Perhaps the most important first step to opening your own small business, maybe before even choosing the service you will provide or product you will create, is being sure entrepreneurship is really for you. The Small Business Association suggests you ask yourself the following questions:
Am I comfortable taking risks? Can you function in uncertainty? Do you need the security of a daily routine? Of normal working hours or a regular paycheck? Can you put your business first, putting the rest of your life in the backseat for a while? Will you be ok, emotionally and financially, if you do not succeed?
Am I Independent? Can you make decisions on the spot? Do you have the confidence to trust your instincts? To research and educate yourself as needed? Can you handle rejection? Remember, you will be the boss. There will be no one but yourself to blame for mistakes. No one else to blame for policies you must enforce, even when customers do not like them.
Am I Persuasive? Are you comfortable talking to strangers? Are you articulate, easily able to express your thoughts and ideas? Will you be comfortable engaging potential clients and effectively sell them on your service or product?
Am I Creative? Can you think outside of the box to solve problems? Will you be able to grow and change the business as demand changes?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you may be a good candidate for self-employment, and should move on to the next most vital step. The success or failure of most small businesses can be attributed to what does or does not happen before the doors ever open – the planning.
SBA.gov offers many good articles to set you on the proper path to business ownership. Their article, 20 Questions Before Starting, offers great issues that you should think through and may need to plan for. It’s not necessary to have all the answers right away, and depending on the type of business you open, not all of the items mentioned may be necessary. Even so, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the types of things often considered when opening a new business.
I owned my own home based business for several years which allowed me to home school my children during the awkward middle school years, and have assisted several family members and friends to open small businesses to include landscaping, child care, house cleaning, and ‘doggy doo’ yard cleaning services. We would all agree and advise you that self-employment can be a wonderfully exciting, frustrating, and rewarding experience.
If you’ve answered the questions above positively, and reading the other 20 items for consideration didn’t scare you off, take a deep breath and dive in!