just to stay on track and potentially putting your business and your sanity at risk.
Do you have help?
In some situations, having a business partner along for the ride can prove to be beneficial. Together, you can make balanced decisions that highlight your natural strengths and business acumen. For example, a baker may know the ins and outs of a solid croissant, but they may need a financially savvy partner to keep a business running smoothly.
However, even those who choose not to involve a business partner – a decision that can also prove to be beneficial – will need help. That may come in the form of advice from mentors or a network of professionals, or it may be friends and family who are willing to pitch and manage your domestic life as your business tending to your professional one.
Can you handle the unknown?
You may be the most prepared entrepreneur on the planet, armed with market research, industry analysis, and a model business plan, but at the end of the day, owning a business is filled with unknowns. If you can’t fathom dealing with the unknown or unplanned, then you may want to question your ability to adapt and deal with the change and ambiguity that often accompanies the business world.
Can delegate work and manage people?
They say there are only certain people who are “management material,” and though you’re eyeing up a spot at the top, it’s helpful to maintain some of the skill required to be a good manager – largely the ability to delegate work. In the beginning, you may find that you can manage all the pieces on your own, but as your business expands, it’s likely that you’ll need to hire and manage employees who to whom you can delegate work so you can focus on the big picture.
Can you get along well with others?
Not everyone is built to bask in the warmth of social interactions, and while enjoying people isn’t necessarily a notable requirement of business ownership, being able to productively interact with others – preferably with a smile on your face – will go a long way in helping you and your business reach success.
For some, this seems counterintuitive – “I want to run my own business, so I don’t have to deal with other people.” While that’s somewhat true – you don’t have to take orders from someone else – you will likely need to be able to carry on pleasant relationships with employees, vendors, suppliers, and of course, customers.
Are you a risk taker?
If you’re thinking about opening a business, you likely are somewhat comfortable with risks, and that’s a good thing. Sometimes you’ll have to make decisions that, for better or worse, go against your original business plan.
Of course, that doesn’t suggest you should throw all caution to the wind. Risks should be accompanied by thoughtful analysis, but it should support the notion that sometimes it doesn’t pay to play it safe, and at some point, you may need to willingly take a leap of faith.
Owning a business can be both financially and emotionally rewarding, particularly if you are passionate about what you do. However, before you dive into the business world, it’s important to give yourself an honest once-over by asking basic questions about your ability to adapt to and thrive in the entrepreneurial world.
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