Starting a business is exciting and nerve-wracking. Doing it right will mean taking on a lot of responsibilities and making a lot of sacrifices. It will also mean working harder than you ever have before…but you knew that already, didn’t you?
For these reasons (among others), running a business is not for everyone. If you don’t have the right skills work ethic and commitment to operate a business, you’ll be in trouble before you make your first sale.
So, before you start planning your e-commerce business, you need to take a hard look at yourself, your family, and your finances, and give honest answers to some very important questions.
Don’t worry if you find that a few of the questions reveal doubts or weaknesses, nobody’s a perfect match for any profession. If, however, you find most of the questions troubling, you may want to rethink your decision to go into business.
1. Can you be responsible and accountable for operating your own business ?
When you run a business, you’re in charge of everything—from opening the doors in the morning to cleaning up at night. Then when you go home, you do the worrying, not your employer.
The hours are usually long, can be a lot of stress, and there’s often too much to do in too little time – especially when you have to fit your business around the family. You’ll have to deal with your customers and your employees. You’ll be responsible for the finances of the business and dealing with the taxman. And you’ll need to fill out a lot of forms and sign a lot of contracts as the business grows.
Make sure you understand what you’re getting into. As a business owner, you’ll have more responsibilities than you’ve ever had before, no matter how high you were up the corporate ladder in your previous jobs. If you understand this simple fact, you’ll be ready to take on the responsibilities if running a business.
2. Are you comfortable making hard decisions ?
As the owner of a business, you’ll also have to make many decisions that affect the business, your livelihood, and that of your employees. If you have trouble when faced with tough choices, this could be a problem area that you’ll need to work on, as the livelihood of toothed people may be at stake.
If you think that owning your own business is the way to easy money, you need to think again. Many people actually end up sacrificing their income to open their business – especially in the beginning. That’s the price they’re willing to pay for independence.
If you’re thinking of giving up a promising career and a lucrative income to start your business, be realistic about what your financial needs are and whether or not the business will meet those needs. Remember, you’re building a business, so you’re unlikely to draw a huge income at the beginning.
For this reason, many people start a 5-9er. This is a business that they run around their job when they get home, building it gradually until it gets big enough for them to reduce their hours, and then quit their jobs eventually.
It may take you a number of years to get to the income level you want or need. On the other hand, you may decide that you’re willing to sacrifice some money for the reward of being your own boss. Many people have found it to be worth every penny, and some have ran back to corporate life for the guarantee of the same monthly income because of the stability.
3. Are you starting a business out of desperation?
This is a very real concern, particularly in light of the huge number of experienced businessmen and businesswomen who have been cast adrift in the job market through corporate downsizing in recent years.
If you’re one of these people and are thinking about starting a business because you think it’s your only option, be very careful. Yes, it can be the answer to your future security, but only if you’re willing to make the necessary commitments and sacrifices.
The world of business ownership is vastly different from the corporate world. Make sure you recognise the differences before you make the move.
4. Are you an organised person?
The day-to-day operation of your business requires you to assume many responsibilities. Let’s consider an average day. You may need to do the payroll, talk to suppliers, pay a few bills, work on a new advertising campaign, and prepare some tax forms. At the same time you’ll be fulfilling customer orders and making sure they get sent out on time. Then there’s always the unexpected – your computer crashes, or one of the children fall ill at school and you have to stop everything and pick them up.
As a business owner, you’ll need to keep many balls in the air at one time. Your skills as a mother will come in handy, of course, but can you take any more stress in your life? Your ability to juggle all these responsibilities will directly affect your success. If you’re well organised, you’ll have a list of the things you need to do, and you’ll work through them methodically go through it during the course of the day.
If you’re interrupted, you’ll pick up where you left off after you’ve dealt with the problem. If you’re still not through at the end of the day, you’ll sit there and work until you’ve finished. Procrastinators do not do well in business.
5. Are you flexible?
In business, if an idea doesn’t work, you need to quickly come up with an alternative solution and move on – there’s no time for moping around and feeling sorry for yourself. Flexibility and adaptability are the key. You’ll need to stay focused to achieve your goal, but you may need to try several different paths before you get to the right one.