Reality Check: I’m Thinking of Starting My Own Business

Have you ever been out with friends and during your conversation, an idea comes to you? Maybe you’re lying in bed at night before falling asleep and a thought crosses your mind that you believe could be a great business. We’ve all heard the stories. Popular belief tells us that this is how most great companies are started. Someone has an idea and then-boom! – the next Facebook is born.

The reality, however, is much more complex. There are many steps that must be taken, and questions that you need to answer before you fully dive into starting your business. First, are you fully committed? “Running your own business is different than working at a job,” Varun Sadana, Vice President of The Launch Place says. “You are always on call. It becomes your life.” The commitment is a financial one, as well. ‘Can you go a few months without a steady paycheck?’ is a question Sadana says someone needs to ask themselves when considering moving forward with starting their own business. The business owner themselves are not the only ones who have to take on this commitment. If you have a family, one must consider the impact on them, as well.

If you can truthfully clear that hurdle, the next step is brainstorming. It’s time to get honest feedback on your idea or concept. “I’m of the belief that you need to talk about your business, rather than keeping it to yourself, and of course don’t share your secret sauce,” says Sadana. “Start with your family and friends first, and then branch out to your colleagues to see what they think about it.” You also need to have a brutally honest self-assessment of whether this is the right thing for you to do. Just because you like to cook doesn’t mean you should run a restaurant, for example.

Another point Sadana believes is very important is that you like what it is you are planning to do. Again, this will become your life. There will be many long days and nights, but if you’re doing something you like and are truly passionate about, it will help you make it through. Kelly Fitzgerald, Marketing Director for The Launch Place, also believes this is when being honest about your own skill set is very important. “For example,” she says, “you may be a great cook, but your management skills are not as high. You really need to identify someone to take on that organizational management piece. Be honest with yourself. What are my skill sets?”

A final thing to consider is your risk tolerance, whether or not you can afford to allocate your time, money and resources for this business to succeed. The statistics are not favorable and most new businesses fail in the first few years of operation. It’s unfortunate, but true. Any new business requires a significant investment, but do you really want to invest your time and money into this business? Or better yet, should you? These are questions you will need to think about before deciding to move forward.

If you are ready to commit and have overcome these initial realities, next month, we will outline the steps to take on your path to starting a business.