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5 Questions to Ask Before Taking the Entrepreneurship Plunge
Published on Nov 2, 2010
Check out these 5 Questions to Ask Before Taking the Entrepreneurship Plunge at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
You've made the decision to say good bye to your 9-to-5 cubicle life. Now what? Chances are that you will begin to master your time, your mind, your thoughts, and decisions, now that you are able to do things your very own way. Welcome to your new life of freedom in the entrepreneurship world!
Hold on though - before jumping in with both feet, take some time to slow down and ask yourself some very important questions:
1. What type of business am I going to offer?
You have likely accumulated some type of work experience at this point in your life, and you've got a good grasp on things that you enjoy doing and also things that you do well. One of the most common mistakes when starting a business is offering a range of services that is simply too broad. You may think that offering as many services as you can is a good thing because it means you'll have more total clients and more chances of finding even more potential customers, which will result in recurring income. This type of thinking makes sense on the surface, but you need to look at it more closely. First, think about how you will promote your startup. You will want to make use of your current relationships, as doing so is much more profitable than cold-calling. From the early stages, you want your acquaintances to automatically associate you with the services you're offering. When the need for your type of services arises, you will be the first person to come to mind.
2. Which of my skills gives me the most satisfaction when doing it?
If you're not bringing on investors, it's most likely that you will not have any employees in the beginning stages of your business. You will have to do all the work, which includes the most boring and time-consuming tasks. If you don't enjoy whatever it is you're spending most of the time on, you are setting yourself up for failure. You obviously want to start out in the most successful way possible, so choosing something that you enjoy doing and have a passion for will give you the boost you need on days when you're asking yourself if you've made the right decision by creating a startup. Start with whatever your biggest passion is, and later on, if necessary you can diversify your services.
3. What is my USP?
USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition, and it is a very well-known term in marketing and advertising. All of us are exposed to a lot of messages every moment of our lives. Noticing all of them is impossible. You will have to be unique and communicate your services in a very simple and clear manner if you want to stand out in a crowd and actually make people pay attention to whatever it is that you've got to say. Know your competitors and be different and better than they are.
4. Should I go solo or look for a partnership?
Partnerships are great ideas. It is always much better to have someone else to share your ideas with. With someone else working for you, you can often get twice as much accomplished. Splitting tasks will save a lot of valuable time. There are plenty of reasons that entering into a partnership can be a good move. You will need to do your best to understand your future partner completely prior to taking this step, though. If you find that your work habits, principles and values differ from those of your potential partner, you might end up being very disappointed. Be very careful as a partnership is totally different from other work relationships you've had thus far. When you are in a partnership with another person, you need to know how to lead and also how to let yourself be led.
5. How long can I stay afloat before earning any money?
Expecting your new business to bring profit from the very first day is a very unrealistic expectation. It may happen, but chances are that it probably won't. Be prepared to support yourself for approximately two years before you'll actually being to make a decent living from your business. It can happen much faster, but it's always better to be prepared than sorry. Having realistic goals and expectations in this regard will save you a lot of heartache and stress.
Perhaps the biggest question you need to ask yourself is, "Will I be prepared to go back into the working world if my business fails?" By asking yourself the questions above, you're ensuring that you are remaining level-headed and making proper decisions. Whatever you decide, remember that the key to success in entrepreneurship is focused dedication and perseverance. With those qualities, there is little that can stop you!
About the authorAdam Toren is co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com, one of the largest and fastest growing small business social networking forums for entrepreneurs, and a "must visit" resource for start-up CEOs, founders, aspiring entrepreneurs, mentors and investors worldwide, reaching an audience that very few can match.