As we move into the new decade more people will venture into business on their own, either by choice or necessity as a result of unemployment. Regardless of how people arrive at this juncture, it is important they fully understand what lies ahead once they become entrepreneurs.
What is an entrepreneur? Webster’s Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as ‘A person who organizes and manages a business undertaking assuming the risks for the sake of profits.’ Saying that you are an entrepreneur is a professional, if not nicer, way of saying you are self employed or are working on your own. Whether you refer to yourself as an entrepreneur or self employed, much of your time will be spent by yourself.
As an entrepreneur you must rely on yourself to start, maintain, and grow your business. Prior to venturing into entrepreneurship it may be prudent to conduct a self-assessment to see if you are ready for the multitude of tasks which lie ahead. Answering these questions about yourself could help gain some clarity.
1. Are you self-aware?
Have you taken a realistic look at what you can and cannot do? Believing that you can do it all would classify you as a jack of all trades. Knowing your business strengths and weaknesses will allow you to play up your strong points and outsource the areas in your business where you are weak.
2. Are you self confident?
As a start up, there will be days when you feel unsure of yourself or your ability to make the business work. Staying informed about your industry will help build your self confidence. When meeting sales prospects plan in advance what you want to cover in your meetings by creating an agenda. Try to practice your presentation in the mirror when introducing your product or service.
3. Are you self-disciplined?
Entrepreneurship is a different experience from the typical nine-to-five job. Do you have the discipline to get up everyday and put in your eight hours or more and do this regularly? Entrepreneurs need to establish a routine as if they were going to an employer’s office. Individuals should be dressed everyday and be ready to leave for an appointment at a moment’s notice. Women should consider putting on their make up as well. There is a different feeling about your business when you are ‘dressed for work’ as opposed to working at your computer in your pajamas.
Being self-disciplined can also mean having the ability to say no to ‘other fun stuff’ which friends are doing. Remembering you are now solely responsible for providing your paycheck will help you keep on track when the ‘join us’ phone calls start to come in.
4. Do you have a high level of self-esteem?
Leaving a job because of downsizing or restructuring is more common these days and can zap your self esteem even if it had nothing to do with your job performance. Draw on a past experience when you felt great about your abilities and accomplishments. Use that experience as a reminder of what you are good at and that you are capable, and then move into your work day with that good feeling.
5. Are you self-motivated?
Entrepreneurship is like being on a roller coaster ride. It has it ups and downs. Getting up to the top of the first loop where the ride speeds off is often slow and can be hard work. Do you have the means to motivate yourself in the early stages before the business actually takes off? Do you have the patience to ride out the times when you’re in a down period? Keeping your vision in front of you and surrounding yourself with positive people can help. Attending business networking sessions or industry seminars will help you stay connected, positive and motivated. Remember, Rome was not built in a day.
6. Do you know your self-worth?
As a start-up individuals have a tendency to price their product or services below market value in the hope of securing new business. The price you charge establishes a perception in the mind of your prospective client – too low and you run the risk of being seen as either cheap or not that good. Research the market to see what your competitors are doing and quote a price similar or even slightly higher and be prepared to speak about the value you offer if questioned about the price.
Like the roller coaster with its ups and downs, the roller coaster car does have a destination. The same is true with your entrepreneurship ride. Stay on track. Continue to persevere and you may just end up as the next self-made business man or woman – rich and successful based on your own actions.