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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about “10 of the Worst Reasons for Starting a Business,” so naturally a reader challenged me to turn that around and talk about the right reasons for starting a business.That’s a fair challenge, and probably more productive than the negative approach for all the people out there who are budding entrepreneurs.
In doing some research on this one, I found out that everyone has a favourite list of good reasons for starting a business, so mine really reflects more my personal prioritization of the possibilities than any comprehensive list:
- You really want to run a business. This is a necessary, but not sufficient reason to start a business now. It’s not the same as “I want to change the world (volunteer for a good cause)” or “I’m tired of the corporate grind (take a vacation).” It does mean you have a passion for a product or service, and a willingness to face risk and hardship.
- You know what needs to be done, and not afraid to make the decisions. This is the right context for being your own boss. You get great satisfaction from overcoming all obstacles, and you have no problem with living or dying by your own decisions. You have never had a problem putting together a plan and making it happen.
- The opportunity to make real money excites you. You have read all the stories of Google and Apple hitting on a great idea, beating the odds, and being worth millions in just a couple of years. You like the idea that most of the money you make will be yours, not just merged into corporate profits.
- You believe the economy has tilted the odds in your favour. The current recession has definitely opened up opportunities for new products, and skilled people at lower costs are abundant. Many of the great entrepreneurs of the past started their companies during business recessions and depressions.
- You get to set the deadlines, and manage your own priorities. You have always felt that you can do more than expected by current bosses, if allowed to do it on your own schedule with your own milestones. Your self-motivation is more effective for you than any arbitrary rewards and even salary increases.
- You get to do the interesting things, for a change. First of all, the business you intend to set up is your dream, not someone else’s. Within that context, you can delegate or find partners for things that bore you, like marketing, rather than feel that you have been assigned to do the least interesting work.
- A variety of challenges stretches your abilities to the maximum. If you love to learn new things, and are stimulated by change, you will love the new business environment. Every day is different, from dealing with creative elements, to financial challenges, marketing and sales, and customers of every type.
- Your office is where you want it. Many entrepreneurs enjoy working from their home, where they are more comfortable, and can interact better with their family. Some like an old eclectic loft downtown, or a local coffee shop to minimize the commute. In these days of global links, you can actually run the business from halfway around the world.
- What you envision doesn’t seem all that hard to you. In fact, the cost of entry into most businesses has come down greatly in the last 20 years. You can now start an e-commerce site for $100, or develop software applications for smart phones for a few thousand. The right reason to start a business is because you have done your homework, and are convinced that you have the skills and knowledge to do it easily.
- You are really ready for a second career. This is especially applicable to Boomers and anyone who has had a successful career, but now ready for a new challenge, with a little time on their hands. The good part of having your own business is that you don’t even have to give up your first job to start the second.
If a few of these reasons are calling your name, now is the time to start building your business. There’s no better time, especially if people around you are hesitating due to an apparent fit to my other list. It means you’ll be facing a lot less competition. What are you waiting for?
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