Do you have what it takes?

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If you’re reading this guide, you’ve probably thought of an idea you believe can become a viable business. Or perhaps you’re just ready to be your own boss. No matter what your motive is, the rewards and risks of starting your own business are great.

Running a business takes a lot of careful planning, time, money, energy — not to mention a lot of guts! Consider the following issues before starting your own company.

Are you willing to devote the time? If you want to work from 9 to 5, then you’re not ready to own a business. Business owners must work many, many hours outside of the normal work schedule. If you think you’ll have more control over your schedule as a business owner, you’re wrong. 

Have you saved enough? It is important for a business owner to understand he or she is often the last person paid. Vendors, suppliers and employees must be paid first. It can take years for businesses to turn a profit. If you plan on using outside money to help start and grow your business, they will expect you to leverage what money you do have – and that can include retirement savings and even your home equity.

Do you have strong leadership and interpersonal skills? As a business owner, leadership is a vital skill. But you must also be good at working with a wide variety of personalities that you’ll encounter among customers, vendors, suppliers, lawyers, accountants and employees.

Are you organized? Being organized is a requirement for business owners. They must keep detailed records of daily operations, including the ability to keep track of employees, finances, production and other areas of the business.

Are your family members willing to support your decision? Running your own business will affect your family in many ways. You’re likely to have less time to spend with them — especially in the startup phase. In addition, can you depend on a second-income earner if the business takes time to make a profit?

Are you flexible? Business owners need a personality that adjusts well to unexpected problems. You also must be willing to handle all tasks (many tedious) when you begin — including answering phones, crunching numbers and cleaning your office/work space.

Industry knowledge. Do you have significant knowledge and experience in the industry you are about to enter? The more you know about your industry, the more likely you are to succeed.

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