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What Everyone Needs to Consider Before Becoming a Business Owner


The idea of owning a business can be very attractive for a lot of reasons. For starters, being self-employed can be very liberating in many ways, and it’s nice to feel like you’re in charge of your working day. Then there is the feeling of satisfaction and achievement when you start to see your business becoming more and more successful as the years go by. It’s an opportunity to create a legacy and leave your mark on the world, and these ideas are incredibly attractive to someone who wants more than your average 9-to-5 career. 

Yes, business ownership can be a very exciting venture and an opportunity to challenge yourself and prove your talents – but it can also be a big gamble and comes with a lot of pressure. 

If you have been dreaming of establishing a business and are starting to take these ideas more seriously, it is important that you carefully consider the pros and cons of entrepreneurship and whether or not this path is the right one for you. Below are some of the key things to think about before you decide whether business ownership is right for you,and how to determine if you are in the right position for this currently or not.

What Sacrifices Are You Willing to Make?

Forget about whether or not your business idea is a good one for now – the more important question to ask yourself before deciding on business ownership is what sacrifices you are willing to make this happen. In the early years of your start-up company, you will likely have to spend a lot of time at the office or doing what you can to promote your brand and drive sales. It’s important to remember that a work/life balance is still essential for your well-being, but you do need to be prepared to make some sacrifices if you want to give your all to make your business work. This could be less time socializing with friends and family, cutting back on expenses to help you financially support your budding business, doing some extra hours at the office each day, or working on weekends to make sure your business goals are met. 

These sacrifices might not sound like much when written down, but you do need to take the time to truly think about what this would mean for you and how it would change your current lifestyle. If you are not willing to make these sacrifices or feel as though this kind of pressure would be too much for you, then perhaps you should think twice about taking on such a big responsibility.

Are You in a Good Position to Take This On?

If you feel that you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to help your business thrive, the next thing you need to figure out is whether or not this is the right time for you to move ahead with your plans. One of the main things to consider is your financial position; if you are planning to give up your current job to start a new company, you’ll need to make sure you have enough saved up to cover the decrease in income, even if you are planning to give yourself a salary from the very beginning. Your credit score is also important, as this will be checked by your bank when you apply for a business loan. When you do apply for a loan, consider how big a sum of money you will borrow and whether these monthly repayments are manageable for you. Ideally, you will be paying this back through the business sales anyway, but you must make sure that this is something you can afford out of your own pocket in case the first few years aren’t as profitable as you had hoped. If you do have money saved, can some of this be used to partly fund your business idea? 

In addition to making sure you are in a good financial position to take on this responsibility, you should also consider other factors in your life that could impact your ability to start a new business. For example, are there any health issues you or someone close to you has that may affect how much time you have to dedicate to your new venture? Or are there any other commitments you are tied to at this time in life that could make starting a new business more challenging? You want to know that you are in the best possible position you can be before moving ahead with your business plans so that you are reducing stress and potential obstacles that will make this journey more difficult for you.

Are You the Right Person for the Job?

Although business ownership is an exciting prospect, the reality is that not everyone is suitable for this role. It is a lot of pressure to make a business successful, and there will be factors outside of your control that can make things more challenging for you. Therefore, a successful business owner needs to be someone who can work under pressure, have creative thinking skills, and excels at problem-solving. You will also need to be good at managing budgets and making smart investments, and have strong communication skills as well. You must also be a confident leader that can inspire your team members and treat them with the respect that they deserve, helping to keep morale high for the best possible working environment. 

You’ll also need to be good at public speaking and making presentations, whether that is talking to your teams about the direction you want the company to go in and how they can help achieve these goals, or speaking to clients and customers to convince them that your business is the one that they should choose. You might also have to present your case to any potential investors if you’re seeking funding from them, or perhaps reach out to other businesses to see if they would be willing to collaborate on a project with you. 

As a business owner, you’ll need to be organized and efficient, leading by example at all times. These are just a few of the essential skills you will need if you want to be a successful business owner, so take the time to think about whether or not you are the kind of person who can take on this role and succeed in it.

Have You Done Your Research?

If you are confident that you are someone who would make a good business owner and that you are in the right position to give your business idea a chance, the next thing you need to do is plenty of market research. Your idea might seem brilliant to you and the friends and relatives you have spoken to about it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of the world will agree. You need to make sure that this is a good time for your business to enter the marketplace, and finding out whether there will be a demand for your products and services is key. If there are already countless companies offering the same thing as you, this can make things more difficult, as the market will already be saturated, leaving your business at risk of fading into the background. However, if your business idea is too obscure and niche, this could also make it difficult to find the right customer base for what you’re trying to sell. 

This is why market research is so vital, as it’s an opportunity to better understand consumer activities and what they want now and might want in the future. This knowledge will allow you to develop your business idea so that it has the best possible chance of attracting customers and being successful in a competitive environment. It’s also an opportunity to assess your competitors and figure out how you can make your brand stand out from the crowd. All of the research you use to determine if your business idea is viable or not can then be used to help you develop business branding and write your plan before you start applying for loans, etc.

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Are There Any Gaps in Your Knowledge?

Even if you have years of previous work experience in the industry you want to start a business in, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right knowledge to run one. Working in managerial and senior roles will certainly help, but you might want to consider learning some new skills that are directly business-orientated to help you have more confidence in your abilities and the right knowledge to make your business successful. Think about taking a course in business management or administration or a similar discipline, as these programs can offer a wealth of knowledge that will be invaluable to you as a business owner. If you already have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, think about taking a course such as this online MBA. Studying online can be a more flexible approach to learning too, and this might be more suitable for you if you want to fit your studies around your current job or other commitments that you might have.

How Much Help Will You Need?

When you are starting a new business, there will be plenty of important tasks to take on, but if you are trying to keep those initial overheads low, then hiring a big team of employees might not be feasible at this stage. In some cases, small business owners might manage alone but this depends a great deal on what kind of business you are running and the scale of your operations. Even with a micro-company, between taking care of business finances, marketing, developing products, handling customer service, etc., this can quickly become overwhelming. Don’t assume that you can do everything by yourself, and think about how much help you will need to allow you to enjoy a reasonable work/life balance while giving your business the attention it needs to flourish. 

You may want to budget to hire at least one part-time staff member to help you manage some of your weekly tasks to help alleviate some of the pressure, and there will be a lot of it in those first few years. As your business expands, you can then start to think about introducing more team members as you become more confident that you can pay their wages. Alternatively, think about hiring freelancers to help you with some of your tasks, whether that is someone writing content for your website and social media, developing your business branding, marketing, customer service, and so on. This can sometimes be a more cost-effective approach if you are reluctant to employ someone for a set number of hours each week.

Is This Something That You Truly Want?

This is the most important question to ask yourself when you are contemplating business ownership. No matter what, this will be one of the most challenging undertakings of your life and there will be many sacrifices and stressful days ahead. If this is something that you truly want and are passionate about, that can be enough to make it all worthwhile, but if this is more of a passing fancy, you might want to think twice about moving forward with a venture like this. Business ownership is always something that you need to be serious about, as the time, energy, and money that goes into making it a success is a high price to pay. You may also not get the results you want, and not all businesses make it through those first few years, which is why taking this kind of risk in terms of your finances and your career shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Deciding to become a business owner could be one of the best decisions you ever make in your life, and you’ll look back feeling proud that you took the risk. However, a lot is at stake when you do choose to follow through with your entrepreneurial dreams, and times will get tough along the journey. This is why it is so important for you to carefully consider the points above to help you determine whether or not this is the right choice for you at this time in your life.

Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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