Monday, March 24, 2008

Should You Start Your Own Business?

Some of you out there looking for a new job or a change in careers might be wondering if you should start your own business. While working for yourself may seem appealing, there are things you need to considering before taking such a leap.

Starting your own business takes a commitment unlike a regular job. Sure most people are serious about their jobs and are committed to them. But your own business takes a realization that you may have to work harder to get your own business off the ground, at least in the first year or two. You also have to realize that, depending on the business you've chosen, you may may not see profitability for at least a couple years.

When you begin thinking about working for yourself, you need to do a self-assessment about the time, energy and money you are willing to put into the business. For example, if you want to work for yourself to give yourself more freedom or more time for fun or family, starting a restaurant would probably not be for you. Most people who own restaurants spend alot of time working in those restaurants, and find they have very little time for outside activities.

If you choose a business which requires a lot of community networking and you're a person who is awkward in social situations, you may want to choose something which is more solitary, like an internet business. (Yes, owning an internet business may mean you will have to do some social networking online, it's nothing like speaking at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or cold-calling local businesses to introduce yourself and your new business).

If you have an idea of the type of business you want to start, it's a good idea to take a look at the competition you'll be facing in your community. The level of competition can help determine whether your business will be a success or not. If you find there's absolutely no competition for the business you've chosen, that is, nobody has a business like the one you've

imagined, you might want to ask yourself why that is. Is there a demand for your type of business? If your business is a new concept, make sure you can frame your marketing to help create the need for your business in people's minds.

If you really want to own your own business, but aren't really sure what kind of business you'd like to start, it's good to look at successful businesses that others have started to get some ideas. One site you may like for unique ideas is http://uncommonbusiness.blogspot.com/. You may also want to consider a franchise business. Some franchises can be very profitable as you're buying into a company with name recognition and an established business model. You can read more about buying a franchise at: Why Buy a Franchise.

Just about all business ventures require some startup cash, although some require more than others. If you currently do not have the financial means needed to start your own small business, you may be able to seek financial assistance. Many financial lenders, including banks and credit unions, may be willing to give you financial backing to get your small business up and running. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also a place to check out when seeking a business loan.

You will need to show the lender in question that your small business is one that can make a profit, or at least enough money to pay back the business loan. The best way to do this is to create a professional business plan for yourself; one that you can show to all loan officers that you end up meeting. On our site about selling on eBay, we have a page on how to write a business plan to meet the requirements of the SBA, so you might want to check out that page as well: SBA Business Plan. It's written for eBay businesses, but applies to all small businesses.

The above-mentioned factors are just a few of the many that you will want to take into consideration, when trying to determine if you should start your own small business. The decision as to whether or not you want to startup a business is yours to make, but it is a decision that shouldn’t be made on a whim. You are advised to discuss your possible business venture with your family and possibly even with a financial planner.

2 comments:

Deena Houston said...

Nice. I'll keep this in mind because I plan on running my own business soon. I know it'll be tough, so I can use all the help and advice I can get. More recently I've been thinking about buying a business instead of starting one from scratch. Maybe a franchise? Home based? I’m not sure. Do you have any suggestions? Advice? Thanks.

N. Broome said...

Deena-- Yeah, running your own business will be tough, regardless if you start one from scratch or buy an existing one.

If you do take the buying route, there are a lot of sites you could check out for one. There's one called BizTrader.com. It's like this an online global marketplace where you can buy or sell a business. It has useful tips and advice, and you can also use it to find a lender or broker. Not bad at all.

Then there are always the small business groups in your area. They should be able to provide help and advice. If anything, it doesn't hurt to network.

Good luck!