Unfortunately, any business owner will tell you that it takes more than just a passion to get you to the top. Because 96% of businesses fail within 10 years, it's important to really think about not only what it takes for a business to succeed in your industry, but also what it takes out of a business owner. So how do you know where you fall? Do you have what it takes to own a business, should you wait a few years, or is it not the right path for you at all?
Are you willing to take risks? Do you have a cap on those risks?
This will be the number one question on every list you read. When you own your own business, you have to be comfortable taking risks, mainly financial risks. Quitting your job and having to put all of your life savings into a space or hiring employees is a common practice all new entrepreneurs go through, and for some the risk is just a little bit too much. They try to be smart by saving a certain amount of money and only going so far. While this is a smart move, you can't think that way if you own your own business. You have to be able to plan (and essentially see the future), and give it everything you've got at any point in time.
Can you stick with what you start?
Some people are more free spirits and like to be moving around all the time. Entrepreneurs oftentimes have to have this similar attitude, however, which makes this one tricky. You may seem like you're the right fit to own your own business until this consideration trips up your plans. You have to be able to really stick with what you start, and for some this just isn't in their nature. Be honest with yourself and think about your past projects and how you did sticking with them until the end.
Can you make decisions and feel confident about them?
Plain and simple, you have to be a good decision maker. This one is fairly obvious, but it's incredibly important. When you own your own business, it's ultimately all up to you. You may have people there to help you, but you have to be able to make decisions and feel confident about them. The Wall Street Journal outlined several great decisions you'll have to make right off the bat:
· Do you want to work from home or lease office space?
· When are you going to start hiring employees, and what will their jobs be?
· Do you pursue high-end clients or sell to the masses?
· Do you want to incorporate? Do you want to advertise?
· Are you going to borrow money from family and friends? Are you comfortable using your entire savings for the business?
Obviously these are basic questions, but if you're unable to really feel confident about these then it's important to realize the decision-making will only get harder. One wrong decision could cost you a lot of time and money, so you have to be prepared for that fact as well.
Are prepared to commit fully to your business?
Owning your own business will take up the majority of your time if you want to be successful. This means less time going out with friends (and less money to do-so), and even less time with your family (a deal-breaker for many). If you're not ready to commit fully, this may not be the right time. Again, it's all about decisions.
How much can you juggle at once? Are you willing to take on multiple responsibilities?
On that same note, a big reason owning a business will take up all of your time is the fact that you have to take on many responsibilities. At first, you may be your entire company, which means you're the IT pro, the marketing expert, the sales guru, and the boss. Even when you do start to grow your business, as the owner you still need to be familiar with all departments and have at least some expertise in all areas. This is also something that is hard to learn on the job, so I highly recommend getting some practice and seeing how you do juggling different things first if possible.
Do you enjoy working with and being around other people?
Another obvious one that has to be mentioned--you have to be good with people. Even if your business doesn't involve a ton of face-to-face customer interaction, you're the owner of the company. You have to manage employees and you have to work with everyone. This is something else that it's tough to learn on the job, so really be honest with yourself about where you stand on the issue currently.
Take a quiz.
When all else fails, there are also several quizzes out there to help generate an answer for you. However, I highly recommend really thinking about some of the points above and coming up with your own conclusion before jumping into a quiz. After all, you need to be able to make decisions on your own, right? Start with this one. You can then listen to others (the quizzes) and take advice and see how you do.
If through it all you still feel confident and ready, go for it. If you don't feel like you're ready right now, that also doesn't mean that you won't be ready in the future. As long as you take the time to consider some of the tips above, you should be able to come up with a pretty good idea of if business ownership is right for you. It's not right for everyone and that's OK--the sooner you can weed out ideas that do and don't work the sooner you'll be able to find the right fit for you, and that's really all that matters in the end.