Starting a business lets you be your own boss while working at a profession you truly love. And while a number of self-employment opportunities exist within the startup ecosystem at the moment, not everyone is suited to the many challenges and uncertainties that come with the job. Before leaving your current position to strike out on your own, check out seven signs that tell you if you’re not ready to start a business.
1. Lack of Funds
No one would say that you have to be independently wealthy to launch a business. The average startup, however, does require some amount of capital to get off the ground. Without financing, owners may struggle to afford fixed expenses, such as office space and insurance, along with variable expenses like salaries and employee supplies.
Further, because founders are obligated to pay employees and lenders before pulling their own salaries, it’s hard to launch a business without at least some money in the bank to get through the tough times. If your savings account is on the lean side, you may want to start building up a nest egg before leaving your day job.
2. Personal Circumstances
Personal and family circumstances can have a profound effect on your ability to succeed as a startup owner. While there may not be an ideal time to start a new business, entrepreneurs should be wary of launching a new venture during a period of personal upheaval. If you’ve recently gotten married, had a baby or suffered the loss of someone close to you, it might be wise to wait a year to get your business off the ground. After all, starting a business is stressful enough without piling personal stressors on top.
3. Lack of Business Know-How
Startup owners don’t need to have the experience level of a corporate CFO to succeed, but a complete lack of business knowledge can be detrimental to your prospects. Before going into business for yourself, consider brushing up on your business skills with a few entry-level marketing and accounting courses at the local college.
You may also want to consult with a financial expert to help you create a business plan, or find yourself a mentor in the field. By shadowing a friend or former co-worker who has struck out on his or her own, you can learn what to expect as an owner and hopefully avoid some of the bigger mistakes.
4. Lack of Support
A good support system is crucial in most aspects of life, and small business ownership is no exception. It’s no secret that the early days of a startup can be dark ones. Along with business mentors and consultants, the savvy entrepreneur should be surrounded by friends, family members and loved ones who support his or her vision.
In fact, in a recent study of entrepreneurs, 69.9% of respondents revealed they were married when they launched their first business. Whether it’s a spouse or a friend, try to find a support person who will be in your corner and stand by you through the lean times.
5. Lackluster People Skills
Having good people skills is essential in the business world. After all, it doesn’t matter how brilliant your business idea is if you can’t convince customers to purchase your goods. If client relations aren’t your forte, consider hiring a point person to handle any customer service issues that may arise. In the long run, the bump in business will more than make up for the price of the worker’s salary.
6. Inability to Get Organized
Are you the type of person who always loses your keys? While it may seem like a minor issue, a chronic inability to get organized can be a serious problem in the startup world. As the owner, you’re responsible for paying workers and suppliers on time and getting shipments out the door when promised. Further, because entrepreneurs are dealing with small margins, little room exists for error. If you can’t keep your due dates straight, think about hiring an experienced administrative assistant to help out with the details.
7. Fear of Failure
It’s no secret that a majority of startups never make it past the five-year mark. When launching a business, however, the fear of failure can be just as detrimental to success as overconfidence. Instead of focusing on all the elements that can go wrong, the most effective startup owners remain optimistic and adaptable throughout the process. If your first idea doesn’t pan out, don’t be afraid to take the business in a different direction or even start over from scratch.
The prospect of launching a startup is certainly exciting. But not everyone has the resources and commitment needed to succeed in the small business sphere. If you suffer from one or more of the above conditions, you may want to keep your day job for now and put your entrepreneurial dreams temporarily on hold.