Being an entrepreneur is an exciting prospect for many people, but it’s also a high-risk occupation. We’ve come up a with a few questions to consider before you take the plunge and launch your own business. For a more in-depth idea of what goes into building a business, download our How to Write a Business Plan ebook.
1. Why do you want to start a business?
If your answer to this question is “I hate my job,” “I hate my boss,” or “I need a change,” then you should reconsider starting a business. Those are all good reasons to look for a new job or consider a different career path, but not to take on the risk and responsibility associated with starting a business. If you’re answer is something more like “I’m an expert in my field, I’ve got an idea that solves a problem and I’ve done my research,” then you’re on the right track.
2. Do you have a problem?
You can’t have a business without a problem, specifically a consumer problem. Does your idea address a specific need? Whose? The fundamental questions of what your product or service does and for whom, will form the basis for your business. You can’t start a business based on a vague “idea” or “market.” You need to offer unique value to your customers. Make sure you know exactly what this is before you launch anything.
3. Are you passionate?
Building a company is a long term effort, a lifetime in some cases. The road is not always easy, and it’s your passion and motivation that will keep you searching for solutions and plugging away when the going gets tough. When you start your own business, you’re trading in your 9-5 job for a 24/7 occupation--and if you love what you do, you won’t feel like you’re working.
4. Are you disciplined?
There’s a romantic image of the entrepreneur toiling away late into the night, putting all her energy into building a successful business. The reality is, if you don’t make time for exercise, a healthy diet and most important of all, sleep, you can kiss your dreams of long-term success goodbye. Growing a company requires exceptional time-management skills. You’ll need them to get your business goals accomplished and ensure that you carve out time for the other things in your life, like, you know, your family, friends, sleeping in on the occasional Sunday morning...
5. Do you know what you’re doing?
Ever heard the saying, “Write what you know?” The same holds true for business. It’s hard to envision obstacles and solutions for overcoming them when you have no idea what you’re doing. It’s hard to convince investors to believe in you if you come across as a novice. And it’s difficult to stay motivated when you feel lost at every turn. Many successful entrepreneurs spend years accumulating experience in an industry or honing specific business skills before deciding to the cut the connection with the stability of the good ol’ 9 to 5.
6. Have you done your research?
It’s one thing to dream up a company in your head and quite another to build one in the real world. Second in importance only to having an idea that solves a real consumer problem, is market research and financial planning. How big is the market for your product(s)? Who are your competitors? What kind of financial investment will you have to make - are you able to make? Don’t let these questions extinguish the burning desire you have to start a company; they’re simply there to make sure you don’t burn out before you have a chance to succeed.
Whether you’re ready to quit your day job and join the ranks of PrestaShop’s entrepreneurial community or still trying to figure out if running a company is really your thing, our ebook How to Write a Business plan will get you asking the right questions.