There are many paths to becoming an entrepreneur. Some find the zest for building their own business at an early age and pursue one venture after another to fuel their independence and self-reliance. Others’ are born from following their passions, such as fitness and nutrition, and a dedication to helping others live their best and healthiest lives. Some entrepreneurs are created through a desire to take control of their financial future following a third or fourth act. Regardless of the path that brings you there, here are the top things all small business owners should ask themselves:
Do you know yourself?
Are you the kind of person that puts heart and soul into a business endeavor and can work day and night to see it succeed, or are you more comfortable having a steady paycheck and getting benefits, such as paid vacation? Many entrepreneurs choose to start their own business with a company that provides a built-in support system and tools to help them get started.
Do you have support from your life partner?
Whether from a spouse, life partner, or family member, having support is critical. Can your partner support the family while you are in the start-up phase or go back to work? Not being in sync with your loved ones can create friction in any relationship, especially during a start-up venture.
Do you know your financial health?
Have you saved money or do you have enough financial resources to help with initial costs? There are many great resources to help you become a financially savvy business owner.
Do you possess grit?
Being your own boss has many rewards, such as setting your hours and not having to answer to someone else. But it also takes a certain amount of resilience and grit to withstand downturns and hold yourself accountable. Can you face uncertainty? Do you come back from rejection with a greater sense of purpose and commitment?
Should you go into business with a partner?
All partnerships, like marriages, start with a halo of excitement, and then reality sets in. If you are going into business with a partner, choose wisely and for the long term. Ask yourself if they bring value to the partnership — i.e. start-up funds or reputation in your industry? Can they open doors to customers? Are they the type of colleague that will roll up their sleeves and do the work? Understand what each of you brings to the company and delineate roles and responsibilities in advance, so no one is surprised or disappointed with the other’s level of contribution.
Have you built a community?
As amazing as it is to go out on your own, it is critical to build a support system. In addition to family and friends, you’ll likely need to refer business to others in your industry, seek advice, and network. There are numerous industry and business organizations to consider, from your local Chamber of Commerce to groups that provide leads.
Are you an expert?
When you start on your own business, you need to be an expert in your category. If you are launching a pet business, you need to be up on all the trends and information about our four-legged friends. People will use your business not only because you are reasonable and fair, but also because you offer a value that they can’t get from others in your field.
Do you know how to hire?
Hiring is one of the most important roles you will have. Make sure you hire to fill a need and truly understand the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes small business owners hire family or friends at the beginning, which can yield mixed results. Read everything you can about how to hire someone who adds value to your growing company.
Are you a good listener?
Many entrepreneurs are indeed passionate about their area of focus and can wax poetic about their craft. But it is critical that you listen and learn from your customers and demonstrate that you value their feedback, and then adjust based on their insights.
Can you fail fast?
We all make mistakes, especially small businesses. Whether ordering too much or too little or remaining too long with a poor supplier or not adjusting to market conditions — business downturns are inevitable. Entrepreneurs’ crucial skill is to make mistakes, learn from them, and move quickly forward. It is the lack of action or awareness that trips up many start-ups.
Entrepreneurship is the backbone of the world of business. The idea of “hanging your shingle” appeals to many people eager for more autonomy and control of their business life. Before you leap, ask yourself these questions, and if you move ahead, get ready for an exciting, never-dull, and rewarding journey.
The post The Entrepreneur 10: Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs to Ask appeared first on Home Business Magazine.