The American Dream used to mean owning your own home. The new American Dream is owning your own business. Many people are convinced that they will never achieve total job satisfaction by working for someone else.
Is this a good time to start up a new business? The answer is yes and no. If you are even asking the question, it is an indicator that you have the entrepreneurial spirit. Dramatic increases in technology have greatly reduced the barriers to starting a business. On the other hand, the statistics on business start up failure are daunting.
Here are seven qualities you need for starting your own business. Whether you are joining the software revolution, opening up a franchise or just becoming an independent contractor, consider these criteria before launching.
- Differentiation – The last thing we need is another dry cleaner in town. What is special and distinctive about your business? What is different about your approach to the business? How are you neat, cool, exciting? Build this into your business up front, and you are on your way toward success.
- Details – You can have a neat, cool, exciting business; but if you can’t handle the rush crowd, have dirty washrooms, miss deadlines and generally disappoint customers, you will put yourself out of business. Successful start-ups develop a strategy to satisfy customers when the initial rush hits, and then have a secondary process after the rush dies. Remember the devil is in the details — sweat the details.
- Passion – This passion has to be for your business and what it does that is special, but it also has to be for your customers You probably have that passion. But what about the people that represent you? Will everyone, even the answering service, give the impression that they care about your business and about your customers?
- Community – It is not only the bank that gets involved with the community. Become a volunteer, join local events, and build that network of contacts. Even if you think your business cannot really benefit from local networking, get involved anyway. You’ll be surprised at the connections you can make.
- Accounting System – Set up your financial system early on — even when you haven’t made a profit yet. Your knowledge of where the money goes and how profits are made is critical.
- Confidant – If you have a spouse or close friend that you can share your deepest concerns with, consider yourself lucky. Entrepreneurship is tough. You will need a sounding board who is non threatening and supportive.
- Courage – You need the courage to launch, to step out in faith even though there is no guarantee of success. One way to get that courage is to plan and prepare thoroughly in advance. Planning out your strategy in writing will give you the confidence you need to launch.
But that’s not enough. You also need the courage to endure, to persist, to stay at it once you have launched. You’ll need the courage to hang in there when the going gets tough. Persistence is a measure of how much you believe in yourself and in your business idea.
So, before you mortgage your home to open up that new business, ask yourself, “Do I have these seven key qualities to make a go of a new business venture?”