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Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making the Leap Into Business Ownership

If you don’t find yourself nodding along in agreement with the answers to these soul-searching questions, it’s ok to take a step back before diving into business ownership.

Am I passionate about being my own boss?

For a lot of business owners, this is one of their primary drivers for going into business. They have always felt they were destined to be their own boss. Never forget that comes with all the stress and headaches of being the one and only person to call the shots, so make sure being the boss is something you want for the long haul.

Am I willing to embrace risks?

Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. Every decision you make, like leaving your job, signing a lease, and obtaining the funding, will be both exhilarating and terrifying because there are no guarantees of success, let alone a steady paycheck. If you’re thoroughly risk-averse, starting a business may be the wrong path.

Am I capable of making tough decisions?

Being a business owner is signing up to make endless decisions. From the start, you will be faced with important questions on topics like funding options, leasing space, hiring employees, entity types, marketing, equipment, and more. You must have the confidence to pull the trigger on these important, business-shaping decisions.

Am I willing to take on numerous responsibilities?

You might not be able to focus entirely on the aspects of your business you’re the most passionate about. You’ll need to be willing to jump in and be head of sales, CFO, and invoice specialist, to keep your business running. In the early stages, you’ll be doing a little bit of everything until you can grow your business and hire employees. You need to be okay with wearing all the proverbial hats for the first few years you are in business.

Will I be able to handle stress and avoid burnout?

When it’s all on you to make the business succeed, it can feel like a very heavy load. The determined business owner may need to work seven days a week, cutting out hobbies, and missing out on time with loved ones. The key is managing the stress and avoiding burning yourself out — if you lose your passion for entrepreneurship, your business can start to suffer.

Am I comfortable taking personal responsibility?

It’s a common saying: “The best part about owning a business is you’re in charge; the worst part about being a business owner is you’re in charge.” As the boss, everything rolls back up to you. When there’s a bad customer experience, you can’t blame it on your employee. When a shipment is late, you can’t blame your software. You will be required to take responsibility for everything — both good and bad.

Is my only motivation money?

Without a doubt, part of the motivation for starting a business is being able to reap all the rewards of your success. However, it’s important that seeking riches isn’t your only motivation — plenty of people are unsuccessful in this pursuit. If money is all that motivates you, you may find it hard to push through the trying times when there is no big payday in sight.

Am I organized enough?

Are you the kind of person that has piles of mail and papers sitting around your desk and home? Does tax season strike fear in your heart? When you become a business owner, you must be organized. Payroll must be submitted on time or employees don’t get paid. Taxes and other regulatory paperwork must be filed on time, or you will have to pay fines. Procrastination and disorganization are major threats to your business and its success.

While you don’t have to keep a meticulous calendar or color code every piece of paper, you do need to be able to maintain a system that allows you to get things done promptly.

Am I willing to use and develop a support network?

Successful business owners lean on each other for support and advice. It’s normal to start in business without much of a support network, but it’s important you’re willing to build one. Going into business for yourself shouldn’t mean being in business by yourself.

Can I leave my comfort zone?

We all have our comfort zones. Some are comfortable staring at spreadsheets; others are at their best when networking. Depending on your comfort zone, some activities might terrify you. If the thought of leaving your comfort zone is so paralyzing that you can’t act, you will find it hard to wear different hats as the boss or to get out into the world and build your network.

Should I bring on a business partner?

If you’ve been answering the above questions in a way that’s leading you to reconsider starting your own business, don’t give up yet. Bringing in a partner who is strong in the areas you know you’re weak in can be a great way to set yourself up for success in business.

If you choose to bring a partner on, it’s important that you both have a shared vision. While a partnership is meant to help with your weakness and vice versa, a partnership won’t work if you collectively can’t make decisions for where the business needs to go.

If you’re still not sure if you’re cut out to be a business owner, take some time to work on the areas you will need to be successful. Keep educating yourself about the journey to owning a triumphant business.

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