Starting a small business takes a lot of courage. But, as they say, courage doesn't pay the bills. To be successful — to stay in business — you need more than courage. You need a combination of hard work, skill, perseverance, and good old-fashioned luck.
Generally, people who start their own businesses can be grouped into two broad categories. The first group consists of people who know exactly what they want to do and are merely looking for the opportunity or resources to do it. Usually, these people have already developed many of the skills necessary to succeed in their chosen field. They are also likely to be familiar with industry customs and practices, which can help during the startup phase of a new business.
The second group consists of people who want to start their own business, but don't have any real definite ideas about what they'd like to do. While these people have developed skills in the course of their employment or education, they may not be interested in opening a business in the same field of endeavor.
How you proceed will depend, in large part, on which group you're in. For those who know what they want to do, the task is a bit easier. There's no need to research business ideas and opportunities to decide which might be suitable. Instead, these folks can jump right in and assess their chances for success in the type of business they've selected. Those who merely want out of the traditional corporate world have an extra step: choosing the right small business for you.
In this section, we'll take a closer look at just how much hard work, skill, and perseverance you'll need if you're to be successful. (We can't do much about the luck.) We'll try to give you a sense of what you can expect from a small business, as well as what a small business will expect from you.
To evaluate your own aptitude for small business ownership, you need to: