Set Your Sights on Reality

Starting a new business is one of the riskiest, yet exciting decisions you will make in your life. While over sixty percent of the new jobs in the United States are created by small businesses annually, a significant number of them are not sustained due to failure.

There are relatively low barriers to entry for starting up many businesses: adopt a name, maybe incorporate, get a business license and away you go. Dreams and schemes are cheap, but before you get too far down the road, you need to set your sights on reality.

While it can be simple to “start” a business, succeeding in business is another story. There are significant personal factors you should consider ahead of the decision to launch into business.

I am reminded of the dozens of business cards handed to me over the years that were in perfect form, good paper, nice design, and contained the designations “Founder, Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer.” These cards were given to me by freshly-minted entrepreneurs that didn’t have a business checking account yet.

Starting a business is serious work. If you have had trouble working for someone else, wait till you see how tough it is to motivate yourself some days.

There are many tough questions on which you should ponder: Why do I want really want to start a business? The path to small business success is littered with challenges every day. Are you just anxious to upgrade your job title, or do you really have the “fire in the belly” to make it work? Are you willing to endure past the mistakes, bad assumptions, unsympathetic customers, and unethical competitors?

While I would never discourage anyone from exploring the idea of starting their own business, I will try to ensure that the prospective business owners carefully weigh the gravity of how life changes when you adopt the title of “entrepreneur.”

There are more questions that need to be considered: Do I really have the skills and aptitude to earn a living in my own enterprise? How do I get started and what are the highest priorities to generate revenue? What will this enterprise really cost to grow to a sustainable level? Do I have sufficient resources to get to that point, and if not, can I get them anywhere else? These questions should be answered ahead of your decision to quit your old job.

When you’re the new business owner, the burden of making things happen falls on your shoulders. You take on multiple responsibilities usually without true expertise in many of them. And as challenging, you have to supervise others to perform work for you that you are not qualified to do, much less supervise.

Starting and owning a business is one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences you may ever have, but also one of the most tiring and challenging. The best advice is to weigh the costs, both on your fortune as well as your person, and make sure you know what you are signing up for before you pick up the pen.


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