Are you thinking about becoming a consultant?
Lost your job or lost hours during the economic meltdown and ready to expand into something new?
Have oodles of experience and an entrepreneurial itch that you have been dying to scratch?
Got a great business idea burning inside you?
If any of the above questions apply to you, you may be thinking of starting a business of your own. Though you may have a great deal of excitement, it pays to pause to consider whether entrepreneurship is really for you. According to the latest Small Business Administration statistics, half of all new businesses fail before five years.
So before you give up the security of a steady paycheck or “think” the grass is greener elsewhere, consider what you need to “be” and “have” in order to successfully navigate the waters of your own business.
- Be realistic. Starting a business requires a lot of effort and hard work. You may have more control over your work life, but you also have complete responsibility, which can be a surprise if you've always been employed. Another surprise may be how much time and money are required to get up to speed. It’s also a myth that you’d no longer have a boss when you went into business. Your new bosses are your clients and customers.
- Be persistent. Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted but for those with the tenacity to keep at it — to do whatever it takes to create the business (and life) they dream of.
- Be curious. It’s the rare individual who knows everything he or she needs to know to start a business. What don’t you know? How can you get the knowledge? Who can help? Also, being curious about your business results, whether good or bad, will help you improve those results.
- Be passionate. Half-hearted efforts will get you nowhere. Passion, combined with solid training and persistence, will get you through hectic or problematic times.
- Have a plan. When you create a roadmap for your intentions, you’re setting yourself up for success when you plan out the next few years as well as the next week.
- Have a conversation. Make sure family members are behind your dream. A lack of support, or downright opposition, from key people can ruin the best-laid plans.
- Have a support system. Don’t fall prey to the “Lone Ranger syndrome.” Ask for help or information from mentors, advisors, trainers, networking forums, peers, etc.
And, finally, if you’ve really got the new business bug, don’t let others, who’ve decided to play it safe, talk you out of it. Some of the most successful businesses started with a cockamamie idea and someone with the chutzpah to carry it out. Just be mindful of all it will take to carry that idea to fruition.
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, RDH eVillage