When most people think of being an entrepreneur, they picture the perks (i.e. financial freedom, unlimited vacations, flexible schedule) without considering the process (long nights, a string of rejections and setbacks etc.)
The truth is, entrepreneurship is hard. It can take years before making a profit and achieving financial success. Not everyone’s cut out for it, but if you’re thinking about starting a company, ask yourself these questions first, as suggested by MFV Expositions Founder and CEO Tom Portesy:
Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit needed to succeed?
True entrepreneurship is a full-time, everyday job. It tests your commitment, patience and tenacity. It’s not an exit plan from your day job or a shortcut to being rich. It takes a go-getter attitude to push through the initial failures and ever-present obstacles to run a business. Do you have it in you?
Are you passionate enough to commit?
Can you see yourself doing this kind of work every day for the rest of your life? Being passionate about your work helps to perform at the highest level and avoid burnout. That said, it’s not enough to just have a passion. Is your idea a viable business opportunity? Do your research and learn about all your options before taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship. Passion and strategy are the ultimate winning combination.
Do you have the money?
Understanding the total costs of starting and maintaining a business is crucial. Passion is important, but having the starting capital is vital! Before you embark on a new venture, map out the total investment you’ll need to get your company off the ground. Calculate your starting costs—they will largely depend on the type of business, and make a plan to either save up or raise that amount.
Am I willing to learn from others?
A commitment to lifelong learning is essential to success. What successful businesses do you admire, respect and want to emulate? Who in the business world would you like to meet and get mentorship from? Do your due diligence and network with other owners to learn about their failures and successes. Build a group of business mentors and aspiring entrepreneurs for guidance, critical evaluation and creative inspiration—among other things. Having this support circle will also keep you motivated through the hard times.
Beyond learning from people, continually understanding your business, your competitive strengths, the changing customer demographics and preferences, as well as how to maintain your competitive edge will help business owners stay relevant.
Can you embrace change and pivot quickly?
When building a business, things will not always go as planned and you have to be okay with that. For example, your ideal customers could have some unexpected feedback on your product, which would require that some changes be made. Are you flexible enough to adapt? An openness to constructive criticism and is essential to keeping your customers satisfied and your business successful. Are you willing to consider others’ input and refine your ideas?
If you think you have what it takes to launch your own business and take control of your financial future, you should absolutely go for it. It is a rewarding learning experience—which makes the outcome a win-win, regardless of what it might be.