Is This The Year That You Start Your Business?
Take this quiz to find out if you're ready to launch.
Are you ready to turn your ideas and aspirations into business success? To make it as an entrepreneur, you not only need a great concept, but you also need courage, energy and determination. To help you decide whether you’ve got what it takes, take the quiz below. I developed these questions so prospective business owners can decide whether it's time to launch.
Answer each question in writing as completely as possible. Your responses will allow you to evaluate your motives, goals, skills and experience, and can even be used as the basis for your initial business plan. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. The objective is to help you find a path to fulfill your dreams.
1. What do you want from your working life? More money? Greater job satisfaction? More free time for family or other interests? Is entrepreneurship the only way to achieve this?
2. What do you like to do? Think of all the things that you do that make you happy. Imagine incorporating some or all of them into a job. Some of your favorite activities might include selling, working with numbers, cooking, exercising, writing, teaching, helping others and reading, to name a few. Which of these activities can be part of your new business?
3. What are your skills? Some of your skills will be things that you like to do. Other skills may be things that you don't like to do, but that are necessary to launch a business. Once you've started a business, you can hire employees or consultants to handle those activities that bug you the most.
4. What are the specific services or products that your company will offer or create? Do not be vague. If you cannot list services or products, you do not have a viable business idea.
5. Why will people want or need these products or services? Asking three or four friends if they would buy your product or service isn't enough. Do you have any information on your potential market, either from personal experience or from other experts? Can you clearly describe the need that you fill or the problem that you solve?
6. Are you good at working alone, or do you need to be around other people to feel motivated? If you need to work with other people, how quickly can you hire employees or find a business partner?
7. Are you a leader? Do you know how to motivate others? Are you good at delegating work and getting people to stick to deadlines? Successful entrepreneurs know how to motivate others.
8. How will you finance a new business? Will you need to find investors, or are you planning to boot-strap your business? You'll need less capital to launch a service business than to start a retail or manufacturing business.
9. Who are your business contacts? This is essential in starting a business. Key contacts include people who will buy your product or service, people who will help fund your business and experts, like your lawyer and accountant, who can give you solid advice.
10. Are you ready to give up the security of a weekly paycheck to go out on your own? Are you ready to take a risk?
Spend time thinking about the answers to these questions. If you decide that you have what it takes to launch a business, then go for it. If, on the other hand, you're not quite ready, don't give up. Instead think about laying the groundwork for success. Consider working for a company where you'll gain enough knowledge and contacts to go out on your own. Take courses and attend workshops to develop your expertise. It's also smart to join associations and networking groups where you can grow your contacts, meet people who can help you and where you can profit from the organization's business programs and access to professional advice.
Whether you choose to take a big leap now or decide to take smaller steps to reach your entrepreneurial goals, remember that success does not happen overnight. You'll need courage, energy and determination to make it happen. But it's worth it. Entrepreneurship can be the adventure of a lifetime bringing you freedom, money and happiness. But first, you must decide whether it's the right path for you.
An expert on public relations and marketing, Jane Wesman is the president of Jane Wesman Public Relations, Inc., a New York City-based agency that works with book publishers and writers. She is passionate about helping women succeed in business and is the author of one of the first books on the topic, Dive Right In – The Sharks Won’t Bite: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide to Success, published in 1995.