Starting a Startup
A New Series on Business Startups — Part 1
Many people dream of fleeing the rat race and starting up on their own. Thoughts of freedom — being one’s own boss — and all that lovely money to be made waft across the mental screens of most of us at some time or another.
But have you got what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Do you have the grit and stamina to see it through? Above all, do you have the right talents and personal qualities to succeed where many others fail?
At the outset, before the business has any assets, only one object exists : YOU.
Do you cut the mustard? Frankly, are you up to it? In this first part of the series, let’s look at you and decide whether you measure up to the most demanding of templates.
Are You a Creator or an Operator?
What attracted you to the idea of setting up a business in the first place — was it the prospect of all those creative juices running free; the fascinating research; developing a plan of action (business plan); and carving a business entity out of nothing but ideas in your head?
If you answer Yes to any of these, consider the next question : how does running the business appeal to you? You know, all the dull, day-to-day routine of office work, bookkeeping, chasing orders, attending to staff problems, tax returns etc.
Strangely, many folk prefer one or the other. Most can’t abide the thought of doing both.
If you’re a creator, you’ll build your business from scratch. If an operator, you may have to consider buying a franchise — a ready-made business with all the detail worked out and provided from a central source.
It’s important therefore to know which of the two personality types you are. If you can handle both, you are very fortunate. It’s a good idea in any case to try out a SWOT analysis and pin down your real motivations and abilities.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
Take a large sheet of paper and draw two lines vertically and horizontally across the middle of the paper. You should now have divided it into four equal quadrants. Mark the top left of each with one of the four SWOT categories.
Now fill in the spaces with your qualities and situation as you see them in respect of any business idea you are considering.
When you have finished, take a long, hard look at what you’ve written. You may want to move some of your items from one square to another.
The SWOT profile should give you a good basis for determining your current position and freedom to act.
A similar excercise should be undertaken with Skills, Skill Gaps, Likes, Dislikes. This looks more to your personal qualities in respect of the business proposition.
These two sheets of paper will reveal more to you than any amount of head scratching and speculation. They are the first steps toward making a success of your startup.