I regularly hear from many working class people who feel they would be better off striking out on their own rather than working for someone else. This thinking is usually grows at moments when the prospects of their current jobs look bleak, which almost always happens when they begin to witness such uncertainties as irregular pay days, occasional pay cuts and the very real possibility of losing their jobs.
The itch to start a business may also be the result of a conscious choice to become an entrepreneur.
Whatever the reason, it is beginning to dawn on many people that the lure of entrepreneurship offers a clear alternative to the traditional 9-5 job which may (or may not) lead to a pensionable retirement.
Furthermore, the growing arsenal of small business resources now makes it much easier for you to start a business, So, if you’re thinking about scratching the entrepreneurial itch, now is a good time.
What to do? Six things.
1. Test The Waters. Is there a money-making idea you have always wanted to act on but have not come around to doing it? Now may be the time to try it out.
Are you still hanging on to your present job? Try a part-time if you can juggle both.
Take your time. You need it to decide when, if at all, you should burn your bridge to the corporate world. It is not wise to go all in until you are sure of what you really want to do.
To be certain about what you don’t want to do is as important as being clear on what you do want to do. The idea is to tip-toe into your entrepreneurial waters instead of diving into it.
2. Examine Your Self. As Socrates, the eminent Greek philosopher, said, the unexamined life is not worth living. In applying this ancient wisdom to your desire to start a business, you must start with a self-interview. You must ask your self one big question and many small questions.
First, do you have in you the seed of entrepreneurship that can be nurtured to make you the ideal candidate to become a businessman or businesswoman?
Second, you must find answer to questions like: Do you have a business idea, articulated by a business plan? Do you have expertise, experience and connections in the line of business you are considering? Have you researched the industry and touched base with some of its key players? Do you have resources to carry you and your business for six months to one year in the likely possibility that your proposed business may not generate expected income at this time?
This list of questions is by no means exhaustive and answering all of them in the affirmative will not guarantee success. But a negative response on any of the questions is a red flag. It signals that the grand scheme is not ready to run and there is need for more preparation. The message is that you need to be prepared and be really ready to start your own business.
3. Learning Your Business. When the legendary Joseph Pulitzer, then Publisher of the now defunct New York World, wanted to found a School to teach Journalism, he was mockingly asked why he wanted to embrace that enterprise. His response was that the only position a man or woman can reasonably occupy without the benefit of training is that of an idiot.
It is unthinkable that you will want to be a businessman or businesswoman without learning your business. Business is a discipline, it is a calling. It must be learned, formally or informally.
You can read all the books, do all the research, talk to all the people. None or all of these preparation will not take the place of learning. You must learn to hire the best people you can afford. You must learn how to produce and deliver your products and services. You must learn how to manage your business profitably.
4. Discipline Of Execution. Thinking and planning help to move the business forward. But none of these will beat action, the act of executing.
Don’t get lost in your own head. Take care not to over-analyse and over-prepare. Take action. Get the show on the road.
5. Listen To The Market. What does your market see as value? What will your business offer in answer to a market need and/or solve a pain point in your industry? Find it. Ask your clients what they need and strive to provide it.
6. Maintain Your Presence. To succeed in your business, you need to live it. You must be there mentally and physically. When you are, you will be able to execute, you will be able listen to the market, you will be able to find the people to help your business to succeed.
If you stay committed, if you keep at it, you will have a chance to be the entrepreneur you itch to be.