All this takes perseverance and resolve. You have to make sure that you are up for the challenge when the going gets tough because it definitely will. You may notice a consistent point I am making throughout the article: that things may take much longer than you would hope or initially estimate. Make sure you are financially prepared and have ways to support yourself through the hard times.
6) Do You Have The Emotional Stamina?
Once you start a business, there will be times when it may seem like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and they are collapsing. There will be times when it will seem like no one cares about your business and it will fail. There will be days when nothing goes right, when the phone does not ring with calls from customers and your mail box will be stuffed with bills. Everything you will want to happen will take longer than you would prefer. Your close ones may lose faith in you as a business person. Your partners may decide to quit. Your spouse and other close ones will inevitably complain that you spend more time on your business than with them, and they will be correct. There will be money issues and hundreds of other little pressures will come from every direction. They will give you an uneasy feeling of constant pressure and urgency, which will make you take wrong and hurried business decisions.
I am not exaggerating. It is likely that at some point this will all happen. It isn't a nightmare scenario. To some it is just Tuesday afternoon. It is all about how mentally tough you are, and how prepared you are to deal with these issues when they come up. We are all human and without being prepared for all of this to happen, it is likely that most of us will crumble under such pressure. Make sure you have enough mental fortitude to not be affected too much by these things and try to have ways to deal with each of the points mentioned above in constructive ways.
Get "buy-in" from your family and make sure they are supportive. Have plan-B for generating at least some cash and changes within the team. Make sure you can persevere.
7) Are You at Least a Little Insane?
The risks I had mentioned above are tremendous. To realize what is at stake and still move forward does take a little insanity and extreme risk pursuit. I am no psychologist, but time and time again, I see examples of successful entrepreneurs being people who are slightly off keel. Who else would risk money, health, potential family problems and more, all in pursuit of something that is not guaranteed? Reasonable and logical people simply realize the great risk, and pick something else. Being driven to the point of being slightly insane will really help you move forward.
8) How Driven Are You, Really?
Some people think it is fun to start companies, and that after a short time they might sell the company and get rich. As I mentioned before, that is not how things usually work out. It takes years of grueling work and tremendous emotional ups and downs. You have to fight for every small win, just to realize how insignificant it was in your overall success path, and that ultimately you will need hundreds or thousands of such small wins to grow your company.
There is also the finance question where quite often more money can be made working a traditional job. Many people simply quit or lose interest along the way. Only few very determined people carry on through all the tough times. Before starting a company, ask yourself whether you have enough drive for the particular project or entrepreneurship in general, to make it through the tough times and persevere.
9) Vetting Business Ideas
Once you get all the risk tolerance, determination, and perseverance questions out of the way, the question becomes: what business should I start? This obviously deserves an article (or an entire book) to itself, but here are just a few key points that should be considered:
- Does the business solve a pain point that someone else has, or does the business make their life somehow easier or better?
- Is the business in a space in which you have passion, experience, and savvy?
- Make sure you have the resources to compete in the market you choose. Big ideas and goals require lots of resources (time, people and money).
- Talk to as many people as possible to get second opinions on your ideas to see how these ideas resonate with others. It will help you get opinions from many different points of view, and help you in case you are missing some piece of logic, or realization.
10) Getting Started
This is such a simple and fundamentally crucial step. Thinking and talking about business ideas can be fun, but unless you start, the conversations about starting a company will get old and boring to the point of being irritating. At some point, one just has to start. None of the good ideas will come true if you don't start to work on them. Regardless whether in theory your idea is plausible or implausible, you can make it work if you put in an unbelievable effort.
The secret of having a successful business is to at some point start working on it. The secret of getting started is breaking the huge challenge into small and manageable tasks. Then just start on the first one and off you go -- good luck.