In my last post, I posed five realities of entrepreneurial responsibility. Here are some questions that might help you flesh out whether you’re ready to be an entrepreneur.
Do you have entrepreneurial heart and courage?
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about going into business for yourself. Perhaps a consulting practice, buying an existing business or franchise, or even starting a business from the ground up. Maybe you have a fabulous new product, technology or idea to market. Or think business partnership with a friend or colleague might be in the cards. Or maybe it’s just perpetual thoughts you have around entrepreneurial ideas or ventures—self-employment in some form.
The following informal assessment might help you gauge whether it’s a fit. Having service, product and/or industry expertise is one thing. From where I sit (an entrepreneur for 25+ years), I know that you also have to grow your business, promote your value, do the math of client books and business finances, solve ongoing problems and make tough decisions. If you engage other talent, you must also be able to hire and train, manage, lead, delegate and maybe terminate. Ask yourself if you’re willing to commit to the demands of self-employment—on your time, vigor, expertise and strength.
Just put a “Y” for yes or “N” for no behind each question.
- Have you clearly described your expertise and business concept?
- Have you pinpointed a particular market for your services and/or products?
- Do you have a gut-belief that your proposed business venture would be successful?
- Do you know not only who your competition is, but what they do, charge, market to, offer that’s unique, etc.?
- Do you have a formal written business plan?
- Have you shared your business concept with others and solicited their feedback?
- Do you have a marketing and advertising plan in place?
- Have you asked for advice from an accountant or financial counsel?
- Have you sought the advice of legal counsel?
- Do you have budget, revenue and income projections in order?
- Do you have the financial resources to support yourself during the early phases of your business?
This is not a test; I’m not going to tell you that you need to have circled 5 or more yeses to be ready. Actually, ideally these should all be yeses before you put out a shingle. These are tangibles. How about the softer stuff? The “do-you-have-what-it-takes” stuff?
- Is your family supportive?
- Can you think, solve problems and make decisions independently?
- Can you roll with the constant change and realignment that any new business enterprise commands?
- Are you willing to learn from your mistakes? Are you willing to learn from other people and resources?
- Do you have grit—the type of hardiness that lets you bounce back when you fall down?
- Can you handle disappointment and move on?
- Are you willing to work harder than you just may ever have in your life?
- Are you determined? Focused? Diligent? Self-disciplined? Well organized? Flexible?
- Can you live comfortably in a high-risk employment setting?
- Can you handle lots of stress?
- Does a lot of your self-image come from your work?
- Do you really crave success and self-satisfaction?
- Are you ready now?
If your responses tilted in the yes category, you may be primed for entrepreneurship. Take the time you need to dot your Is and cross your Ts. And I hope you love the ride!