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What to think about when starting your own business

Are you ready?

If you are currently an employee of a company, then starting your own business is a lifestyle change. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it is a way to get rich quick, or an escape from all problems. Starting a business is tough, requiring a lot of determination and learning, and only pays off in the long term. Take an honest look at yourself before leaping.

Are there customers with needs and money?

Your view that if you love the idea, everyone will love it is necessary but not enough. Customers may “like” a product, but will generally only pay for things they “need”, or maybe the people who really need the product don’t have any money.

Is the market large & growing?

Again, don’t trust your own judgement and passion on this one. Look for market analysis data from a “credible unbiased third party” – that means a nationally known market research firm. Hopefully, you will find the information to assist in your decision making.

Or, is this a crowded space already?

If you find ten competitors who already have this offering, can you do it better? If not, it’s probably not worth going any further.

Does your solution have hidden dependencies or costs?

Many products fail because of “dependencies” and hidden costs for example, car engines that burn hydrogen are great for the environment, but getting service stations who have to comply with new safety legislations to come on board can takes decades. In short, make sure you understand all costs, sales channels, marketing requirements, and cultural issues.

Do you have intellectual property to defend against competitors?

Maybe the idea hasn’t yet been commercialised, but a patent has been submitted by someone else, putting your idea in jeopardy. A series of searches on the internet will help, or you could pay a solicitor to find out for you by way of a more professional and qualified approach.

Can you build a team?

It’s hard to build a business on your own. You need to be able to put together, encourage, and manage staff who will in turn develop, sales, partners, and customers. New businesses are tough on even the most dedicated of owners – others will likely fail, and definitely be unhappy. Headstrong introverts probably won’t do well.

” People who feel competent but unsatisfied or bored in their current job make better entrepreneurs than people who feel overworked, under-appreciated, and over-stressed. “

Have you looked realistically at the costs?

Passionate entrepreneurs tend to have rose-tinted glasses, and over-estimate early sales and underestimate costs. To convert your passion into tangible business values, write a business plan that makes financial sense for the needs and future goals of your start-up, and have it checked by an expert preferably a successful business owner or good accountant.

Do you have stamina & skills?

As a start-up founder, remember that the buck always stops with you. There is no room for the blame game. Contributing factors aside, most start-ups fail because they just give up, not because they run out of money or time. Focus on building personal staying power, learning and improvements. If you have had problems with several companies, you may be part of the problem.

Going ‘from’ rather than ‘to’?

If you are desperate to get out of an existing role, you may just be lurching into entrepreneurship, only to find it more stressful and unsatisfying. People who feel competent but unsatisfied or bored in their current job make better entrepreneurs than people who feel overworked, under-appreciated and over-stressed. Remember, the grass always looks greener on the other side. Do not give up your “day job” until you are absolutely sure of a steady and reliable future revenue stream.

This information does not constitute an offer or advice and the service described may not be suitable for everyone. Alternative services may be offered if more suitable.

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