September 6, 2009

Should you start your own business?

I thought I’d kickstart my blog with a fairly contentious topic. Many people out there are contemplating whether they are cut out for the business world, and if they should do the jump into the deep end. I’m an avid reader of business books and a follower of the top business minds around the world, and I’ve garnered the following list to help you decide. If the following sounds like you then you’re on the right track:

  • You have an innate desire to break free of your “9-5” job and want control over your work and the people you work with. Don’t confuse this with simple job dissatisfaction! Many people are unhappy with their jobs because of crappy co-workers, domineering bosses or negligible benefits – the truth is you can always change a job and even change your career if you don’t like it. Starting a business is a totally different ballgame.
  • You have spotted an opportunity in the market where you can serve the needs of people while doing what you enjoy. I have a passion for technology and information, and have spotted a gap in the market which my business can fill. I see opportunities in the restaurant business too, but since I have no interest in that sector I doubt I’d be successful in that market! The keyword is doing what you’re passionate about.
  • You get more excited at the prospect of seeing your product or service out there helping people than thinking about all the money you’re going to make. If you want to start a business to make money – stop right now. Your focus will be misaligned with what you’re really supposed to be doing – serving the needs of other people. Believe it or not, but a business leader is more of a follower than you may think! The difference is he takes responsibility and has the kahones to do it. The money will come if your business is successful, but you’re in business to serve, not to be served.
  • You are willing to make sacrifices to get your business running. Starting a business may be the most difficult thing you ever have to do in your life, so giving up balance is one of the things you need to consider – at least in the beginning. This will be time, money, energy, or a combination of either.
  • You have a reasonably sized professional network that can serve as your catalyst for growth. As a ballpark figure you need to know at least 10 people that are willing and able to help you in some way – be it financially or by connecting your business with their network. Its true that who you know is sometimes more important than what you know.
  • You have total commitment to what you’re about to do, and are willing to part with a large chunk of your life working on it and expanding it. Entrepreneurship is about 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration, according to Thomas Edison.

Some other very important qualities of succesful entrepreneurs:

  • Creativity and seeing opportunities that most people don’t see.
  • Embracing and never being scared of change – in yourself or your business.
  • Understanding and empathizing with different opinions and points of view.
  • Boundless energy and endurance.
  • A flair for negotiating and working with people.

Absa Bank has a very useful page where you can further assess yourself to see if you are cut out for starting your own business. Do the assessment here.

What do you think? Is there anything else you would add? Do you disagree with anything? Let me know by posting below!

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One Comment

  1. Sonika September 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    this post gives a practical spin on business. i like! keep posting :)

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