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Ready for Takeoff?

Ask yourself these questions to ensure all systems are go for your business launch.

Starting a business is a huge under-taking. How can you possibly know if you're ready for that step? Small-business experts Jeff and Rich Sloan of StartupNation.com, a business-advice website, suggest answering these questions before you get started.

  • What is your goal in creating the business? Says Rich, "It's very important to understand what your end-game is in order for you to start out the right way."
  • How does the business idea fit into your broad life objectives? "We advocate doing your life planning before your business planning," says Rich. You should have a realistic idea of what you want and how your business will contribute to your lifestyle.
  • What is your tolerance for risk? While any startup has risks, some are riskier than others. A franchise, for instance, already has a set plan to follow, whereas mortgaging your house to open a retail store may carry more risk.
  • How much money do you have? How much are you willing to put into the business to see it through to a self-sustaining level?
  • What kinds of financial resources are available to you? Think about the types of funding sources that would fit well with your business model--such as family members, angels, VCs, SBA loans and so on--and how you can tap into them. Also, ask yourself what kinds of resources you're willing to obligate yourself to.
  • Are you ready to handle the challenges? "You're going to have to be tenacious and determined to overcome them," says Jeff. "If you feel weak at all, I would suggest that now is not the time."

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This article was originally published in the September 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ready for Takeoff?.

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