Many of us at some point consider going into business for ourselves. I have done this myself with varying levels of success. The idea of having no one to answer to is appealing. So is the thought of being able to set your own schedule. Business ownership may not be a good fit for everyone though.
What Is Your Motivation?
There are many good reasons to go into business for yourself. You may have a great skill that you know others will value. Maybe you have a strong desire to create job opportunities for your community. You might even have identified an untapped market that appears to be ripe for financial gain. Whatever the reason, notice that each of those examples involves activity – some doing to be done. This is a key point: Successful business owners are go-getters – they have self-motivation and drive to achieve. If the main reason you make it to work on time now is your fear of getting fired for being late yet again, owning a business might not be a good fit for you.
Do You Like Having a Boss?
I’ve heard people express that they want to own their own business because they are tired of having to answer to someone else. Others I’ve heard say, “My skills are making that company a lot of money – I should be able to keep more of that money!” After being a business owner myself, I know the fallacy of those statements. First of all, you may be the business owner but you still have to answer to people. Only now, there are probably a lot more people to answer to. Consider that your distributors, your suppliers, your customers, your accountant, the Internal Revenue Service and maybe even your employees are all going to have an opinion and advice about your business. In many aspects, their needs will become your new bosses.
There is a skill in balancing all of their needs with your own. Part of that skill is in writing a business plan. Your plan can serve as the muscle behind you – the actual Boss. Take the time to make a solid business plan and that plan will back you up as others try to derail you from your goals. Your business plan serves as your “Yes Man” or your “No Man” – if it wasn’t already in the plan, let’s not waste time on that right now. If you really don’t like other people trying to tell you what to do, owning a business might not be a good fit for you.
Are you the Entrepreneur, the Manager or the Technician?
According to Michael Gerber, the author of The E Myth Revisited, all businesses require at least three roles for success. One person can and often will serve in all three roles but it is difficult. How can you operate a business if you are constantly pulled in three directions? It is the Technician who starts the business usually. That is the person that has a skill and thinks, “someone would value this.” They begin to offer that skill and often, this drives the need for another role: the Manager. The Manager wants the operation to run smoothly so the Technician can do their job. It is this person’s job to pay for the office space, file taxes and hire employees. Both the Technician and the Manager prefer their roles to be clearly defined. They feel success when they can see accomplishment in tasks.
Then along comes the Entrepreneur. This is the person who is always thinking of the next adventure, the next big thing. This person sees opportunity and gets excited about change. This person drives the Manager and the Technician crazy! The Manager frustrates the Technician and the Entrepreneur with their demand for tedium and responsibility. All three roles are necessary for a business to have a solid operations flow. These roles all help the organization to meet the changing needs of the future. If performing one, or any of these three roles does not seem exciting, owning a business may not be a good fit for you.
If you aren’t sure if owning a business is a good fit for you, click the link above to go to the Small Business Administration’s Roots of Power Assessment tool. This will help you identify your business strengths. You might also identify lesser strengths you might want to work on before going into business for yourself. Keep your Extension office in mind if you do decide to go into business. Extension offers business skills classes and helps communities connect. Owning a business can be a great fit for you if you are prepared, have a plan, and are ready to lead.