It seems that everyone one looks these days, experts are touting the benefits of owning your own business. Business ownership definitely has its upsides. Dreaming about leaving the rat race and doing your own thing often sounds like the answer to all world work hassles, and there’s a reason for that.
- Working for “the man” means you follow his schedule; working for yourself means you make your own
- Working for an employer often limits your income; working for yourself gives you the freedom to pay yourself more
- Working for an employer means your employer dictates your responsibilities, your hours, your vacation days, and most all of what happens for 1/3 of your life; working for yourself conjures up images of freedom and spontaneous days at the beach
Joe of Stacking Benjamins said in his Entrepreneurial Success Story that “too many people think ‘set your own hours’ means ‘rarely work’ “. Business ownership does have the potential for the freedom to set your own hours; however, before you start on a business venture, there are some other things you might want to consider before starting a business.
What You Need to Know Before You Start a Business
Starting and owning a successful business nearly always means working your tail off for hours on end for months and months. TV infomercials are plagued by suntanned, good-looking, well-dressed “business owners” who supposedly make millions a year by doing next to nothing. It’s not my place to discount their stories, but out of the hundreds of business owners I’ve gotten to know, and having run several businesses of my own, I have yet to meet the person or have my own experience of making a decent income on 3 hours a day worth of work. To the contrary, every business owner I’ve ever met has emphasized how very, very hard they work to make and keep their business a success. It’s easy to look at a successful business person and see the freedom and the income they have, but what we often don’t see is the months and years’ worth of work behind that success. Subsequently, it’s a good idea to be prepared for many months (and sometimes years) of long hours before that business success comes.
The Monetary Impact
Most all businesses cost at least some money to start up, and some cost lots of money to start up. Have you considered the monetary cost of your business idea? Also, will you be able to successfully get your business off of the ground and still work your day job? If not, how will you support yourself (and/or a family) in the interim? The monetary impact of a business should not be taken lightly. Do the research to determine how much your business startup will cost, and then add another 20% on top of that for a cushion on that estimate.
From there, determine if you have the money available to both start your business properly and to support yourself in the meantime.
The Sales Aspect
Regardless of what kind of a business you start, if you’re going to properly promote your business, you’re going to have to become a bit of a salesperson. The product or service you’re promoting can’t be sold if there’s no one to market it. One man I spoke to 5 years ago was considering starting his own business after a job layoff. Then his insurance agent gave him this advice:
“When I went into the insurance business, I spent the first 9 months knocking on doors for 12 hours a day. I have a successful business now, but those 9 months of trying to sell my services were the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. Don’t start your own business unless you’re prepared to become a salesman.”
The man who’d lost his job, knowing he wasn’t a salesperson, decided right then and there that he was happier being an employee than he would be as a business owner. If sales aren’t your thing, either reconsider your dream of owning a business or find a partner who will take on the sales aspect of the business for you.
The Rejection Aspect
For all of those doors you knock on as you work to sell your service or product, you’ll likely get about a 3% success rate. Part of being a good salesperson is being able to brush rejection off and get moving again. As John Wayne once said,
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
Part of running a successful business means putting aside those fears of rejection and keeping on with promoting your business, even after a hundred “no’s”.
In order for a business to have the best chance of succeeding, the business owner needs to know before he or she starts what to expect. They also need to know that when owning a business, things rarely go according to plan. By remembering this truth, and taking heed of the 4 aspects of owning a business listed above, you can help ensure your business plan is on solid footing before you take the plunge into business ownership.