5 Things to Know Before Starting a Business

When someone you know gets the entrepreneurial bug, or if you catch it, you better watch out. Starting a business has plenty to be said for it of course, but one bad thing that can happen is that the entrepreneur “falls under the ether.” What I mean by that is this: There are times when people fall so in love with an idea that they stop thinking clearly. For instance, when you get your sights set on that new car on the lot, that perfect car, and you just have to have it.

The danger of falling under the ether when starting a business is that all of the upside potential overshadows any downside risks. So as a public service, I would like to offer five things about starting a business that you may not have considered, especially if you are under the ether.

1. It will cost more than you think:  As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how great that business plan is, no matter how many numbers you crunched, there will be things that occur during the startup phase of a business that will be unexpected. And those unexpected things often cost money. So it would behoove you if you are considering starting a business to be more conservative in your financial analysis than you think is warranted.

It’s warranted.

2. You will work more than you anticipate: I bet you think that starting a business will be time-consuming. You are right, it is. But not infrequently, it is more time consuming than the entrepreneur ever thought it would be. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a fact. Getting a new enterprise off the ground takes a lot of hard work, requiring many hours, period.

One reason for that is…

3. You will wear a lot of hats: One of the great things about the corporate world is that there is a lot of assistance (usually). There are people around to do the to make deliveries, to answer the phone, to set up meetings and so on. But in a small business, especially a new small business, the entrepreneur wears many hats. You will likely be the CEO, VP of Marketing, Chief of Sales, IT guy, and the Shipping and Receiving Department, all rolled into one.

It’s fun, except when it’s not.

4. There will be a steep learning curve: Very few people actually start a business knowing everything they need to know to succeed. Oh sure, there are those MBAs out there who will have a very good idea of what to expect, but most people who start businesses do not have graduate degrees in business. That means that you will need to learn those things that you do not know. If accounting is not your bag for instance, take a course at a local community college, because it will need to be your bag.

5. It will be more fun than you thought: Ha, tricked you, didn’t I? Yes, this is a list that explores the risks of entrepreneurship, but it is equally true that one of the unexpected things about becoming your own boss is that you will likely never want another boss again. The freedom and creativity that accompanies a startup are hard to beat.

So enjoy, but beware the ether!

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