5 Things You Should Consider Before You Start a Business

I have received several questions as regards what one needs to put in place as regard starting a business. While there is no fast-rule to it, I feel you need to prepare your mind for what lies ahead. I still recall the early months, with great clarity, of a particular [tag]business[/tag] I started with 3 other people. We had done all the required planning and preparation to increase the likelihood of our success. We were prepared or so I thought.

Now, I look back and realize that we were prepared on paper to manage the administrative, financial, and operational task (through our business plan and other written strategies). But we were less-adequately prepared mentally and emotionally for the challenges of [tag]entrepreneurship[/tag]. The business eventually failed and I had to move on to something else.

This is not to scare you if you are interested or already considering taking this route. You really want to become [tag]small business owner[/tag]? I am sharing this because I want you and other young people to succeed in business. Having a [tag]business plan[/tag] will help you but so will having an awareness of the emotional roller-coaster you can expect in the early months or years as you claw your way toward success.

1. Be prepared for hard work. I probably don’t need to tell you that owning a business is hard work. In the beginning, you are both the visionary CEO and the lowly janitor. As you grow, you will be expected to provide more leadership and still often fill in the little jobs that get missed.

Your non-entrepreneurial friends will be jealous because you are now your own boss but they have no idea of your hard work. Most successful [tag]entrepreneurs[/tag] I have studied worked harder in their early years than they ever worked at a regular job. Even though it was hard work, it is very rewarding.

2. Be prepared to make decisions. One of the biggest stress I think entrepreneurs face but might not realize until it is too late is the inability to escalate problems to someone else. When you are in paid employment and you are faced with a challenging situation you cannot overcome, there is the temptation (and sometimes the requirement) that you escalate the situation to your superiors.

Perhaps the problem is related to a customer, a coworker, or a problem with the products that requires an executive decision. You can always refer it to your manager in the office. But as an entrepreneur, YOU ARE the one making the executive decisions. This becomes easier over time but I think it catches small business owners off guard early on.

3. Be prepared for economic and relational hardships. During the early growth phase of any business, there are massive time requirements for small rewards. Often, new entrepreneurs are making less than minimum wage as they work 12, 16 or 18 hours just to operate their business which is not paying 12, 16, or 18 hours worth of wages each day. This will put a strain on your finances and your relationships.

Your business plan will likely help to ensure that your [tag]finances[/tag] won’t be rocked too hard by the belt-tightening. But your relationships are another story. Make sure that your spouse (if you are married) and your immediate family are completely supportive of your decision before you make the leap and ask for their help in letting you know that they care for you, even if you can’t reciprocate in the early months of your business. Consider your friends also. You will always need them along the way on the journey. So, make a point to schedule time with them because if you don’t, it is easy to lose those valued relationships.

4. Be optimistic. This is one decision I have adhered to since. The first three are negative points, it is true. But they are meant to give you a realistic idea of what to expect. Another area your business plan doesn’t cover but you should make it a point to practice is optimism. Be incredibly optimistic about your chances of success and that will help you to stay positive even when challenges seem insurmountable.

5. Be fulfilled! Lastly, remember why you start your business in the first place. It was not because you love the stress and challenges; it’s probably because you discovered that you could feel greater fulfillment by being your own boss and selling the product or service that interest you the most.

I am sure you will be able to find other tips from books and advise from mentors. Just ensure that you follow through on your business idea. The world is waiting for what you have to offer but it will take a personal commitment from you to give it all it takes. I am leaving you with this question, “Are you prepared to start your business?”