Have you ever considered going into business for yourself? There are lots of reasons to explore starting your own business. Maybe you are looking for more flexibility in your life. Maybe you want to earn more income than your current job would pay. Maybe you have a new idea or a way to improve on an old idea that you can’t stop thinking about. Whatever the reason, if you’ve considered it, make sure to do your due diligence before jumping in.
We are lucky enough to work with dozens of successful business owners in a range of industries. Some started with an idea and built a business from the ground up, while others bought an existing business that they knew they could improve on. Some have grown to employ hundreds of people, while others are one person operations. From all the stories we’ve heard over the years we compiled a few suggestions to consider if you find yourself pursuing this path.
Three places to start
- Talk to someone who is already doing it: Existing business owners are the largest repository of knowledge on the planet on what to do, and not to do, when starting a business. The closer they are to the type of business you want to start the better, but many lessons easily translate across industries. You can learn more from a few hours with a business owner than any book, plus get the “why” behind their decisions. You don’t have to follow all their advice, but we can’t stress enough the importance of avoiding a critical mistake early on.
- Talk with your family and friends: Everyone knows starting a business is hard, but not everyone realizes the strain it can put on your time, finances, and relationships in the early years. It is critical that your spouse or other close family members are on board. Owning a business can be lonely at times and having someone to talk to about the challenges is key to staying sane. Getting your business off the ground might entail a change of lifestyle, both financially and socially, that has to be approached with clear eyes.
- Determine how much can be done without leaving your current job: The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that 20% of businesses don’t make it two years, 45% don’t make it five, and 65% don’t make it ten. That makes for risky odds which tends to keep people from starting in the first place. Can you get your business off the ground without risking your financial security? Clearly this isn’t possible in industries like manufacturing, but for knowledge or service-based companies it can provide a real leg up. Giving yourself time to refine your ideas, slowly build a customer base, and create more efficient processes before you attempt to grow can significantly improve your odds of survival.
If, after going through these three steps, you still want to move forward, it might be time to dig another layer deeper. Try a dry run of a business plan, start a conversation with the professionals you use (CPA, Attorney, Financial Advisor, etc.), and develop a timeline to help you stay focused and moving forward. We have a checklist filled with other questions to ask and issues to think about along the way that you can find on our website HERE.
If we can help, please give us a call.