1. Have I done the right amount of research?

The excitement of a small business start up can cause new small business owners to be too hasty. Often driven by the mistaken belief that some imaginary boat will be missed if the business isn't started NOW, this haste can result in the cutting of corners, particularly in the area of research

You need to research potential markets, the activities of competitors, the mechanics of the business, financial projections and methods of marketing

However, too much research can signal and fuel procrastination. Many prospective business owners remain just that - prospective - rendered motionless under the weight and anxieties caused by research excess.

Do your best to strike a happy medium between these extremes.

2. Have I been realistic about the pitfalls?

If you’re a new small business start up, you’ll know there are risks involved. It’s really important, though, you draw the distinction between risk and irresponsibility. In a nutshell, risk is not usually terminal. Sure the business itself might fail, but the possibility of loss will have been foreseen and personal disaster will generally have been avoided. Irresponsibility on the other hand generally indicates that pitfalls have been blatantly ignored

When risks takers don't pull it off, it's onto the next. When the irresponsible fail, it's lose everything and head back to employment.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business startup section.

3. Am I cut out to working on my own?

Working for yourself sounds like bliss and to many it is. To others, however, it's lonely, isolating and downright destructive.

Before starting out on your own, take a good look at your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself these questions as a starter:

  • In what way may my behaviours sabotage my business?
  • Am I a good problem solver?
  • Will I interact with enough people during the week?
  • Can I strike the balance between freedom and discipline?

The answers will help reveal your readiness to go it alone. 

4. Can I handle administrative tasks AND develop my business?

'How did I get here?' is a far too common complaint of the small business owner. Just a few months into the business and the optimism of the pre-launch period has been replaced with mountains of paperwork and endless action lists. At this point, days can go by when nothing gets done.

This can be due to insufficient thought being given to the mechanics of the business, i.e. a lack of procedures. Formulate procedures beforehand and you’ll find it easier to keep control of your business once you’re up and running.

5. Do I have sufficient financial reserves?

Commonly, small business start ups are under funded with insufficient reserves to survive the development period. Here we see the new business owner opting for the "she'll be right" seat of the pants approach to business - not a sensible strategy.

Of course occasionally we hear of an under-capitalised business that launches and succeeds effortlessly. But ever wondered why it's so newsworthy?

Imagine trying to promote, market and network your business when you're anxious about whether you'll meet the next rent payment. Not only is it very personally draining, it becomes very apparent to others that you're in difficulty.

It's a harsh reality, but few want to give custom to a business that appears to be failing. Make sure you have the funds to ride out the storm.

In conclusion, much is spoken of the high percentage of new small business start ups that fail. Don't let yours become a statistic. Do your preparation and get ready for the best journey of your life!

“ Many prospective business owners remain just that - prospective - rendered motionless under the weight and anxieties caused by research excess. ”
 
Robert Gerrish

Robert Gerrish is one of the Flying Solo crew and supports soloists as a coach and consultant. He presents at conferences and networking events and bangs on to the media or anyone who listens, about all things micro. Along with Sam Leader and Peter Crocker, he's the co-author of Flying Solo – How to go it alone in business.

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