Entrepreneurship as a career choice?

Before you take the leap into self-employment, ask yourself these four questions:

o Is it really a better personal career choice?

o What do I need to know to make a decision?

o How can I prepare?

o How do I start?

In this article, I’ll help you find answers to these key questions by drawing on my own experience as a business leader and entrepreneur, in addition to what I’ve learned from more than 15 years of advising owners and managers.

Do you really want to own your own business? The pros are attractive, but don’t forget the cons that are an inevitable part of the choice.

advantages

o Unlimited possibilities

o freedom, independence

o Constant challenge, variety

o Your choice of leadership style

o Responsible for and involved in the overall business

o When business is good, you are good

Disadvantages

o Still limiting what you can do or control

o Many people now depend on you

o Requires skills and knowledge you probably don’t have

o Higher risk, less secure financial future

o Can’t leave it in the office

The next step is to assess if you’re the entrepreneur type:

o Personal expectations and preferences – lifestyle, work environment, compensation, method of compensation?

o Personal strengths and weaknesses?

o Education, training, contact network?

o Characteristics of an entrepreneur?

o Independent, confident, persistent, action-oriented, risk-taking. Passionate, leader, achiever, communicator.

o Solid foundation – family, physical, financial health?

o Additional resources available – partners, suppliers, key customers, employees?

If you are still determined to move on, consider which business option best suits your entrepreneurial ambitions:

o Home Based Business, Multi-Level Marketing

o Independent Contractor – trade or professional

o Commercial agents – insurance, real estate, financial services

o Franchisees – retail, fast food, business services

o Independent company – local, national, global

o Retailers, hospitality, catering, consumer services

o Manufacturers, distributors, service companies

o Internet or technology business

o Entrepreneurial role in a corporate environment

Once these decisions are made, the next question is: What is my business opportunity?

Your selection is based on your personal knowledge, experience and contacts:

o Opportunities that match my skills?

o Market need?

o Current solutions available?

o What is my proposed solution?

o Confirmed by market test, customer feedback?

o How do I make it profitable?

Now you can document a business plan.

Why do I need a business plan?

o Development and documentation of your business concept, strategies, action plans and projected financial results to guide management.

o To provide necessary information for potential funding sources.

o To attract new investors, strategic partners or key employees.

When do I need a business plan?

o New business creation

o Launch a new product/service

o Entry into a new market

o Strategic review and performance diagnostics of an existing company

o Preparing a company for sale, merger, acquisition or succession

Business planning process and checklist:

o Assess personal goals

o Identify the business opportunity

o Define your business concept and model

o Conduct sufficient market research

o Development of the strategic plan

o Define operational plans

o Preparation of financial forecasts.

Business Plan – Recommended Table of Contents

1. Summary

2. Concept and Business Opportunity

3. Mission, Vision, Values

4. Market Analysis

5. Competition

6. Strategic plan

7. Management Team and Organization Chart

8. Product and Service Offering

9. Marketing and Sales Plan

10. Operating Plan

11. Risk Analysis

12. Financial Plan

13. Appendices

After all of this preparation and analysis is complete, you can move on to financing your business plan. There are many alternatives, but you’ll likely review these funding sources as you move forward with your plan:

o Personal investment, cold money

o “Sweat Equity” – Time and effort, not paid

o “Love money” – willing friends and family

o Bank financing – term loans, line of credit

o Business Angels – passive, active, added value

o State funding, special loans, grants

o Venture capital – private equity

o IPO – IPO

Is entrepreneurship the right career choice for you? These questions and approaches are designed to help you make a decision and develop a plan for success. Much luck! That helps too.

Chattersons

DirectTech Solutions c 2007