The entrepreneurial bug is infectious, particularly in a gig economy that makes working independently so palpable. Small businesses are, after all, the backbone of the American economy.
But starting and running a business is tough. Only one in three small businesses reach the 10-year mark, with about half dissolving around year five, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Reasons for failure vary and include poor planning, money troubles, and the inability to sell a product or service to the right audience.
Successful entrepreneurs also possess intangibles such as resilience and passion. Consider these four questions before taking the plunge.
Do you have the mindset of a CEO?
A new business owner must be eager and driven, with more vision and risk tolerance than an employee.
As an employee, your supervisor laid out your goals and responsibilities. As an entrepreneur and your own supervisor, it is up to you to determine what your business needs to succeed. Can you adjust your thinking to be the CEO? As an entrepreneur, you will be the brains and the brawn of your company – making sales calls, placing orders and handling finances. Ask yourself if you’re more than ready, excited and eager to take on these challenges.
Do you have emotional fortitude?
Owning a business has its ups and downs, and start-ups require plenty of patience and tenacity. Starting a business will test your tolerance for risk as you work to get it running. Having confidence in yourself and your service is key to navigating rough times. And not just in the beginning. Business owners must deal with problems every day: unhappy customers, product or shipping snafus. A successful and satisfied business owner must have nerves of steel. This is no place for Nervous Nellie.
Do you have clear and realistic expectations?
Understand your expectations for owning a business. Do you want the freedom of being your own boss while making a comfortable living? Or is wealth your main goal? If wealth is your number one priority, know the reasonable expected earnings. Don’t inflate those earnings or you’ll be disillusioned and disappointed.
Expect to work hard, often much longer hours than when you worked as an employee. It’s unrealistic to expect shorter work hours when you start a business. Audit your thoughts and expectations to ensure they’re in sync with the business you have in mind.
Do you possess passion for the service or solution you will provide?
Though your business often will feel like a job, your passion will show you the big picture and carry you through the hard work. Your passion fuels your vision and leads to rewarding work. Your exuberance will sway customers to buy from you. If you’re not passionate about your service, why would they be? Make sure your heart is in the right place before venturing on your own.
Patricia Rivera is a marketing consultant and founder of Hook PR & Marketing in Lewes (www.hookpr.com)