Should You Start a Business?

Those of us who are working or have worked a “real job” often dream about quitting and starting our own business, just for the sake of some freedom. Others of us have a passion that we’re pretty sure could make some money for us – and maybe a little fame and attention! Still others are forced to start something on the side just to make ends meet.

These can all be valid reasons, and each one could lead to success or failure depending largely on what kind of person you are. Starting a business is not for the faint of heart, and whatever you start, don’t believe for a minute that the first year or so is going to bring you extra money or free up lots of time for your family. To make a business fly you have to re-invest a large part of your profits and commit to spending a huge amount of time to get it off the ground. “Overnight success” stories rarely happen overnight!

To see if you’re cut out for this kind of thing, go over these questions on your own, with your significant other, and with a couple of close, trusted friends, and REALLY LISTEN. They may have insights that will help you better succeed, and they will also be the ones picking up the pieces when things get rough. These qualities apply whether you’re going to do a “regular” start-up, a home-business, or even create your MLM business. There’s no difference.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

Are You Disciplined By Nature? Are you able to show up on time, every day, committed to do whatever it takes to make this work, even when you don’t feel like it? Even in your own business, not every day is wonderful.

Can You Be Frugal Both at Home and In Your Business? It can often take a lot of money to get an idea off the ground and funding itself. You might have to forgo the new clothes, designer coffees, cool gadgets, time-saving devices, latest bestsellers, and/or whatever else your other passions are, to get this going. Can you do that cheerfully for an extended period of time for the greater good of having your business work?

Do You Have Strong Self-Confidence? At the beginning you might be the only one who believes in your idea, and you will have to face a strong uphill current to get it working. Friends may abandon you, family may complain, suppliers may not trust you, and the list goes on. You have to be able to really believe in yourself to make this happen. Though, having said that, it’s wise, before you start, to listen to those around you as I already mentioned. There may be character flaws that need to be dealt with (like never finishing anything, poor organization habits, etc.) before you get started.

Are You a Good Communicator? Owning a small business will require that you are able to express yourself well. You need to be able to communicate with suppliers, technical staff, support people, and, of course, your customers. A great way to train yourself in this area is to take a course from Toastmasters.

Are You Humble? There will be times when you mess up. You need to be able to simply state the truth, apologize, and do what you can to make up for it. You also need to be humble enough to take advice, criticism, and help. Owning your own business is never a one-man (or one-woman) show.

Are Honesty and Integrity Characteristics of Your Personality? As a business owner there are many opportunities and temptations to cut corners, fudge numbers, and lie. Don’t even start down that road, because the truth almost always wins out. If you don’t already have these qualities deeply embedded in your character, I’d advise that you start now and work on them, before you get into big trouble in your business. Honesty and integrity attract great clients. Shady businesses attract shady clients.

Are You Detail Oriented? Running your own business requires detailed record keeping. You need to keep track of a lot of stuff, and be able to put your hand on it at a moment’s notice.

Are You Flexible? There are many instances in a business where you will be called upon to change your schedule, alter your expectations, and fly by the seat of your pants. If you are rigid and inflexible, this will be a source of huge stress for you.

Do you have an optimistic personality? Is your glass half full? Can you easily identify the silver lining? Can you keep pushing forward through a seemingly unending stream of set-backs and difficulties? Hopefully your whole business won’t be like that (if it is, you’re doing something wrong!) but every now and then you need to walk through a dark valley to reach the other side. Can you push through?

Are You Willing to Do the Boring Tedious Tasks to Set Your Business Up Properly? So many people decide to set up a business without doing any of the important footwork, like researching the target market, creating a solid USP, setting up the business name, creating a financial structure, etc. If you’re not willing to start here, the chances of your business failing are much greater than if you allowed yourself the necessary time to do the foundational homework before launching.

And the Final, BIG question is,

Can you prove that your idea is something people are eagerly willing to exchange money for? Because if there aren’t any paying customers now, you won’t have them later, either!

Now, understand, you don’t need EVERY quality on this list (though the character points and the very last point about and idea people are willing to pay for are pretty non-negotiable) as long as you have resources that make up for your deficiencies. The more of these qualities you DO have, however the greater the chance of your success.