Are You Ready to be a Business Owner? | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog

Are You Ready to be a Business Owner? | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog

It was the craziest decision we had ever made!

After one particularly long day at work, we both looked at each other and decided it was time to officially follow our dream of becoming business owners. This was something we had discussed over and over again, but for one reason or another, the timing never seemed right. For some reason, that late Summer day we just knew it was time. It hasn't been an easy road in the slightest, and we have had some ideas that completely failed, but never once have we regretted our decision to start a small business.

What about you? Are you a small business owner? If so, how did you know that it was time to make the move?

If you're not a business owner, what exactly are you waiting for? Below you'll find a list of signs that you're ready to start a business. Hopefully, this will give you the boost of confidence that you need.  You might be more prepared than you think!

You're Willing to Ignore “Advice” from Family and Friends

woman covering ears

Don't get us wrong! Support from family and friends is incredibly important, and if you have it, hold on to it for dear life. For most of us small business owners in the world, family and friends will provide feedback thinking that they're being helpful, but it is actually detrimental to the success of the business. This is because not everyone is actually business-minded (and that's totally ok). Just to be clear, we don't doubt people's intelligence at all! The truth of the matter is that in order to run a business, you have to think like a business owner. In addition, you need to be confident on the decisions you make for your company. Despite your time, efforts, and research, family and friends are the first to question why you sell what you sell, why things are priced the way that they are priced, and referring you to clients who aren't in your target market at all. If you're comfortable with respectfully declining the unwarranted “advice” of your family and friends, you're most likely ready to start a business.

You have a Vision (and a Plan for How to Bring it to Fruition)

Unsurprisingly, businesses require vision. You can't just wake up one day and do the same exact thing that everyone else is doing, exactly the same way that they're doing it! What I'm saying is that you need to clearly establish what you're trying to accomplish with your business, and the problems that you're attempting to rectify, then determine a course of action to make it all happen. Having the vision isn't that difficult, but making it all come together definitely is. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to understand that you must be flexible with both your vision and your plan for putting it into action. As a business owner, you'll quickly realize that things won't always go as planned, so you must be prepared for that.  Are you flexible?  Do you have a vision?  If you answered "yes" you might be more ready than you think!

You've Thoroughly Researched your Target Market

Does anyone actually need what you're trying to sell? If so, who are they? Why do they need it? Where does this person shop? What are their hobbies? What is their annual income? Do they have children? What do they do for a living? What makes them who they are? Have you asked yourself all of these questions? Great! Now ask yourself again, but dig even deeper! You're off to great start!

Long Hours Don't Scare You

working with coffee

We are both still working full-time jobs. Do you want to know what we do when we get home? We basically work full-time hours for our business. Yes, it is exhausting, but we knew it would be going into things, and it really helped us manage our expectations. Since starting the business, we've been a lot better about making sure we actually take vacations, which helps us from becoming completely burnt out. If you'd like to read about more ways to avoid business owner burnout, check out this post.

Actually, You Don't Scare Easily At All

Running a business means you have to be willing to fail sometimes. Some people cannot handle that, and that's perfectly understandable. Not everyone is meant to do something as stressful as running a business. On top of failing from time to time, there is a ton of responsibility associated with running a business. Paying taxes, networking with total strangers, buying and maintaining expensive equipment, handling customer inquires (particularly the inquiries for things outside of your comfort zone), paying employees and contractors. If you're ready to take this all on (and then some), you'll do great as a business owner!

You Welcome and Appreciate Constructive Criticism

Remember how I said to take the things friends and family members say with a grain of salt? In contrast, you should really listen to feedback from customers and fellow business owners. That means you need to have a thick skin and be prepared to have someone criticize your work. The wonderful thing about constructive criticism is that it is constructive! Not only will you find out that something isn't working, you'll find out why it isn't working, and suggestions for how to fix it. Being able to take constructive criticism, and apply it to your business will make you a successful business owner!

You're Willing to Learn What You Need to Learn in Order to be Successful

Depending on the business you start, you'll actually be required to take continuing education classes every year or so. Even if you aren't required to do so, it is important to stay abreast on industry news, trends, and education. We pay for trainings every single year, and they add a ton of value for us. If you're not willing to continue learning and growing as someone who runs a business, you may not be ready for business ownership just yet, as you will constantly need to grow as a person and a business owner.  If you are ready to continue growing, you'll make a great business owner and a wonderful boss.

You Understand that Your Business will Most Likely be a One (Wo)Man Show for a While

Did you know that running a business is hella expensive, and it's typically pretty slow going at first?The likelihood of you being able to hire or outsource in the beginning will be pretty slim. You have to be okay with handling everything yourself, and it will be grueling work! You'll be exhausted, but you'll be super proud of what you've accomplished because you did it yourself (and it's awesome).  If we haven't scared you away yet, continue reading our last point below!

You Have a Little Money in the Bank

counting money

Starting a business can be costly, so it is wise to have some money in the bank to cover the costs of startup fees and unexpected expenses. Even with us having several thousand dollars available, we still ended up taking out a very small business business loan with our local LEDC chapter (we couldn't be more appreciative of LEDC, by the way, as most places wouldn't be willing to lend such a small amount, especially to people with tons of debt from student loans), AND we ended up getting a business credit card. Thankfully, both of these things are now completely paid off, but things were rough for a while just trying to make sure we made enough money to cover the cost of those business expenses.

If you can avoid taking out loans, that's great, but most importantly, it is ideal to have at least somewhat decent credit so you'll be taken seriously if you do need to take one out. If you don't feel like you're financially stable enough to start your business, hold off a little until you have enough saved up. Use this time to network, work on your business plan, meet with a mentor, and/or gain as much information as you can from Score.org. You might even want to consider adding on a partner so you can join forces, or perhaps you could start your business on a much smaller scale. Remember when we mentioned having a plan? This is a huge part of why you need one!

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start a business? Are small business owners a little crazy? Leave a comment to let us know what you think!  

Comments

  1. Great tips! I think what's also essential is having the tenacity and endurance to keep going when business is slow. That is probably the hardest part.

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  2. As someone who just turns 50 you realize when you get older how much you hate working for someone else. You could have the nicest boss in the world but to know how hard you worked for a sale only to be paid a small commission on it is tiresome. The problem with us salespeople is that we also "Age Out". No one is looking to hire a 55 or 60 year old salesman. There comes a time when you have to take the jump tot start something on your own. The biggest problem I see often is people don't realize how much work it is and maybe don't have a business mindset going in. It's not for everyone but the rewards are plentiful if you work hard and put in the effort. Good luck!

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  3. These are all important steps to being ready to own a business! If someone doesn't possess these traits, it increases their chance for failure. Great post!

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  4. These are all spot on! We opened our sandwich shop three years ago and it was the craziest thing we've done to date. Like you said, a lot of family and friends had negative comments about the idea (with good reason, they cared about us) but we powered on anyway. I think the negative talk was definitely the most difficult thing to deal with first off, and then the realization that we had to grow this thing with almost no money, because again, as you mentioned, starting a business is expensive! But we got through that too and now have grown it to the point where we can sell. It's been a wild ride for sure, but I definitely think that if a person has a passion for entrepreneurship and has a solid business plan, they should go for it! Being your own boss is an experience of a lifetime!

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  5. I hope to one day have my own business. But at 52 I wonder if it's too late? Part of me wants a coffee and wine shop/bar and the other wants a cattery, breeding Savannah cats. I need to get an action plan soon though. I feel like my nursing career needs a little hiatus! Thanks for the great read!

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  6. Great tips on researching your target audience. Doing a business plan is important but also intimidating. Do you have any resources or suggestions?

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  7. Thank for this article, I'm right on the verge of deciding whether to start my own business or not, so it comes in at the right moment! And I agree with everything you wrote.. accepting criticism, not listening to your family and friends.. I still need to do some in-depth research about my market, so even if it really scares me and it's something I don't like, that's going to be my next move I guess.

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  8. The part where you ignore comments from friends and families rang a loud bell in my ears. Friends and families will not recognize you until outsiders celebrate you.

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  9. Making the decision to start a business is very brave because of all the uncertainty, but if you think about it life or itself is full of uncertainty so you can’t let that get in the way of your vision. I always try to support small and local businesses whenever I can because then I support a dream

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  10. We have to spend money to make money! I found that out when I started my blog. I guess it’s my business. Probably should start thinking of it like that. I had to buy my domain and hosting (failing miserably the first time, and trying it a second time), post office box (it’s cheaper to pre-pay for a year, of course), email subscription, classes to learn what I was doing, and pretty themes/share buttons. It all adds up! I’m presuming a physical business is even more expensive. Which is something I doubt I could do. I lack the patience.

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  11. "You've Thoroughly Researched your Target Market" I think this is probably one of the biggest deciding factors of whether or not you will be successful. Not only does it show that you have the drive and motivation to take care of the not so fun work-it will also ensure you have some kind of demand for your idea. This was an excellent, well thought out post!

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