Yesterday I was chatting to someone at the pool and they asked me what I did for a living.
I said “I have my own business”, to which they replied “That’s great, I would love to be my own boss”.
But is that all it’s about?
Definitely not – jumping into the start-up world is a big decision and you need to be completely convinced that you have a great idea you are passionate about.
Even with this belief, you risk a great deal getting started and there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed.
There’s loads of advice online and in start-up workshops, but basically you need to ask yourself seven simple questions before you take the leap:
1. Why do I want to start my own business?
If you simply hate your job, or you’re following a trend, it probably won’t survive. You need to solve a problem in an industry you love and this passion will help you succeed.
2. What problem(s) am I solving?
You need to provide something unique that will solve a problem for someone else. If they can do it themselves then there is no need to buy from you!
3. What lifestyle sacrifices am I willing to make?
It’s a big decision to give up a high-paying job to follow your entrepreneurial idea. You need to be brutally honest with yourself and ask what kind of lifestyle you would be comfortable with.
4. Will my family and friends be supportive?
The small business rollercoaster takes you up and down, and as you veer from ‘busy excitement’ to ‘tumble weed depression’, you need to have supportive people around you.
5. How much money will I need?
It’s good to have some savings to use in the early days, but don’t stretch yourself too thin. Cash flow can be a killer so make sure that you have loans or access to more cash if necessary.
6. Should I grow quickly or take my time?
If you have a great business idea, you should seize the moment and grow as fast as you can. This is best with funding so that your investors can realise quick and profitable returns. However, if you’re going it alone with your own money, you can take a little more time.
7. Am I in the right place to launch my business?
You need to either know, or get to know, your industry and make contacts by going to lots of networking and start-up events. Hearing about the experiences of other people is the best way to learn. This can help you work out whether you’re in the right place geographically to launch your product.
Remember it’s great to be your own boss, but it’s your passion and belief in your business idea, plus a strong and stable support structure that will give you the best possible chance of succeeding.