Section Three: Start-Up Planning
So far, you have assessed your entrepreneurial skills and your business skills. Now it’s time to take a look at your situation and prepare yourself for business start-up.
The Influence of Attitude
Many of the negative feelings that we have about ourselves have come from our environment while we were growing up. Sometimes, these negative thoughts arise due to parents who had unrealistic expectations, or who might have been overly critical or punitive. People with a poor self-image are often insecure – often seeking approval from others. These people have a problem approving of themselves.
Studies show that we think about 50,000 thoughts a day. Many are about yourself. Imagine if you could control your thoughts! What would be the impact on your self-image? On your life?
To succeed in business, a positive mental attitude is critical. Entrepreneurs view problems as challenges and ultimately provide solutions to these problems. Their positive attitude is often infectious. This attitude positively influences associates, staff, suppliers and customers. Entrepreneurs are fun to be with!
Commitment to Action
How often have you seen someone with a good idea doing nothing about it and then later you see someone else doing something about it…and making lots of money?!!! Action on a mediocre idea produces greater results than no action on a great idea. Often people do not act because they are frozen by social acceptability. Let’s face it, entrepreneurs are sometimes considered a little bit weird. People thought Einstein was crazy!!
Most of us tend to act within a comfort zone. We see ourselves in a certain way, which in turn influences what actions we are willing to take. Students, for example, will often feel comfortable participating in class, but do not like to make presentations in front of the class. Experience helps us to develop our abilities and expand our comfort zone.
Entrepreneurs have the ability to act on their ideas and plans and to ensure that they are implemented to achieve the desired results.
A very important step in determining whether self-employment is an appropriate option for you is to define your personal objectives. Naturally, the objectives you set for yourself will involve your individual perceptions of success.
Have you taken the time to honestly reflect on the personal objectives you wish to achieve by starting your own business? These objectives will reflect the type of entrepreneur you are. Usually, entrepreneurs fall into one of four categories:
For some, they are pulled into entrepreneurship. They are responding to a perceived business opportunity. For others, they are pushed into entrepreneurship through job loss, layoff or other circumstances.
An honest assessment of your personal objectives can avoid disappointment later and better prepare you for the realities of operating a small business.
Personal Factors Affecting Business Starts
Are you afraid of failure? What is your reaction when you fail? How do you respond to setbacks, defeat, big problems, little problems? Most small business owners rebuild from failure and turn problems into opportunities. Are you a positive thinker who can overcome failure easily?
Entrepreneurs need to feel comfortable with uncertainty. Developing coping skills and stress management techniques to deal with the pressures of entrepreneurship can help you during the difficult times.
How comfortable are you with your lifestyle now? Are you willing to change or jeopardize your present situation and social environment? How important are your friends? Do you have career plans? Do you have a well-developed social support system including personal and business networks?
Most small business owners are forced to sacrifice their present lifestyle to devote more time and energy to their businesses. Eighty-hour work weeks are not uncommon!
Do you have the support of your family? Have you discussed your plans with them? Do you know what demands will be placed on your energy, emotions, and time? Do you and your family realize that you may have to put up to 16 hours per day into operating your business?
Most entrepreneurs find family support to be essential in operating their businesses.
Are you prepared to take the biggest risk – financial failure? What sacrifices are you willing to make? Do you have money of your own to invest? Can you handle the pressure of additional financial obligations? Do you have your financial house in order — do you have a will? Do you have the appropriate personal business insurances to protect yourself against potential losses?
Many new business owners have either their entire life savings invested or the equity in their home committed. The sacrifices you may be required to make could reduce your standard of living. If you are unable to live with some degree of financial uncertainty, running a business may not be for you.
What is your present state of health? Do you exercise regularly? Do you eat a balanced and healthy diet? Do you have a regular physical? Do you avoid alcohol and tobacco?
Entrepreneurs need to be healthy to perform and carry out business activities. With higher levels of stress, working longer hours and often travelling for business purposes, entrepreneurs are more likely to suffer from health problems.
Click on Worksheet 1.6 (Word Document) to assess personal factors that may be affecting your business start-up.