Are you thinking of starting your own business? Welcome aboard! Every year, more than 700,000 other people in the United States alone start a new business.
But business isn’t for the faint of heart…it is riddled with stress, turmoil, and uncertainty. But it is filled with incredible rewards, excitement, and independence from the corporate world. For most business owners, the pros definitely outweigh the cons…as evidenced by the thousands of businesses starting up every day.
As the lead attorney at my Idaho-based business law firm Generations Law Group, I’ve helped companies with their businesses for over 45 years.
To improve your odds of success and to take advantage of these incredible benefits of owning and running your own business, here are 5 critical questions I would encourage everyone to answer prior to either starting up a new business or for investing the time and resources in continuing their existing business.
1. What is your purpose?
Why do you want to go into business or continue to grow your existing business? Identifying your “why” is the most critical first step in the process.
And I’ll give you a hint…it shouldn’t be for the money. That is an end result, not the purpose and passion for why you want to go in this direction.
Oftentimes someone can make more if they stayed in corporate America. So the reason has to be something that is really driving you to go in this direction.
Your current job can be a motivator but it won’t last long if you don’t have a deep and focused purpose for why you want to start (or continue) your own venture.
Once you understand this…you know your purpose…it makes answering the other questions much easier. If you don’t know this, invest the time to really do some soul searching to figure it out…it will pay huge dividends down the road.
2. Are you personally productive and motivated?
Working in your own business requires some very special skills…one of which is to be self-motivated and productive. If you are the type of person that can get a lot done in a short period of time because you are so focused and motivated, then your odds of success go up significantly.
There will be many times when you will be challenged in the business…being able to fight through these with more productivity and motivation will put you ahead of others and increase the odds your business will be a success.
3. Do you have Selling Skills?
Selling Skills are critical…if you don’t have the ability to “sell” and “position” your company in the market as something customers would want to buy from, it will be a very long and difficult road to success.
But if you have at least some basic skills to sell yourself, your idea, your product, or your service, you have increased your odds of succeeding. People want to buy from someone who is passionate about their business…and who can communicate it to others.
4. Can you push through adversity and uncertainty?
It is a given there will be uncertainty, doubt, and adversity in running your own business. If you approach it thinking that there won’t be, you have already failed.
But if you go in knowing this is just an everyday part of running your own show, then you are well-ahead of the game.
Having a plan for how you will handle these issues ahead of time goes a long way to helping you think clearly as you navigate the challenging waters you will face.
Business is a lot like running the rapids of a river. There are a lot of calm spots along the way that need very little effort. Then there are the rapids (and some big ones) that you will need to navigate to survive. Knowing this in advance and having a plan of how (and who) you will approach these will allow you to increase your objectivity and success.
5. Do you have the finances to weather the startup or the continuity of your business?
Financial resources are always underestimated.
As one investor told me early on, take the number you think it will take to make this venture work and quadruple it…and you might be close.
Business takes money initially and throughout to make it a success. Being able to push through tough times is a mental AND financial challenge. Knowing this up front can help alleviate much of the stress you will incur along the way.
And it will help to eliminate your shock and surprise when you are burning through more cash than you expected. Plan for it and you can keep going and succeeding.
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If you focus on these 5 areas, your odds of success will go up significantly. The key is to think through these well in advance. Always go back to number 1 when in doubt…that is your grounding answer and what will help you push through all the other areas that present themselves as challenges.
If you ever come up against a wall you are uncertain about how to eliminate, I would be happy to share some of my insights with you. But the most important thing to know is that you don’t have to go it alone. I’ve been involved as an Idaho business owner helping other business owners for over 45 years, and I would be happy to give you some insights to what I have learned over this period of time. You will make it…just do the heavy lifting up front and it will prepare you for success!