If one of your new year’s resolutions was to finally start the business you’ve been dreaming of, you’re not alone. Take a look at most major industries and you’ll find an upswing in the use of freelancers, contractors, and small businesses as consultants. This is possible because people like you have decided to go it alone and chase the freedom, creativity, and excitement that come with self-employment, entrepreneurship, and owning a business.
Stepping out of the office and into small business ownership is a big move. You’ve probably put it off for a while now, wondering whether or not you were truly ready. There’s a lot that goes into starting a business from the ground up. If you’re seriously contemplating making the move soon, you’ve probably done a lot of research, talked to people who are doing it already, and networked with potential partners or customers to find out what you can add to the market. And if you haven’t done these things, well, you’ll need to get on that.
Also, you’ll need to ask yourself if you are mentally and emotionally ready. That means you can check off the following boxes with certainty.
- You’re independent, can take initiative, and deal with uncertainty.
- You’re a problem solver and are flexible in your solutions.
- You’re motivated and see opportunities in every experience.
- You’re organized and have great time and project management skills.
- You truly understand the time, money, and sacrifice it takes to start a business.
- You can be a boss.
If you’ve checked everything off, it may feel like you’re ready. But wait. There are a few more things to think about. We’ve put together this guide to help you decide if you should, in fact, start your own business, to know when your idea is ready, and how to take some of the first steps toward your big dream.
Signs That You Should Start Your Own Business
You’re feeling stuck and can’t imagine staying at your job for much longer
This is probably the number one reason people start thinking about going into business for themselves. They can’t imagine grinding away at their nine-to-five for one more day. You could get a new job, but then you’ll wind up right where you left off. Instead, starting your own business might be the answer. Of course, it takes more than hating your job to become an entrepreneur. So keep reading.
You’ve thought of an idea that you’re passionate about
Most businesses aren’t started on a whim. You’ve got an idea that you think can change the world and revolutionize the industry. You’ve been thinking about this idea for a long time. Not days or weeks, but months and probably years.
You can afford to try and fail
Starting a business takes time and money. You’re going to need both. If you have time and not money, start saving and don’t start your business yet. It’s true that most new businesses fail, so have a financial backup plan. And while you don’t want to plan to fail, know that it’s a possibility. Also, bonus points to you if the economy would positively support your idea right now. That means the market isn’t already flooded with what you have to offer.
Not going through major life changes
Starting a new business while expecting a new baby, moving to a new city, planning a wedding, taking care of a parent in hospice, or getting a divorce will be difficult. Even more difficult than starting a business when you’re not going through a major life change. Now, you can’t predict what will happen in the future while you’re getting the business going, but consider if you’ve really got the time and space in your life to start right now.
You actually want to do it
When you think about your possible business, you smile. You’re excited to work on your business plans. It doesn’t seem that difficult. Wanting to get your idea out there is a great motivator and sign that you’re ready to start your own business.
Indications That Your Idea Is Ready
Your idea does it better
Your business should solve some sort of problem. It should fill a hole in the market. Your idea should be uniquely you and should be something you need and use frequently. Ultimately, your idea should be the best one if its kind out there. Or better yet, the only one of its kind.
You have thought out every aspect of your idea
If your business idea is something tangible, you’ve created prototypes, tested them, and received user feedback from people who are not your family or close friends. You’ve considered every design feature and aspect of usability. You’ve anticipated every problem that could go wrong and made sure to fix it. You can answer every question someone throws at you about the business and idea.
You’ve planned marketing and distribution
You’ve got a logo, branding, and marketing all figured out. You know how to find your target audience and show them why they need your idea. The business aspects of your idea are firm. That means you understand cost, you’ve looked at product vendors, you have manufacturing timetables, you can predict what issues might come up that are out of your hands. Packaging and shipping are not problems because you’ve got the materials and the plan for that, too.
Taking Your First Steps Toward Starting a Business
Discuss with your family
If you have no one who is financially, emotionally, or developmentally dependent on you, skip this step. If you have a family, you need to talk to them first. They need to share your vision and dream and support you totally. They need to understand the time and money it takes to create a successful business. You all need to imagine how this big change will impact the family on a day-to-day and a long-term basis.
Create a detailed business plan
Too many small businesses, especially contractors and consultants, start without a business plan. This document is extremely important in planning the future of your business and thinking through any possible road bumps. Don’t skip it. A basic business plan includes an explanation of your concept, a market analysis that looks at both your audience and your competition, a detailed strategy plan for launching and implementation, a financial report that lays out how things get paid for, and an organization or structure chart explaining how your business will be formed and run.
Use a CPA or financial planner
When you work for an employer, they pull taxes out of your paycheck. When you own a business or work as a contractor, you’re in charge of all of that. Your taxes will never look the same again. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing when it comes to business taxes and financial planning. This is one expense you won’t regret.
Reach out to people who are self-employed
Talk to the people in your network who own their own business or work as freelancers. Ask them how they got started, how they felt in their first few years, and when and if life ever settled down for them. People who are already in the game can offer you a unique perspective about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to starting and growing a business. Lean on them for sound advice.
If your mind is right, your idea is on point, and you’re ready to take the first steps toward starting your own business, congratulations! If not, don’t rush it. Your idea will be there when you are ready. Your heart and soul, along with your time and money, need to be totally open and invested in your new business. Take the time to decide when it’s the best time and then throw yourself into creating the business of your dreams.