5 things to consider before starting a business for the first time

When clients come to me wanting to completely change their career, some of them wonder whether it is a good idea to start their own business.

Being your own boss is an exciting prospect, but as we all know, going into business is risky so it can be really difficult to decide if it’s the right thing to do. 

Recently my partner made this move and opened a pizza restaurant (Mamma Ke Pizza).

Being a career transition coach, it was only natural that I asked questions to help him decide on this important move.

Going through this experience with my partner, and from working with previous coaching clients, I have discovered 5 useful questions you can ask yourself to help you weigh things up.

1 – How new are you to entrepreneurship?

Going from salaried employment to business owner is a huge leap. The people I have seen with successful businesses have usually had prior experience in generating their own income. 

My partner, Marco, went from paid employment, to freelance food consultant before he opened his restaurant. Being self-employed, he learned how to network, how to negotiate with clients, develop his services and run his own show. He learned what it was like to ‘go it alone’ and not rely on a regular salary from an employer. 

His entrepreneurial mindset was already quite developed before he started his own restaurant. Phew! 

If you don’t already have this kind of experience, perhaps consider a side-hustle to feel what it’s like to make your own money. 

2 – What experience do you have with the kind of business you want to own?

Working within the restaurant industry as a director for 15 years, then as a consultant working with restaurant owners in Nicaragua, Portugal and Spain, Marco had a deep knowledge of the field. He knew how the industry worked before taking the plunge with his own venture.

Without this experience, Marco would have been stepping into the unknown, making the journey much more difficult and risky. Opening your own restaurant without prior experience is an expensive way to learn the ropes!

If you don’t have hands-on experience already, I would consider taking a part-time job within the type of business you want to start. Consider it as paid research.

3 – Do you know where your blinds spots are?

Through our coaching sessions, Marco realised that he had been unconsciously undervaluing his services as a consultant. Going over past mistakes can be an uncomfortable process but this is a crucial habit for all entrepreneurs to develop. 

Nobody likes to be confronted with their own shortcomings, but with every blind spot you uncover, you are minimising risk and improving your chances of success.

Successful entrepreneurs make a ritual out of assessing where they are going right, and the things they need to improve on going forward (I have suggested that Marco do the same 😄 ).

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success

Ariana Huffington

4 – Do you know exactly what skills are needed to run the business?

What skills do you bring to the table? And if you’re partnering with someone, what skills do they bring? 

Before starting a business it’s a good idea to do a skills audit to identify the things you can do, and the things you can’t. If you can’t afford to hire people, you’ll need to learn new skills to fill the gaps, i.e. learning how to do the bookkeeping, social media, run email campaigns etc. 

Be honest about what roles need to be covered, what you are prepared to do yourself and whether it is even viable to do so. 

5 – How will you motivate yourself to keep going?

Marco learned that patience is key, because things do not happen overnight.  

Strategising, planning, launching and growing a business takes time. All the while, the idea of going back to a job with a monthly pay-check is lurking in the back of your mind. In the early stages (which can sometimes be years), so many business owners think about throwing in the towel on a daily basis.

Business is a big learning curve, and setbacks are normal. You will need motivation and stamina to see you through. This is one of the reasons why some people hire a business coach.

The entrepreneur’s journey is not easy. However, with the right attitude of learning from mistakes, it will be enjoyable and could be the making of you.

Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.

Roy T. Bennett
Sylvia Nicolas

Sylvia Nicolas
Verified Coach
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Sylvia is a career transition coach. With one-to-one online coaching she helps people discover a new career path and make the practical steps towards it. Email sylvia@snhumanresourcesconsulting.com to find out more or book a free consultation with Sylvia right now.

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