September 2011 Should You Start a Business
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Should You Start a Business?

By Steve Strauss. ARCHIVE:

With summer ending and school starting, with the leaves about to turn and change in the air, this happens to also be the time of year when many would-be entrepreneurs start thinking about finally starting that business. So in this blog and the next few, I am going to look at what it takes to start, run, and grow that new business.

Let’s start today with an analysis of pros and cons of becoming an entrepreneur.

The pros of starting a business are these:

Control: Even if you love your boss and job, the possibility still remains that you can be laid off at any time. Your boss can be transferred and your company could go out of business. So in many ways, starting your own business puts you more in control of your work and career (although, of course, with that control comes increased responsibility. As the boss the buck will stop with you. You are the one who has to meet payroll. You are the one who has to make sure that clients and customers stick around.)

Money: There is usually a limit as to how much money you can make when you are an employee. As such, many people choose to start their own business for the simple reason that they think that they are worth more than they are making or that they want the chance to provide a better life for their family.

Creativity and independence: If you feel stagnant in your current job, you won’t feel stagnant for long if you start a business. Running your own business may require that you be the marketing wizard, salesman, bookkeeper, secretary, and president all rolled into one. It is a hectic life.

Freedom: Working at your own business gives you the flexibility to decide when and where you will work. The freedom that comes with being your own boss, where no one can tell you what to do or how to do it, may be the best thing about being an entrepreneur.

But there are also definite downsides to starting your own business:

Uncertainty: The hardest part of being in business for yourself is that there is no steady source of income; a paycheck does not come every two weeks.

Risk: What is an entrepreneur? It is someone who is willing to take a risk with money to make money. Not all entrepreneurial ventures are successful. It is the willingness to take a smart, calculated risk that is the hallmark of a smart entrepreneur. But even calculated risks are still a risk.

Lack of structure: Many people like the structure of working for someone else. They know what is expected of them and how things will look most days. That simply is not true when you work for yourself. It’s very unpredictable.

You need to consider carefully both these risks and rewards before deciding to jump in. It is easy to become infatuated with the idea of owning your own business. But if you are going to do it right, if you are going to be successful, you need to take the emotion out of the equation. You have to begin to think like a businessperson, consider the risks, and make an informed, intelligent, calculated decision.