NEW SERVICE? NEW PRODUCT? NEW SPIN?

ASK YOURSELF THESE 7 QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU TURN YOUR PASSION INTO A PAYCHECK…

Do you have a service you want to bring to market? Do you have a unique spin on an existing product? I admire your chutzpah and I want you to be super-successful. So, I encourage you to take a breath and ask yourself THESE 7 QUESTIONS as you launch your business.

1. DO YOU KNOW WHY DO YOU WANT TO OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Before you start or get too far down the road, it’s a great idea to understand WHY you want to be a business owner. A good business plan that explores your purpose and your goals can be the North Star that guides you along your path. Is your boss driving you nuts? If you want to launch a biz because your boss is driving you nuts, are you ready to BE THE Boss? Are you bored at your current job? Maybe it’s easier to change careers or take up a hobby instead of investing everything into creating a new business. Business ownership is a challenge that very often requires significant personal investments of time, money and energy. If you aren’t passionate about entrepreneurship or your business idea, you might not find value in the ups and downs of business ownership.

2. DO YOU HAVE GRIT?

Nothing is certain in life … or business. Some of the most famous success stories started with a failure of some sort. The business world is constantly moving and changing. Despite the best intentions, deals fall through. Even the best laid plans fall apart. Here’s the deal: you can hire experts – you can’t hire the resilience you need to pick yourself up, regroup, and get back on track.

3. ARE YOU SELF-MOTIVATED?

Self-motivation and inspiration are important keys to success. Whether you realize it or not, as part of an established company, you have built in systems and people to keep you goal-oriented and on course. Will you be able to motivate and inspire yourself once you strike out on your own? If not, are you willing to build systems and find people to help you? If not, success may be hard to find.

4. DO YOU HAVE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?

Starting a business from the ground up, or growing an existing business, takes some specialized knowledge and experience. You need to understand finances (budgets & projections), marketing and sales, risk management, and law. Business owners often have to wear a number of different hats, particularly in the early days. You need to build knowledge in a lot of specialized areas and be able to quickly switch hats. If you don’t know how to run a business, you need to start educating yourself AND finding a support system to help you (see #7).

5. DO YOU HAVE SOME MONEY TO PAY THE BILLS?

Make sure you have at least six months of salary saved, or secure the right investors and loans, before you quit your day job. Even the best ideas and most innovative companies take some time to ramp up to optimum money-making potential.

6. CAN YOU SELL?

There are as many theories about “how to sell” as there are new businesses every year. For a business owner, the ability to close a deal can literally make or break your company. Maybe you embrace the “A-B-C” school of thought. (Do I get points for the Glen-Gary Glen-Ross reference?) Or you might relate more to the “Always Be Helping” technique. Either way: Can you sell your ideas to investors? Can you sell your products and services to customers? If you aren’t comfortable as a salesperson, are you ready and able to hire someone who is?

7. ARE YOU READY TO INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS?

For your business to have a chance at success, you need to be willing to invest time (and sometimes money) to make it happen. “Investing in your business” means way more than making deposits in your bank account. Successful owners also invest in their company’s foundation and build a great team. Skimping on the foundation at the beginning can lead to increased expenses when you’re forced to deal with the issues later. Your best investment is a great team. Get the tax advice you need to choose the best entity. Get the right insurance coverage. Talk to a lawyer early! Make sure the “perfect name” you’ve set your heart on isn’t already trademarked. Get an operating agreement that protects your business and personal assets.

If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, you are on the right track! If you can’t, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams. Passion isn’t often enough to get you through, but it might be enough to get you started!

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