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Business Tips Wednesday: Things to Consider

9th April 2008

Business Tips Wednesday: Things to Consider

For many people the allure of starting their own business has to do with being independent.  Running your own business means you set your own hours, set your own salary and answer to no one.  It sounds like a very attractive proposition, particularly if you feel unappreciated and underpaid while you’re working for someone else.   What everyone who wants to start a business needs to remember, however, is that there are trade-offs in every situation.  Starting a business of your own can give you a lot of freedom, but it also brings a lot of responsibility.

When you work for someone else, you generally have a set list of responsibilities.  That list may be quite broad or it may be very narrow, but you can probably depend on the fact that at least some of the work is being handled by other people.  When you own your own business, all of the responsibility, especially at the beginning, will rest on you.   People who run their own businesses need to be good at organizing tasks and motivating themselves.   The upside of being a small business owner is that you make the decisions and are responsible for every outcome.  The downside of owning a small business is that you make the decisions and are responsible for every outcome.  If you drop the ball, there won’t be anyone else to pick it up and help you out. 

You should also keep in mind that small business owners are responsible for all aspects of the business.  It doesn’t matter whether you like crunching numbers but hate designing ads, when you own your own business, you’re responsible for everything.  Eventually many small business owners are able to hire staff, or can outsource the parts of managing a business that they don’t enjoy or excel at doing, but in the beginning most business owners must rely on themselves.  It doesn’t matter whether you like managing the books or designing the company logo, that responsibility will still fall to you.

One of the reasons that many people cite for starting a small business is the freedom that it brings.  If you own the business you can set your own hours and work when you like.  In some respects this is true, but the thing about starting a business that should be remembered is how much time it takes to make a business profitable.  If you’re working for yourself, you may find that you work many more hours than you did when you worked for someone else.  The business may also bleed over into your evening and weekend time.   In time you may be able to take off when you want and, if you have become profitable enough to have employees, you’ll know that the business is still ticking along.  Until then, owning your own business may limit your freedom more than working for someone else might have done. 

Starting your own business is a big decision and one that should not be made lightly.  Everyone who sits in a cubicle or has a bad day with the boss probably has the fantasy of going out on their own and making tons of money.  As nice as that thought might be, it is just a fantasy.  The reality is that, for every small business that succeeds, there are several that don’t make the grade.  Starting a business takes grit, determination and a willingness to sacrifice in the short-term for long-term goals. 

In the end, those who take a realistic view of what starting and running a small business really means are the people who are most likely to succeed.  So, before you make the decision to go out on your own, take a few minutes to examine what that might really mean, and to assess your own strengths and weaknesses.  If you take the time to do this before you make the plunge, it is much more likely your business will still be afloat a year from now.

posted in Making Your Business Grow | Comments Off

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