The climb to entrepreneurial success can often be a steep one, but some people see starting their own business as a way of escaping the hells of corporate life. If that’s your only reason for wanting to become an entrepreneur, chances are good that you’ll join the majority of entrepreneurs whose businesses fail within the first 2 years.
But your entrepreneurial journey doesn’t have to end that quickly. In fact, you might be more prepared to handle your own business than you think. Of course we’re assuming you’ve already read this, and are starting your own company for the right reasons.
Are You Prepared to Climb?
Successful entrepreneurs don’t just start their business out of the blue – they put months, or even years of thought and planning into their decision. They also prepare for the obstacles their business will face in the future, and maintain the flexibility to deal with the problems they’re not prepared for.
The perfect analogy for finding out if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur is to picture yourself preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Because like entrepreneurship, it’s an endeavor that’s impossible to accomplish unless you have the following:
You Need the Passion
Buying the best equipment and relying on hope won’t mean much if you feel like quitting once you encounter a challenge. You must have a passion for climbing and the will to resist giving up. It’s the same with business. You need to love what you’re doing despite the inevitable hardships you’ll experience – otherwise, you’ll end up resenting your decision and never become a successful entrepreneur.
You Need the Experience
Climbing Mt. Everest without any previous experience is a surefire recipe for failure, and a dangerous one at that – many inexperienced climbers have died in the attempt. What this means for you as an aspiring entrepreneur is that if you don’t know what you’re doing, your business is almost sure to fail.
That means that if you’re an IT professional with years of experience in data security, resigning to start an Italian restaurant doesn’t leverage career experience as well as a data security business would. And if you’re lacking experience in any aspect of running your business (sales, marketing, customer relationship management), either gain it through self-learning or ask your guide/mentor.
You Need a Guide
Many successful climbers have relied on the experience and direction of a guide to help them reach the summit. In fact, these guides have helped numerous climbers make successfully scale the mountain. In fact, these guides have helped numerous climbers successfully scale the mountain. In a business sense, having a “mountain guide” means finding a mentor who has helped other entrepreneurs navigate through the challenges of running a business.
If you don’t have one, network to find one that’ll share his/her widsom and experience with you.
You Need the Capital
Interestingly enough, climbing Mt. Everest takes roughly the same amount of capital needed to start your own business ($30,000-$100,000). Getting that capital for your business “climb” can come from two places – you’ll can either save up enough to fund your business or have investors/venture capitalists “sponsor” you.
If you fund your business with loans, credit, or by refinancing your home, your finances will take a huge hit if your company folds, so borrow with care.
You Need a Strategy
Choosing a path and evaluating the obstacles and challenges you’ll face along the way is only one part of strategizing for the climb up Mt. Everest. The other part involves preparing yourself both mentally and physically to deal with the realities of a constantly changing environment.
In a business context, this means you must have a comprehensive business plan that analyzes the market atmosphere, the strength of your competitors, how you’ll market your product/service, your financial plan, etc. You’ll also need a SWOT analysis of your business to account for every possible contingency that can occur.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business and have all of the factors above, you’re definitely in a good position to join the minority of businesses who weather the challenges that shut down most businesses within 2 years. Of course, there’s no guarantee your business will succeed, even if you have all of the above.
But you’ll definitely have a fighting chance at success, which better than most businesses lack without even knowing it.
Know any other good indications that someone’s not ready to start their own business? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook!
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