There are many things you need to know before going into business for yourself. You need to know what you are going to do, and how you are going to do it, when you are going to get started and where you will get the funds are examples of but a few of the important ones. But there is one question often overlooked, perhaps because it seems so obvious – “why”. Clearly identifying “why” you are going into business for yourself helps you make sure that business avenue you chose truly fulfills your goals.
There are many reasons why you might want become a business owner – to make the world a better place in some way, for the chance of big money, for the personal satisfaction of bringing your ideas to the marketplace, because you are tired of working for companies with limited in vision, and more.
Realize that you might have more that one reason – “money”, “lack of satisfying employment options”, and “to fulfill a life long dream” could all apply. Make a list of the top reasons for becoming your own boss and then prioritize them. Make sure that you have expressed all the main reasons for going into business for yourself. Review your list a few days later. Share them aloud with friends and family. Put a written copy on your bathroom mirror or post it on your computer screen.
When considering opportunities, whether start-ups, franchises, or business acquisitions, realize many can look appealing. Not clearly identifying your “why” can lead to engaging in a business that inadequately addresses your needs and wants. That can be costly as well as discouraging. We have met our share of businesses owners who came to realize the business they chose did properly address the reason why they wanted to be business owners in the first place.
Clearly identifying and addressing the “why” of your business ownership quest is empowering. It gives you to energy to persevere when the business is most challenging, and fuels the creative resources to allow you to take your business to new levels. It helps your staff understand how to support their place of employment, and helps your advisory team keep you on track. Finding your “why” is the first step in finding the legacy business of your dreams.
Side Bar – Daniel’s Pizza -When we visited Daniel’s pizza shop, we first encountered his son who shared, “Most dads find a mistress or buy a red Corvette when they hit their mid-life crisis. My dad had to buy this run down pizza shop. What a disaster.”
Daniel had left a financial firm where he had worked of the previous twenty-plus years. He had money saved and with the severance pay, had enough to buy this pizza shop he had seen online. He did not think long and hard about it when he saw it for sale. The owner who sold it to Daniel told him it made great money but could not show all the profit on the books because he would have to pay too much in taxes much of the profit. Daniel had heard pizza shops had great margins and figured anyone could run one. It was not his dream business but he had the money in hand and was ready to be his own boss finally.
Eleven months after starting his new ownership, he walked out on the place, leaving furniture, fixtures and equipment behind for the landlord. Every month, he had to put money into the business to keep it going. He hated the hours, the heat and standing on his feet all day. He felt the staff would not listen and that the customers had no appreciation for all the work that went into providing them with a great meal. He said a number of occasions “I am not sure why I ever bought this place”.