Getting Started

Is Starting a Business Right for Me?

If you’ve ever considered starting your own business, you may have wondered if that’s the right thing for you to do.  While starting a business has its rewards, it’s not the best option for everyone. This week, we’re looking at what you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to start your own business.

Why do you want to start a business?

Are you looking to start a business because you’re unsatisfied with your current situation – you don’t like your boss, think you’re underpaid, or because you want to work less? Yes, the kind of freedom and wealth that you want can come from owning your business, but it takes significant time and effort to get there. You may not get what you need during the initial phases of business development. As such, it’s important that you are starting a business because it’s aligned with what you value and know it’s something you can’t not explore.

Are you willing to take some risks?

You will be taking risks with your personal time, money, social capital, and other resources to figure out whether your product or service idea is feasible and whether or not you can create a sustainable business out of it.  Consider your tolerance for putting yourself out there and taking that risk. Think about the timeframe, budget, and social capital you are willing to allocate to pursuing the idea.  And, ask yourself whether that will be sufficient to really give your business idea a chance.  Be honest with yourself.  If you’re only comfortable giving it a few months, that’s probably not enough time to get a business off the ground.

Do you trust your decision-making capabilities?

Starting a business requires you to make decisions constantly. Do I quit my full-time job or keep it and work on this business on the side? Do I add a certain feature to my product or service? Do I work with a set of customers? Do I market the business through certain channels? Do I set up a legal entity for the business? Do I continue to bootstrap or find outside financing? Do I hire employees? And, the list goes on. Consider how you handle decisions in your everyday life. Ask yourself if you have the trust and confidence in yourself to identify the right questions to ask, do the research, weigh your options and make informed decisions.

Are you willing to wear many hats?

At the earliest stage of starting a business, you are the only one associated with the business, and therefore, the only one to turn the idea into reality. And, that takes a lot of work, and may not seem as interesting as developing and delivering your product or service. You will find yourself getting into the details of designing operational processes, creating marketing messages, selling the product, negotiating contacts, managing finances, and eventually hiring other people. You’ll need to figure out which skillsets you already have and what you need to learn in order to get the business in a position to bring on other people and share the responsibility.

Do you have the personal support?

The first few years of building a business can be challenging in terms of time commitment, financial impact, and emotional ups and downs. It’s important to think carefully about the potential impact on your personal relationships. Have conversations with your friends and family about the time commitment and make sure they are supportive of your entrepreneurial endeavors. Having a deep level of support from your network will make the process of starting a business less daunting.

If you’re ready to start your own business, you may be interested in our upcoming Launching a Business class at our San Francisco or Oakland business accelerators. The deadline to apply is September 15.