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Starting a business is not something to be taken lightly. However, as a coach, I have found that many clients are better prepared than they take credit for. If you’re wondering if you’re ready, here are five signs to show you how ready you are to manage everything your business has in store for you.
1. You understand that you will never be really “ready”.
Some people think that “being ready” means being fully prepared. However, any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, you cannot prepare for everything that awaits you. Yes, there are absolutes that must be taken into account before lighting the “Open” panel, but these are obvious and are usually the first things checked. The fact is that too often beginning entrepreneurs delay the start-up to be able to tinker and revise. They don’t realize that what they have is good enough to start with.
Now, I’m not advocating starting with something less than your best. Just be aware that there comes a time when continuous adjustments cost you more on time, missed opportunities, or lost revenue than your adjustments would have brought in return.
2. You can sell.
You can have passion and drive. You can have a clear vision of exactly where you want your business to go. You can even have the best product with a killer hook. Unfortunately, none of this will matter if you don’t know how to sell.
When starting a business, selling is essential for your success. But selling isn’t just talking to customers. Investors, partners, your employees, even your spouse and family will have to be sold. In fact, some people will have to be sold and resold. Now, that doesn’t mean knowing how to manipulate people to do what you want. Effective selling is about how well you can communicate an idea so that others can buy into it so they can also own it.
Related: The Only 9 Things You Need to Know About Selling
3. You have a financial plan to stay afloat.
One of the reasons why people never really become entrepreneurs is the financial risk involved. While there is a risk, the way you plan to manage it can make the difference between success and failure.
For some entrepreneurs, it is possible to keep your full-time job while you work part-time to develop your business. This can be a plus if you can count on a regular paycheck as well as other benefits from your employer. However, if your business requires you to be accessible at all times, you could be handicapped by working on your business only for short periods when your full-time job allows.
If your business needs your time and attention all day, every day, to be successful, you should consider having a reserve to cover your living expenses. You will hear that people recommend having enough money for as little as six months or as much as two years. The correct answer is the amount that gives you peace of mind. To start a business, you have to do your best. If you are concerned about living costs instead of making your business a success, then you will not be doing your best for your business.
4. You’ve fired your ego.
If you are too concerned with always being “right” or constantly proving to everyone that you can find out for yourself, you may want to think twice if you are ready to start your business. Errors and unknown territories are part of the startup and will continue as you grow. If you are willing to be the student from time to time, rather than always being the expert, you will find it easier to move forward.
Being an entrepreneur can be a humiliating experience, but that’s when you learn the most about what it takes to be successful. In fact, you should be ready to do jobs that you hate or are of little interest to. For example, if you open a restaurant because you are passionate about cooking, keep in mind that someone will always have to work with the vendors, keep the books, and clean the bathrooms. If your ego tells you that these jobs are below you, then you will close your doors before you know it.
5. You have written a business plan.
When you talk about starting a business, writing a business plan seems like common sense. The problem is that, like diet and exercise, common sense is not always a common practice. I have seen clients who are so overwhelmed with the idea of writing a business plan that they don’t know where to start and quit before they start. I have seen others who are so sure of themselves (there is still this ego) that they claim that they do not need a business plan and that they could better use the time “actually working on the business”.
The beauty of a business plan is twofold. First, it requires you to be clear about what exactly you intend to do and how you will do it. Most people treat generally and generally. When you write it down, you have to be specific. Second, a well-written business plan becomes a living document for your business that evolves from year to year. It becomes not only a way to benchmark and assess your progress, but also a planning tool for the future.
As a coach, I have found that most people who wonder if they are ready just need a vote of confidence and a little help to get started. If you see the signs listed above in your preparation to start your business, consider this your push out of the nest. You may find that you are better prepared than you think.
Related: Business Plans: A Step-by-Step Guide