Given the limitations brought on by the pandemic, it may not be the best time to start a business. But, heck, quite possibly you have spare time. So how about using that time to plan that business you would love to own? How thoroughly you plan could very well make the difference between the success or failure of your venture. But just where do you begin?
As an initial step, you might want to decide if you have the temperament to successfully run your own business. While there’s no one way to decide if business ownership is right for you, you can start with Small Business Trends’ 10-question entrepreneur quiz.
With that basic yea or nay, you should then consider your personality, how willing you are to take on risk, what your passions are, and whether or not you have access to whatever start-up funding you’ll need.
Personality: To thine own self be true
Will your personality help or hinder you? How do you know if you have the disposition to succeed at business ownership? Even though you know your own best qualities (and undoubtedly, those blights on your soul, too), you can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator© for reinforcement on the qualities that define you. When an agency I worked for had all of its employees take the test, I thought my Myers-Briggs results, INFP (introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving) described me pretty darn accurately.
According to the Myers-Briggs team, people fall into one of 16 personality types. Each is made up of four dominant traits. You lead off as either an extrovert or an introvert. That result is further delineated with three other qualities: sensing or intuition, judging or perceiving, and thinking or feeling.
There are lots of websites offering Myers-Briggs or similar types of tests where you can get free basic results. Expanded reports are offered for payment, but when I recently took the test for the second time I found plenty of information in the free version. I took the test on the Truity.com website.
Once you know your personality type, Truity gives you suggestions on how you can implement it in your choice of business or career. I found a great blog post: What Business You Should Start, Based on Your Personality Type. The post is divided into two parts, one for rationalists and idealists and the other for artisans and guardians. You’ll find fascinating rundowns for choosing a business based on who you are and your dominant traits.
Indeed.com suggests career choices in its Job Compatibility for the 16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types.
Willingness to take on risks or having a marketable skill
Being risk-averse doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t successfully start and run your own business. If you don’t have a lot of money or the luxury or imperative to throw out caution and just go for it, you could set up an internet-based business where you don’t have to put out a huge outlay of cash. Like me, you could begin a freelance writing career. You can base your own startup on your knowledge about building websites, helping others keep their business organized by serving as a personal assistant, performing bookkeeping, or providing marketing services, for example. Consulting in your field of specialty is also an option. Some people build blog pages that become wildly popular and that are then ripe for other businesses to advertise on. Lots of people may be willing to pay for your knowledge by enrolling in online courses.
If you can find funding and don’t mind the risk, you can open a retail or service-based business.
Matching your choice of business to your passions
What is it that excites you, defines you, takes you for hours on end into that world where time seems to fall away? You’ll probably have a greater chance to make your business thrive when you do something you care passionately about. A popular maxim advises to do what you love, and you won’t ever work, although there’s probably a certain amount of drudgery even when you run a business that excites you.
Sorry, but you should do your fair share of research, too
Like it or not, researching your idea is a vital early step. Take off those blinders to see if what you propose to offer, whether it be a product or a service, is needed. Is there a market for your startup? If that answer is yes, you then take a look around to see who your competitors are. If that market is crowded, will you be able to get a footing and stand out from the pack?
Some good old hard cash
Funding is a whole issue by itself. How much money will it take? Do you have access to the finances needed to make a go at it? Being short of funds yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t open your own doors. Government funds and grants are available. You might want to turn to the Small Business Administration for ideas on where you can get the funding required.
Obviously, between the big three – personality, market need, and funding (as well as other considerations), you have lots to toy with before launching a business. The Balance Small Business article, How to Evaluate a Business Idea Before Taking the Plunge goes into detail on factors to consider when answering these and related questions.
May the way be productive and the end successful as you embark on a journey toward becoming your own boss!