Is the timing right and have you got what it takes to leave your job behind to chase your business dreams? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide.
Whether you’re running a side hustle after hours or you’ve been planning a business venture you’re waiting to launch, the decision to leave the day job that keeps the lights on and food on the able should not be taken lightly.
Firstly, what is your reason for wanting to be your own boss? Are you fed up with your current situation and looking for a quick way out?
If your answer is yes, you should explore changing jobs, industries or companies before you abandon your career. Being an entrepreneur is certainly not the easier or less stressful route.
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Perhaps all you need is a change of environment to reignite the passion you once had for your work? If it’s less pressure and more money you seek, starting a business probably isn’t the way to get it.
But, if you are running towards entrepreneurship, rather than away from a corporate job, you’ll want to have a few of the basics covered before you take the next steps.
Ask yourself these five questions:
1. Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?
There’s mixed opinion about whether entrepreneurs are born or made. For some people, starting a business feels like a natural calling, while others thrive as a cog in someone else’s machine. Which of these characters best describes you?
- Seek help and guidance from their boss to solve a problem.
- Choose the safer, predictable route.
- Are often specialists.
- Thrive in stable, structured, secure environments.
- Work hard to make money and be promoted.
- Ask "what?"
- Find solutions to problems they encounter.
- Take calculated risks.
- Are curious and decisive.
- See failures as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Innovate and strategise.
- Are driven by passion and desire to make an impact.
- Tend to be generalists, knowing a little bit about many different things.
- Ask "why?"
2. Can you sell?
Starting and growing a business requires a lot of selling. Selling your offering to your customers, suppliers and partners; selling employment opportunities to new recruits; selling your vision to investors and funders … you need to be comfortable asking others to buy from you. You also need to have thick skin because you are going to hear "no" many times along the way.
3. Has your business got legs?
How far have you taken the idea you have for a business? You should start developing the idea (a business plan is a great way to do this) before you quit your job. Make sure there is a viable market for your product or service, work out what it will cost to get up and running, forecast how much income you’ll generate and by when, look at trends, study the competitors, assess the risks and establish a realistic timeline.
4. Are you willing to make some big sacrifices?
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey – and a difficult one at that. For most business owners holidays, support staff and work-life balance are a rare luxury.
The early days, especially, are daunting. Expect and prepare to work longer hours than you’ve ever worked, perform multiple roles, change direction and adapt plans regularly, earn little to no money and make many mistakes. It will take grit, determination, resilience, commitment and tapping into all the passion you have for solving the problem you’ve identified to keep going.
5. Have you saved up enough money?
This is a biggie! Very few start-ups make a lot of money from the beginning. It can take months to generate consistent revenue so you will need to dig into your savings to cover your personal expenses. Six months’ worth is good, but a year is better!
And, if your start-up and operating costs are high, you’ll need enough to cover the business expenses too. Cash flow is one of the main reasons so many start-ups fail.
Now, if you answered "yes" to the five questions above, what is standing in your way? Don’t let fear stop you from following your goals of becoming an entrepreneur. Just make sure you have done your homework on the potential your business has, that you’ve got a healthy “rainy day” fund, and that you’re ready for the challenges ahead.