When asked about the entrepreneurial journey, Richard Hoad, co-owner of the Parsonage Inn in East Orleans, Massachusetts, says, “There’s a lot of things you have to think about, but just say ‘yes, I’m going to do it.’” Hoad’s advice is sage wisdom for anyone thinking of starting out in his or her own business. While it’s true business ownership is a lot of work, it’s worth it — sometimes you just have to jump in and get started.
The ‘getting started’ step is often the most difficult for hopeful entrepreneurs. It’s easy to feel discouraged by the overwhelming amount of information and possibilities laid in front of you. Just like many other goals, it can be temping to say, “I’ll start tomorrow” or “maybe when I’m ready,” but how do you know the timing will ever be right?
The list below offers insight as to when the timing may be right for you to leave your comfort zone and enter the world of entrepreneurship. If you find yourself nodding along, you’re ready to make the leap.
1. You are Passionate
No one who has experienced entrepreneurship first-hand will tell you it’s easy. In fact, they probably have a multitude of examples supporting the opposite point. However, entrepreneurs are significantly happier than their counterparts who are climbing the corporate ladder. Contributing to this happiness is that business owners are living out their passion. Whether it’s a product they’ve developed or enjoying more work-life balance, they have a passion for entrepreneurship. See if you identify with these statements:
You have an idea you can’t stop thinking about.
Maybe you have a hobby you’d like to expand from your garage to Main Street or there’s a product on the market you’re sure can be improved. If it’s on your mind constantly, it’s a great sign you’re ready for a change, no matter what your venture idea is.
You’re ready to be your own boss and tired of corporate life.
Corporate life can provide a great foundation for entrepreneurship, but it can also be suffocating for those who want more creative freedom and independence over their career. A good way to test how you’re really feeling is to ask yourself if you want your boss’s job, or for that matter, anyone’s job in the company. If the answer is ‘no,’ striking out on your own may be more appealing.
You have a support system.
Launching your own venture can eventually lead to more “life” in your work-life balance, but for the first year or two, when things are getting off the ground, the business may be your top priority. It’s crucial to have those closest to you onboard and in full support of your entrepreneurial journey. Having a business mentor or group of professionals you can lean on in times of need can also help you stay on track.
2. You’re Business-Minded
A surprising lesson from successful business owners is you don’t necessarily need to be the smartest person in the room to launch a great company. Business-savvy, however, is something that cannot be substituted — particularly these traits:
You’re comfortable in a leadership role.
Even if you’re not someone who loves the sound of their own voice, you need to be able to step up when the time calls. Whether you’re speaking in front of a group of employees, presenting to investors or making a call to a supplier, you must have confidence in yourself. This includes the ability to make the final call on important decisions.
You’re willing to get your hands dirty and delegate.
Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit sometimes means doing whatever it takes to keep the lights on, from burning the midnight oil working on a presentation to taking out the trash. Thinking you’re too important for any job won’t serve you well and won’t send the right message to your staff. However, as your business continues to grow, you also need to be able to switch gears and delegate work as needed — put faith in your employees to work independently and do the jobs they were hired to do.
3. You Put Finances First
According to Entrepreneur.com, business owners should be
obsessed with cash flow. Why? No matter how great of a leader you are and how fantastic your ideas are, if the money isn’t there, the business will flounder. Fiscally responsible business owners share these traits:
You research all funding options.
The funding you choose will have a long-term impact on your business. For example, when choosing between traditional loan financing and equity financing, you determine whether your business will start out in debt or not. There’s no one-size-fits all answer for small business owners, but the successful entrepreneurs do their due diligence to research all options before moving forward.
Knowing when to spend and when to save makes the money management aspect of entrepreneurship a lot more, well, manageable. This doesn’t necessarily mean being ‘cheap,’ but creating efficient budgets and sticking to them can make all the difference in keeping a new business afloat in the first few years. There are also times during your journey as a business owner that you may be required to take a risk or make a big investment, but having a level head about money will enable you to make those decisions when the time is right.
If you’re a savvy businessperson with a passion for entrepreneurship and a straightforward outlook on how to manage finances, chances are you’re ready for the next step in achieving your dreams of business ownership.