Can you be an Entrepreneur?

in Money,Working

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Many KAA-Boomers are drawn to the dream of creating their own business, but do you have what it takes to fly solo? Here are a few points to consider BEFORE you strike out on your own.

Many KAA-Boomers are discovering their inner entrepreneur. After years of working for a wage, they find themselves listening to inner promptings and nudges to strike out on their own, create a business and, of course, become wildly successful.

But leaping out on your own without stopping for a moment to reflect and plan is like leaping out of a plane without a parachute. You may be lucky and meet someone who will share their chute on the way down, or you may learn to fly — but you also may crash.

Things to think about

If you are driven by that inner urge to start your own business — no matter what it is -– first take stock to make sure you have the following skills and attitudes that can ensure your success.

Sales and marketing

Every entrepreneur is the managing director of sales and marketing. It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is — if people don’t know about it, and you don’t feel comfortable selling and marketing, then you are more likely to fail than succeed.

Take time to learn sales techniques and marketing strategies. Sign on for some sales and marketing courses at your local community college or Chamber of Commerce, or just surf the net and learn from the wealth of material available online. This is one area you need to be comfortable with.

Administration

Every business has its share of administration. You need to create good systems and procedures so that the administration assists rather than overwhelms you.

Create or find tools to help you manage your email, filing, follow up and basic preparation of documents.

Decision-making

The buck stops with you as an entrepreneur. There are no people you can refer problems to up the line — you are it. How good is your decision-making? Are you willing to make the hard decisions? Are you willing to take the best available option, even if it may fail? Hardest of all, can you re-evaluate your decisions and go back and rework them if they don’t succeed?

Financial skills

Within your own business you have to keep on top of cash flow, debtors and creditors and your taxation obligations in order to keep operational. Develop great financial skills or hire a good bookkeeper and accountant to help out and provide the expertise you need.

Industry-specific knowledge

How well do you know the industry you want to get into? Do you have contacts in the industry? How can you develop more knowledge or contacts?

People management

Entrepreneurs are in the people management business. Clients, employees, your family — all need to be managed; all need a piece of your time and attention. You need to become a consummate people manager.

Physical and emotional stamina

Being an entrepreneur means long hours and commitment. Are you physically and emotionally able to manage the demands?

Problem solving

Creating and running your own business will present a series of problems to be solved. You need to have the capacity to discover the answers and a willingness to implement solutions. You are it — you have no one else you can call on to do it for you (without paying them).

Self-motivation

There will be down days and downright ugly days — you need the power to keep going and not give in.

Time management

There are only so many hours in the day. Being an entrepreneur is not all coffees with friends and clients. What is your system for actually delivering payable work? You need to manage your time wisely.

More tips and tools

Before you give up your day job look back over these questions and find out your areas of strength and challenge.

In your challenge areas, develop the skills you need through training, reading or private research. Or, consider trading expertise in your areas of strength with someone who has the skills you lack.

It is possible to fly — just practice a bit before leaping out of your plane!

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