If you’re reading this, the entrepreneurial bug has probably bitten you and yet you’re not sure if you’re ready to take the risk. Being unsure is normal; after all it’s a big decision to leave the comfort zone of a regular income and dive into something you aren’t even sure will work. Here’s a quick checklist for aspiring entrepreneurs that will help put things into perspective and help you make the right decision.
You have an idea you just can’t stop thinking about
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, chances are, you already have an idea that’s been occupying your every waking minute. You need to have an idea that you’re extremely passionate about, even if you haven’t worked out all the details yet. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who fuelled their big ideas on pure and simple passion.
You have a plan
You have your product or service idea and you’re sure that there’s a market for it. Before you decide to leave your day job to experience the life of an entrepreneur, make sure you have a plan, or at least an outline of your new business venture. This plan should include defining and testing your idea, setting milestones to achieve and understanding what resources are going to be necessary, for example how to obtain small business grants or gain access to capital.
You have a great support system
While your start-up may just require your effort alone, you are certainly going to need family, friends and mentors to help you. Your spouse, children and friends need to support you through this period, even if it means reducing expenses, picking up extra chores or mentally preparing themselves that they’re going to potentially see a lot less of you.
You’re not afraid of taking risks
A good entrepreneur knows how to embrace uncertainties and all the risks that come along with it. You have to be willing to acknowledge that security doesn’t necessarily add up to success and before embarking on your new venture, write down the major risks you think you might encounter and create back-up plans for every one of them. Doing this helps you to understand what might and could go wrong and should provide you with the peace of mind that you have a plan. It is also a good habit for all business owners to understand what risks there are at every level and size of business.
You are organised
Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute organising, an hour is earned.” If you’re not already organised, learn to be. Every day, aim to do one task that will help move your business forward and avoid cluttering your day with too many tasks. Instead choose a few important things each day and get them out of the way. These major things that are high on the priority list are called ‘big rocks’. Having said that, don’t forget the little, detailed rocks either as these can become critical down the track. Deal with them when you can and when you get the ‘big rocks’ out of the way to maximise your time and efforts.
You are ready for failure… and success
You have to be able to face the fear of failure and, as strange as it sounds, success. The trappings of success bring along with it more work, a need to expand and higher expectations. You need to be able to grow your business in real time, to keep up with or ahead of the changing demands. Having a business mentor and a great accountant can make all the difference when faced with failure and success as they have seen it all before and can guide you through most situations.
You are good at business development
You need to be 8-10 out of 10 in rating yourself at being and effective business developer. You need to toughen up to rejection, be able to present and pitch well to win business and continually market your product and/or services, face to face and on social media. Even if you are 100% delivering or manufacturing, keep up your marketing and networking for new business opportunities.
Focus, focus, focus
Be disciplined. Don’t get distracted by the next ‘shiny thing’. Stay focused on your core business and leverage those opportunities.
You recognise opportunities easily
Opportunities aren’t always going to be in plain sight. It’s up to you to be able to seize the day and recognise how to turn a situation to your advantage. People who are sensitive to opportunities are more likely to act on them. Also, don’t forget to network, networking is one of the best ways to seek out new opportunities and drum up business.
Now you may thumb through a dozen articles, checklists and maybe even online quizzes to deem yourself ready. However, it’s simply impossible to pinpoint the perfect time to start up and run a business. It doesn’t matter how long you wait or how much you prepare – you’ll never be able to gather enough business acumen, or enter a state of zero risk. So as long as you’re passionate, have prepared as much as you can to the best of your ability and believe in yourself and your big idea, now is the time to get out there!
I encourage women entrepreneurs to join a behind closed doors Entrepreneurs group to be mentored by successful business operators and supported by other like minded business owners and entrepreneurs.
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