DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR
Entrepreneur – it is such a glamorous word. However, leaving a well-paying corporate job to launch your own business is not easy.
If you are an aspiring entrepreneur in your 30’s or 40’s, you probably already have a lot of financial liabilities like a mortgage loan or a car loan.
You may be responsible for putting food on the table. Your children may be in university. You will also have to deal with several other expenses.
Entrepreneurship is not meant for the faint-hearted. It is not intended for those with skinny wallets either.
Some aspiring entrepreneurs can manage the financial situation because they have enough savings. Even they find it challenging to handle the transition from a high-flying executive to a scrappy entrepreneur.
There is always the option of raising capital to start your venture, this option puts you and your business in debt from the get-go, and that is not everyone’s cup of tea.
THE UNPLEASANT ASPECTS OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
So, you are planning to quit your job to start a business. But before you do, you should know what it means to be an entrepreneur. Consider the following before starting a business.
YOU NEED TO DO JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN
When you work in a company, you have an excellent support system. You have assistants, juniors, and interns. So, if you feel that a particular task is too tedious for you, you can get it done by an assistant. But when you launch a company, you will be doing everything on your own.
When you quit your cushy job to build a business from scratch, people will start dismissing you. You may even feel that suddenly you have become ‘invisible’, and people have stopped calling you. This hurts. But who said being an entrepreneur is easy? Starting up a business is going to be a constant struggle for the initial years.
Capital is the biggest concern of brand-new entrepreneurs. You have to pay your bills. You have to pay your company bills as well. You might always be struggling to raise funds, and you will almost always feel that you are working against the tide.
At least some entrepreneurs will have to dip into their personal savings to pay their employees. At this point, you will start celebrating even small revenue victories.
While these are the negative sides of being an entrepreneur, building your business and being your boss are worthwhile pursuits. But before you take the plunge, you need to ask yourself a few questions.
ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT THE IDEA?
For many people, the motivation to start a new business stems from their desperation to avoid a bad situation. Maybe they have a lousy boss, or perhaps they are stuck in a job that does not offer any growth prospects.
Unfortunately, these aren’t good reasons to start a business. It is not easy to build a startup from scratch. If you are not genuinely passionate about the idea, you will never survive the first few years.
ARE YOU WILLING TO LEAD A FRUGAL LIFE?
You will most probably be broke for the first few years. Many aspiring entrepreneurs fund their business with their personal savings. Most of them cannot take cash out of their business for the first few years.
You are unlikely to get any income out of your venture. Are you willing to deal with that situation? If you are an employee, you can rest assured that you will get paid no matter what. That is not the case with a startup.
Entrepreneurship is not everybody’s cup of tea. When you work for another person or company, you will get paid no matter what, but when you work for yourself, there is no such guarantee.
IS YOUR IDEA PROFITABLE?
You need to ensure that you have a profitable idea. If you start a business without doing enough market research, you are more likely to fail.
There should be a market for your product or service. It should be something people want or need. Only then you will be able to attract investors. Keep in mind that no one will fund an idea just because you are excited about it.
You do not have to quit your job to start your business. You can build your company on the side in your free time. Do not leave your job until you are confident that it will succeed in the marketplace.
When you work for a company, you will have access to its resources. And when a problem pops up, your manager will take care of it. But when you start a business, you will find yourself doing everything. Worse still, you are going to be under tremendous pressure to get results. That explains why many would-be entrepreneurs eventually run back to their cubicle.
Entrepreneurs are always on call. You will find yourself working at nights, on weekends, and holidays. If you do not have a supportive family, you will run into many problems.
THE RISK OF FAILURE
Nobody starts a business expecting it to fail. But the truth is in the U.K., 20% of ventures fail in the first year, and a massive 60% fail y the third year in business. The risk of failure is always there.
There are many reasons why businesses fail such ass bad planning or even NO PLANNING!, cash flow problems, not understanding their marketplace and not having an effective marketing strategy.
It would help if you minimised the risks before starting a business. Make sure you have planned your strategy. Put together a business plan, a projected cash flow. Get to know your market and the level of competition you are up against in the market.
SHOULD YOU QUIT YOUR JOB?
Thanks to the IPO gold rush, several youngsters in their 20′s became millionaires overnight. But you can’t launch a business hoping that you will be able to emulate their success. The truth is that not every entrepreneur makes millions. Some do; several others don’t.
There is no point in starting a business to escape a negative situation. If you are launching a business to escape from a bad workplace or a terrible boss, your motivation is unlikely to be strong. You should have a business idea you are passionate about.
Without passion, you are unlikely to survive the first few years, which are going to be extremely tough.
If you are passionate about the idea, and you can see its growth potential, you may consider launching your business. Leaving an uninspiring job or a particular boss should never be the motivation to launch a business. If that is your concern, you should consider finding a different job instead of starting a new business.
You should start with your true passion and then find ways to pursue it. Also, you should not quit your job just because you have an idea. An idea isn’t enough. No one will fund an idea. If you want to get investors, you should have customers and income.
HAVE YOU GOT ANYTHING TO PROVE THAT YOUR BUSINESS IDEA WILL SUCCEED?
Too many people start their businesses without asking enough questions or doing enough research. That is a mistake. Before you start, you need to ensure that your service or product is something people want to use. You should be able to snatch business from your competitors.
You should try out your idea without quitting your current job. Consider launching it on the side. Work on it in your spare time until you are confident that it will succeed.
ARE YOU WILLING TO DEVOTE YOUR WHOLE TIME TO YOUR BUSINESS?
When you run a startup you can’t have holidays. You will have to miss birthdays and other family functions. Your family may be unhappy with this. Many entrepreneurs feel that they are married to their business ventures. This may not be your thing.
After 20 years of advising over 5000 businesses, I can with some authority say that being an entrepreneur is not for everyone and should you consider starting a business, consider it carefully, especially if you are in a cushy job.
If none of these fears deters you from pursuing your entrepreneurship dream, maybe that is in your DNA. In that case, go ahead and take that plunge.
If you decide to start a business, work out what you want from starting a business.