10 Things to Consider Before You Quit Your Job to Start a Business

Gary C. Bizzo  |

Let’s be clear from the start: some people will never make it as an entrepreneur. Some people don’t have the temperament, patience or the personal resources to start a business. A client wanted to open a bed and breakfast because she wanted to write off her house on her taxes. Great idea, but she hated people, not a good trait in the hospitality business. Some people are risk-aversive, doubt their abilities, or like to follow others. The variables are endless.

There are many considerations; some are skills you can learn, some that need to be part of your psyche. Here are a few to consider.

1. Do You Hate Your Job?

I’ve never really hated a job I’ve had, but I despised a boss or two; not that I have had that many. To be stuck in a job that's going nowhere, that is full of endless aggravation from a micromanager or having a boss who is an idiot can drive some people to drink. I can’t imagine working to retirement under a boss like that - but many do.

2. How are You with Time Management?

A client determined at the beginning of her home-based business that she would not accept calls from friends or family during her business day. She would not watch television or do housework to avoid compromising her business. She had a set work-day, a home office complete with dedicated phone line and a lockable door. She had the perfect setup to avoid interruptions. Most of us have problems defining our time for work. I’ve had retired friends call me for a lunch at the pub, or a client suggest a golf day because he wants to get out of the office. It’s tough to be dedicated to time management.

3. Do You Need Capital? If so, Where Will You Get It?

Many entrepreneurs forget about a startup budget, inventory to match demand, whiteboards, and office supplies when deciding to begin a businesses. Open the doors, and they will come, they believe. Marketing costs money. What resources do you actually have available in credit lines versus loans? Can you borrow from family and friends? Know your limits and your available resources.

4. Be Prepared

Create a business plan, at least with that in place you can plan for unforeseen circumstances, determine changes in trends and allow for price increases from your suppliers. It’s not really a Plan B, but it is putting some thought into a contingency plan, so you’re not caught with your pants down.

5. You Must Be the Jack of All Trades in the Beginning

I’ve talked about Michael Gerber’s, EMyth enough for people to know that we all start off as a technician in our business. In the beginning, most of you won’t have the money to pay others to work for you, so you must have an understanding of accounting, your business, marketing and sales. Basic knowledge will get you through to the next step, but knowing when to bring in pros or employees is imperative.

6. A SWOT Analysis

This is a very important step in any business plan, and a personal favorite analysis of mine to perform for people considering whether they want to take that plunge into entrepreneurship. SWOT is an acronym for S (Your Strengths), W (Your Weaknesses), O (Opportunities in the market place) and T (Threats that will bring your business crashing down). It’s important to know how to mitigate the ones that you are weak in.

7. Know Your Customers & Your Competitors

Unless you know who your customers are, you shouldn’t be in business – it’s called demographics. A guy I shared an office with years ago gave me his business plan to read. He was selling computerized services to artists. He stated in his business plan that there are 6 billion people in the world and 4 billion had computers, so they were his target customers, lol. His business plan went even further downhill from there. Almost as important to knowing your customer is knowing your competition, analyzing what they are doing to acquire customers and how this process could be improved. Sun Tzu, author of the “Art of War”, said ‘Know your friends and keep your enemies closer’.

8. Are Your Friends & Family on Board?

If your beer drinking buddies and your family aren’t with you on this, it will be an uphill battle. Friends love to distract you from your new business; some of it may even be jealousy - they don’t want to change the status quo. If you have to go home to a nagging partner, that will be detrimental to your business too. Keeping everyone happy is a chore!

9. How Much Time Are You going to Give It?

Let’s be realistic, if you have a finite amount of money, you have to know how long you can survive before you make money from your business. Unless you have a wonderful working wife who will pay the bills, be prepared to decide how long your resources can support the business, or have an alternative resource for funding.

10. Keeping Your Options Open

It’s so nice to be able to go back to your old job if the business fails after months, so don’t leave in a bad state of mind or beat that terrible boss over the head with his laptop. Sometimes it's an option to go back to your old job, because let’s face it, some people just can’t make it as an entrepreneur.

Remember, starting a business is a milestone in your life, so use any tools at your disposal to determine if all your ducks are in a row before leaving that comfy day job.

(Photo by Abraham Hicks)

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

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