Starting business requires research, investigation

By Sandra Taylor-Sawyer: Everybody’s Business

January is “National Maybe I Will and Maybe I Won’t Month.” This is very appropriate for anyone who is considering starting their own business! For anyone leaning toward “maybe I will,” those famous words of Henry Ford ring true: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

Nothing in life is certain, but studies have shown that the failure rate of start-ups without business plans is three times higher than that of businesses whose owners prepared a plan.

For the “maybe I will folks,” stage one of the planning process should include an analysis of the following:

• Be a self-starter: It is up to the individuals to develop projects, organize their time and follow through on details.

• How well does one get along with different personalities? Many times in business one will deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor or a cranky receptionist. Sometimes all at once.

• Decision making skills: Small-business owners are required to make decisions constantly and quickly.

• Physical and emotional stamina to run a business: It is realistic to work six or seven 12-hour work days every week. Running a business can wear a person down. Strong motivation is necessary to survive slowdowns and periods of burnout.

• Planning and organizing: Good organization of financials, inventory, employees and production can help avoid pitfalls.

• How will the business affect the family? A business start-up can be hard on family life. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk.

For the right person with a good business plan, the advantages of small business ownership will outweigh the risks. In addition to being one’s own boss, the hard work and long hours benefit the business owner rather than increasing profits for someone else. Earning and growth potential may be far greater.

A new venture is as exciting as it is risky. Running a business provides endless challenges and opportunities for learning.

For anyone thinking “maybe I will” start a business in 2010, seeking expert advice on taxes, legal forms of businesses, writing a business plan and where to find financing is a must. A wise person will research and investigate thoroughly prior to making a life-changing decision.