Owning your own business can be personally, professionally, and financially rewarding; however, entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Before taking the personal and financial risks of owning a business, an objective appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses is essential. Success in small business depends on decisive and correct actions from the beginning. Although initial mistakes may not cause failure, it takes skill, discipline and hard work to overcome these errors. Moving from employee to employer requires that you consider several personal questions. Before the personal assessment, it is necessary to identify and understand the responsibilities of a small business owner.
Basically a business owner is responsible for the entire operation - not just sales or accounting, but the operation from top to bottom. A business owner wears a number of hats, including researcher, salesman, marketer, warehouseman, analyst, accountant, recruiter, arbitrator, lawyer, secretary, and janitor. Additionally, you will be required to be both the good guy and the bad guy. You are that good guy selling to customers and the bad guy collecting past due customer accounts. You will be the good guy hiring employees and the bad guy deciding the company cannot afford pay raises. With this range of responsibilities, you should understand that business ownership is more than a 40-hour work week. Planning, managing, and executing your business demands considerable time which presents another challenge of business ownership - balancing business and personal time. Recognizing the business owner responsibilities and demands, you can now determine how your personal entrepreneurial skills match up to the task.
The successful business owner should possess the following skills or qualities:
You do not have to graduate from the top of the class or have direct experience in the business you are starting; but, you do need to have prior experience in a business environment and an aptitude for dealing with business situations. You should have an interest in making decisions that are right for the business.
You will be dealing with a variety of personalities in customers, employees, vendors, accountants, lawyers, and the government. You must understand different personalities and manage these relationships.
You will have to plan and organize your business day to day and year to year. Poor organization results in inefficient time utilization. And lack of coordination among the business activities, missed deadlines, and not setting priorities will lead to failure.
You will likely sacrifice economically and personally in developing your own business. You will probably take a cut in pay to start your own business and managing cash flow while growing revenues and profits will occasionally cause the owner to pay employees and vendors before paying himself. Also, owners sacrifice personal time to meet business management demands which can impact family members.
You should be optimistic about your business venture. In addition, you must maintain that positive attitude through the difficult times in order to be successful.
You will be responsible for leading your company. Employees, vendors, accountants, and lawyers will be looking for your direction and answers to their questions. Your sacrifice, interpersonal skills, and optimism will add credibility to your leadership roll, but you should be prepared to provide the leadership energy.
Now you can assess your personal skills and qualities. Don't be surprised if you do not have the highest rating in each category. While you want to score well overall in personal assessment, everyone's abilities vary and, as in most business decisions, you have alternative solutions. To overcome weaknesses that reduce the possibility of success, you can consider hiring a person, seeking a business partner, or personal development, which can be outside classroom training or on the job learning. You should determine the significance of the weakness and choose the best solution.
If your personal assessment indicates that you possess, or have a plan to obtain, the necessary skills and traits to succeed at your own business, then you should move forward to the next phase of starting a business - developing a business plan.