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Are you a Latent Entrepeneur

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Entrepreneurs from all around the world start their own businesses. How did they decide what business to operate? How can you learn about the business opportunities available to you? What kind of goals should you set for yourself?

When considering becoming an entrepreneur, it is important to distinguish between an idea and an opportunity. A colleague once said “an opportunity is something you can do that someone else is prepared to pay for’.

When you take the plunge into entrepreneurship, you may be putting all of your worth at risk. Your life may become unbalanced, with increased working hours which take away time spent with your family and leisure time. The stress levels you may find yourself under may be much higher than when you were an employee.

QUESTIONS FOR THE PERSON THINKING ABOUT BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR

Before you even start looking for business opportunities, as yourself the following questions. Use a checklist.

1. Why do you want your own business?

'Because I hate my current boss' isn't enough to become an entrepreneur. Is it because you prefer to be your own boss, because you think you can make more money working for yourself, because you want more flexibility in your working hours, because you have a great idea for a service or particular goods? You need to be really clear on your motivations for running your own business.

2. Are you prepared for the demands of owning a business? Can you handle pressure, people, hard work, etc? Could you cope with the needs of an expanding business?

3. Do you understand the nature of business?

Don't go into business because you think it’s easy. If you think “I could do much better than that business owner”, be careful. Chances are that you might not understand what is involved, or the difficulties and demands of being an entrepreneur.

4. What are your chances for success?

Do you have relevant skills and/or knowledge, or can you easily get them? How much are you willing to learn and change? What characteristics and habits do you have that might hinder or help you as a business person? What can you offer that will improve your chances of success?

5. Can you afford to start?

Have you the capital, the proposed income, etc? Do you have a fall back option if the business does not prosper (e.g. your partner or spouse has an income)? Can you cope with short term financial losses and hold out until the situation improves?

ASSESSING OPPORTUNITIES

If you determine that entrepreneurship is for you, and you are ready to consider opportunities, use the following questions to help you assess the likelihood of success for each different opportunity:

1. Is there a market in my community for this kind of business? Will people buy my product or service, and are there enough buyers to sustain this business in this area?

2. How much money would it take to start this business? Will I be able to borrow that much money? How much will it cost me in the long run?

3. How many hours a week is it likely to take to run this business? Am I willing to commit that much time?

4. What are the particular risks associated with this business? What is the rate of business failure? Why have similar businesses failed, and how can I overcome these risks?

5. Does my background prepare me to run this kind of business? Do most people who own this kind of business have more or different experience or knowledge than I do? What do I need to learn, and am I willing or able to learn it quickly?

6. How much money could I make running this business? What is my lowest likely net profit? Is this sufficient to meet my needs, and when can I expect to make this?