So you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. There are many benefits to owning your own business (such as being your own boss, controlling your brand, creating a legacy, etc.). Every business owner has a different story that first motivated them to pursue their entrepreneurial goals. There are many, however, whose fear of the unknown prevents them from realizing their true potential. In this article, we will take a combative stance against your fears and prove to you that you have what it takes right now to turn your ambition into the career of your dreams.
“I’m not sure if it’s worth it to become an entrepreneur.”
First thing’s first. Let’s highlight a few reasons why you’re considering this path in the first place as you decide if this is the right future for you. Here are a few perks of becoming a business owner:
- Flexibility - you call the shots. Your time is your own. You set the hours.
- Create your own environment - you have the power to design a work environment that best suits your unique needs and interests.
- Better your community - become a valuable member of your community’s culture. This is your chance to be the change that you wish to see.
- Create an asset - your business is always sellable. Give yourself some wiggle room when planning your retirement.
- Pursue your passion - this almost goes without saying. One of the best perks of owning your own business is that you are giving yourself permission to work towards your best, happiest life.
“I don’t know if I’m ready to become a business owner.”
Unfortunately, it will never feel like the perfect time to take over a business. No matter how long you wait, you’ll never be experienced enough, you’ll never have enough capital, and you’ll never have zero risk. There’s always a chance that your business will fail, but there’s also always a chance that it will succeed. Here are a few signs that you are ready to become an entrepreneur¹:
1. Your job is no longer fulfilling
Typically people stop feeling fulfilled when they aren’t able to do the work that they want to do. Often, this is because someone else is calling the shots. If you’re thrilled about the idea of setting your own schedule, delegating your own tasks, and tackling the work you want to tackle, it may be time to pursue entrepreneurship.
2. You understand the risks of business ownership
Do your research (like reading this blog post)! You may be aware of some of the more obvious risks (such as losing capital investment, losing your current job, running into legal problems, etc.), but it is always possible that you will run into problems that you didn’t expect. Utilize the power of the internet. Talk to other entrepreneurs in your area. Read a few books. Knowledge is power!
3. You have a support system
Very few entrepreneurs are able to go it alone. While you might be the only person making decisions at the top, you’re going to need friends, family members, resources, and mentors who can guide you through the toughest decisions and be there to pick you up when you inevitably fall.
4. You know what’s important to you
Some people go their whole lives without realizing what’s actually important to them. They may think that being their own boss is what matters to them, but feel unfulfilled when they actually attain that position. Take a critical look at your motivations for becoming an entrepreneur. Are they rooted in perceptions you have about how great entrepreneurship is? Or are they more focused on what you truly want out of life? Only you can make this distinction.
“I’m not sure that now is the right time for me to buy a business.”
Are you sure about that? Make way for the “silver tsunami”. Thousands of baby boomer business owners are starting to retire, and looking to hand off their life’s work. That spells opportunity. Let’s review a few reasons that explain why now is such a good time to buy².
- Over the next 20 years, retiring business owners will sell or bequeath $10 trillion worth of assets, held in more than 12 million privately owned businesses, according to Forbes Magazine.
- In the coming years, with the ageing of entrepreneurs, the volume of business transfers is expected to become increasingly significant, according to a report by OECD Ministerial Conference on Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
- Small business transactions are up 15% from 2015 and have reached the highest levels since the second quarter of 2008, just before the start of the Great Recession, according to an October 2016 report.
- The longer you wait, the more you’ll pay. Median asking prices are also on the rise, from $200,000 in the third quarter of 2015 to $216,000 today, states Inc Magazine.
“I don’t know how/what to prepare before taking over a business.”
We don’t blame you. But fear not, we’ve compiled a list to help you feel confident that you’ve come prepared¹:
1. Research, research, research
Did we mention research? Think about what kind of business you want to own. How might your professional experience give you an edge? Before you can make a decision about which future to pursue, delve into your prospective industry to learn as much as you can.
2. Connect with people who can be good matchmakers
Once you’ve decided on the kind of business you want to own, you’ll need to find owners who are ready to sell. Luckily, Tresle makes this easy. Simply browse our database of available businesses for sale and request to match with your favourites!
3. Get to know your potential customers and competitors
You wouldn’t want to buy a grocery store, for instance, in a town with 100 other grocery stores. Take a hard look at the world that you are stepping into. What is it that makes this business and its customers special?
4. Be ready to add value - even to a successful business
If you’re buying a company because you want to be your own boss but don’t plan on making any changes once you take over, keep your day job. Before you buy, figure out what you can do to move a business in a new direction or enter new markets, for example. That’s the only way you’ll see any real returns from your efforts.
5. Figure out how to appeal to the owner
While private equity firms have been scooping up more small businesses in recent years, prospective individual buyers may have an edge; many retirees want to sell to someone with similar values, hopes, and dreams. If the original owner has poured 30 years of her life into the business, let her know that her baby will be your business for the next 30.
6. Closing is a process, so be patient
Buying a business is like closing on a house: There are still steps you have to take after the papers are signed in order to fully complete the deal. You may need a new federal employer identification number, for example, new tax numbers, new or transferred business licenses, and a new registered agent. Make sure you’re prepared to tackle all of this.
7. Draw up a 100-day plan
Plan how you’ll execute the first 100 days of your ownership, and be ready to move quickly on your plans. Always remember: If you’re not looking for new ways to grow, your competitors are. So the first few months in business really count.
So there you have it. We’ve highlighted some of the most common fears that new entrepreneurs face, as well as provided solutions and advice on how to overcome them. As the late/great Mr. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
With that, stay tenacious and remember to believe in yourself and your potential - you’ve got this.
¹ DeMers, J. (2015, April 6). 5 Signs You're Ready to Start Your Own Business. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244664
² Stein, K. (2016, November 16). Forget Startups - Just Buy A Small Business From A Retiring Entrepreneur. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from https://www.fastcompany.com/3065706/forget-startups-just-buy-a-small-business-from-a-retiring-entrepreneur