Many people dream about owning their own business. They imagine what it would be like to be the boss, to set their own hours, to work at a job they love, to collect the profits and to reap the tax advantages they imagine every small business owner enjoys.
Perhaps you’re one of them.
You possess a talent or skill you believe could be the basis for a profitable service business. Or, you’ve designed — maybe even patented — a tool or gadget you’re sure many would pay good money to own. Or, you’re seriously thinking about opening a retail shop downtown now that sales of your handcrafted earrings, necklaces and bracelets among family and friends seem to be taking off.
Scenarios such as these have spawned many a new enterprise, and dreams do become reality, just not overnight. Before you take the entrepreneurial plunge, there is a great deal of thinking, planning and plain old-fashioned paperwork to be done. You can succeed in business, but not, as the title of that familiar Broadway musical would have you believe, “without really trying.”
Anyone who has ever dreamed about becoming an entrepreneur will find plenty of food for thought inside this magazine. But the readers who will get the most from these pages are the ones who want to make their dreams of business ownership come true.
This is a practical guide that goes well beyond simply describing what it’s like to own a business. Instead, this will guide you through the startup process, step-by-step. Along the way, you’ll be asked to think about topics you may never have considered, such as legal structure, labor laws, permits, taxes and insurance. It’s not all fun and games to be sure, but by the time you reach the final pages, you’ll have built a solid base from which to finally launch the business you’ve long been dreaming about.
Do You Have What It Takes?
What does it take to succeed in a business of your own? If the first word that came to your mind is “money,” you’d be wrong. While having a good deal of cash in hand is a good thing, it should not be at the top of your list. At least not yet. More important at this stage — when your idea to start a business is still just an idea — is to determine whether you actually have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Launching and nurturing a new business requires work, time and guts. And just because you have a burning desire to be your own boss, doesn’t mean you’ll be good at it.
So who would be good at business ownership? Research firm Gallup Inc. released the results of a multi-year study of 2,500 U.S. entrepreneurs aimed at finding the answer. Successful entrepreneurs, Gallup determined, share 10 personality traits in common. They are: business-focused; confident; creative; delegators; determined; independent; knowledge-seekers; promoters; relationship-builders; and risk-takers.
Is your personality strong in these areas? Then you’ll probably make a good entrepreneur. If it’s not, then perhaps you should re-think your dream. And if you’re not quite sure how your personality matches up to these traits, now is the time to have a frank conversation with yourself. Start by honestly answering these questions:
• Am I a self-starter?
• Do I enjoy challenges?
• How do I handle setbacks?
• What talents and skills do I bring to the table?
• Why am I doing this, really?
You may decide that starting a business is not the right career path at this time. Better to find out now, before you’ve invested time, and maybe even your life’s savings, into a venture you’re really not suited for.
But if you find that business ownership is a dream worth pursuing, let’s get started.
Take our quiz to find out whether you have the personality traits to succeed as an entrepreneur. FloridaSmallBusiness.com/TryIt.