Should you start a business? - Five simple questions to help you decide
5th September, 20140 Comments
In my career as a coach, I have had many entrepreneurial minded clients coming to me, defining their problem as "I hate my job and need to find a new one." Most of them enjoy the chance to complain a bit and expect us to dive right into improving CVs and writing up motivational letters, so they are surprised when I ask the single most important question there is to ask when you are on a crossroad: What is it that you really really REALLY want? In my profession, having assumptions about client's replies is frowned upon, but I already expect answers similar to "Well, in a perfect world I would have a business doing X, but ..." and I am often right.
In today's fragile economy being hesitant about investing time and money in your own venture, hoping you will end up doing what you love for a living, is quite normal. When I was first considering quitting my well paid corporate job to be a coach and a writer, I was terrified! The lack of financial stability, doubts in our capabilities, fear of failure or success, not knowing where to start are just a few of the reasons we come short of reaching our real, big and scary professional goals ... and they are good reasons!
But not good enough. The truth is nothing is ever certain - not your well paid job, nor your promotion next year. Staying where you are (or repeating a similar pattern) seems compelling because you have already done it (so it's easy) and most of the people around you do it (so it must be right). In his book "Awaken the giant within", Tony Robins explains that when you feel emotional pain, the instinctive reaction is to run away from it. When you run away from something, your focus goes on escaping the problem, rather than finding a permanent solution. This is why switching the job you hate with another job you will eventually hate, looks like a good option at the time.
However, time is a limited resource and I bet you wouldn't want to wake up one day, retired and regretful that you repeated the same pattern over and over and never even tried to do more. So, for just a moment, let's focus on your in-a-perfect-world business. Here are the questions you need to have answers for in order to understand whether you should move forward.
1. What do you want to achieve? - Understanding whether you would like a small business and more time to spend with your family, or you would like to be the next Richard Branson will give you a clear idea of whether starting a business is in line with your system of values.
2. How would I spend my days if I succeed? - Spare a few minutes to consider the positive outcome and realise whether it would truly make you happy.
3. What is at risk? - Consider how much money, time and energy you would need to put in and are you fine with it. If not, look into options for minimising the risk, like starting smaller for example.
4. What is plan B? - I always tell my clients to focus on the positive, but it would be silly not to spend any time considering possible failure. What would failure look like? What would help you define it is time to move on? What would you move on to? This all should go in your plan B.
5. What is stopping me? - Once you identify what's stopping you, focus on the possible solutions. Brainstorming is a great tool to do that - just list all options you can think of and prioritize.
If you are happy with the answers of the above questions, you are ready to start working on your business, and as Grand Cardone says " If you will do it eventually, I suggest we cut time out of the picture and let's do this."
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Karen Hayns MSc - Future PerfectSeptember 11th, 2017