I often have people coming to me with questions when they're getting ready to start their own business. These questions are almost always laced with doubt and lack of confidence, as is to be expected when you're first starting out. It can sometimes be hard to give these people proper advice because they're usually looking for the perfect answer: yes, no matter what. Unfortunately, a "yes, no matter what" answer doesn't really exist – especially in business.
There are times when the cold, hard truth that these entrepreneurs will never want to hear is that they're simply not ready. You can have the best idea of the century, but nothing will come of it if you're not ready for the responsibilities of starting your own company. I came up with my own system to provide those coming to me.
Instead of simply telling the unlucky ones that, in my experienced and honest opinion, they just weren't ready, I shared with them some things that could show a person they were ready to start a business. With this knowledge, they – and you – can know if you're ready now. Even if you're not ready now, at least you'll know in the future when the time is right.
1. You have more than just an idea.
If all you have is a good idea, you're probably not ready yet. However, if you know exactly how you'll execute this good idea, chances are you're ready to make it happen. Always make sure to go into business with a plan, or else your startup will crash and burn before it had a chance to make it off the ground.
2. Your lifestyle allows you to.
Starting a business isn't for everybody. On top of the amount of time and work it will take you, a startup will also cost you a lot of money with the risk of it not paying out in the end. If you have people relying on you in everyday life, this risk may not be worth it. It might be a good idea to have a talk with the people your change of lifestyle will affect before jumping in.
There's a good chance that these people will be there for you and help you adjust. They might even be able to help you with the business. Involving people in your life will hold you accountable. When doing so, however, make sure you know where to draw the line between personal life and business.
3. You're willing to work with other people.
Not wanting to work for somebody else is fine. After all, there won't be anybody above you if you're the CEO. What's not fine, however, is not being willing to work with other people. A business is going to take more than just you to get off the ground. Don't be stubborn, and learn when to accept help. Your business and your results will thank you.
4. You're willing to admit when you're wrong.
Now, there's a chance you might never be wrong when it comes to your business. That chance is unlikely, though. You have to be willing to listen to and take advice from other people. This doesn't mean to follow anything another person says regarding your business, but you do have to be able to take a look at things from an outside perspective when concerns arise.
5. You have other ideas, too.
A good business person has more than just one idea. You must be ready to adapt and adjust to anything when things change. A single good idea won't make a good business in the long run, and that's an important thing to keep in mind when starting out.
6. You have the money.
People can argue all they want that "money doesn't matter", but it does in reality. Starting a business costs money – a lot of it. Now, this doesn't mean all your finances have to come from directly out of your pocket. There are plenty of other opportunities to help your fund your startup. With that said, you need to have a plan for how you'll get the money and then exactly how you'll spend it.
7. You want to start a business.
When it comes down to it, though – even after all that has been said, nothing matters more than the simple fact that you want to start your own business. The other things on this list can be developed, but this one can't. If you don't want to start a business, none of these things even matter. The most important thing is that you have the drive and passion to do whatever it takes to make this thing work. Otherwise, it simply won't.
You can always earn money, come up with more ideas, learn to self-critique and work with other people, adjust your lifestyle, and make a plan. What you can't fake is the desire to start. The old saying "fake it 'til you make it" won't work here, unfortunately. Love what you do, and all things will come from there.