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15 Signs You Are Ready To Start Your Own Business

15 Signs You Are Ready To Start Your Own Business

A family, a home and a steady job. 40 hours of work a week, a pay cheque, and your evenings and weekends off, which you could either dedicate to your better half, your kids or to your hobbies. Or if that doesn’t suit you, you could always hang out with your work buddies instead.

Life’s good, or okay at least. Or is it? While a huge majority of the human race might be complacent with this sort of bourgeoisie lifestyle, not all of us are cut out for it. And the very fact that you’re still reading this article is proof enough for me that you have no intention of identifying as a bourgeoisie.

Oh, I like you! Now of course there are a lot of technical requirements to starting a business. Coming up with an idea, creating a business plan, finding an investment, hiring employees, and the likes.

But before you get into all that, you need to make sure you’re actually ready for the whole being your boss thing. So here are 15 signs that you are ready to start your own business.

1. You are sufficiently motivated

“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” One of my favorite quotes from Napoleon Hill’s timeless classic “Think and Grow Rich”.

This one’s pretty straight forward. To be ready to start your own business and succeed at it, you would have to really want it first. Do you?

2. You have a confident personality

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” From the book “This is My Story” by Eleanor Roosevelt. We live in a cruel world. Bear that there will always be people trying to hinder or belittle you and your progress.

Now of course, there isn’t a thing in the world that should matter less than the opinions of those poor souls. But the bitter truth is, to most people it does.

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To stand apart, to succeed, you will need to sport a confident personality; to always be sure about what you’re doing or where you’re headed. Are you?

3. You are tenacious

“Patience and tenacity are worth more than twice their weight of cleverness.” Thomas Huxley. Not all successful people possess genius talent. It would be a fair bet to say that a vast majority of them were no different from you and I when they started.

And they failed too. Often. But while most people tend to get demoralized at the first sight of failure, what they did was get right back up and try again. And again. And again. Until they succeeded. Can you?

4. You are passionate about what you are doing

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” A timeless advice from David Frost. Work is hard. Always has been and always will be.

Trick is to choose a line of business you’re so passionate about, that you will actually enjoy working hard. Look at every person in history who started a business and succeeded at it. They’ve always been exceptionally passionate about their work. Are you?

5. You enjoy learning

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” From the American novelist Louisa May Alcott. Like the world in its entirety, the business world is one big mystery. And people who actually believe they know it all might very well know nothing at all.

To successfully “sail your ship” you need to continuously feed yourself with knowledge and ideas. For which you must genuinely enjoy learning. Do you?

6. You have good people skills

“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” Dale Carnegie, legendary self-improvement and interpersonal skills guru.

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People constitute the world and influence how it runs. So it’s a no brainer that they ought to be at the essence of any business venture. Might be your investors, or your customers.

To succeed at business, you need to be excellent at understanding other people’s intents, and effectively communicating your ideas to them. Are you?

7. You are a visionary

“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.” From the author of the popular book “Outliers”, Malcolm Gladwell.

Visionaries make lasting business people. What sets them apart from the casual folks is that they can see to the end. And accordingly, they know what needs to be avoided and what needs to be done to succeed.

If you want to own a business and be successful one at it, you must be know where it’s headed. Do you?

8. You have a good business team

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller. No successful venture in history was ever started alone. Behind every successful “self-made” person you hear about, are seldom heard of people that actually run the engines of the business.

The idea is not to be as independent as you can. That’s simply not how it works. What you need is to have is a team of loyal, dedicated and talented people that not only can, but actually enjoy laying the bricks to your castle. Do you?

9. You are creative

“The painter has the universe in his mind and hands.” Leonardo da Vinci. Creativity is the ability to create new things and find unique solutions to existing problems. Sounds like a pre-requisite to any aspiring business person.

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To stand out in your line of business and succeed, you will have to bring something different to the table. Can you?

10. You despise authority

“If ever you feel like an animal among men, be a lion.” Criss Jami, in “Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality”. It is a rule of thumb. People who have a predisposition to starting a venture and succeeding at it have at the least a healthy disregard for authority.

The very fact that you want to start a business and be your own boss is proof enough that you have no intentions of directly working under someone else. You like to think for yourself. Don’t you?

11. You can take risks

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” John A Shedd. In a world surrounded by uncertainty, fluctuating market for instance, the one who embraces this uncertainty isn’t always safe from its claws. And this very fact scares a vast majority of your competition away from the game.

But you must know that security and success don’t always come hand in hand, especially not as long as you’re still chasing the latter. You’re not in the game for security. You’re here to risk it all and win. Aren’t you?

12. You know your limits

“Oh, I’m not just going too far, I’ve arrived.” Jose Saramago, in “Seeing”. Know when to stop. Even if the years don’t make you smarter, they always make you wiser. And at some point you just realize you can’t have anymore.

That’s when the wise one knows s/he doesn’t need anymore. Successful people can calculate success as well as they can dream of it. Can you?

13. You are organized

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Benjamin Franklin. Unlike the common folks, business people don’t like to waste more time preparing for a work than on the actual work.

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For a business to succeed, you have to organize few things beforehand. Finding a retail partner or having your own website, as per the business needs, is a pretty good sign that you’re ready to dive into the world of business.

When that’s inevitable, they learn from the new experience and make sure it never happens again. They have everything they need whenever and wherever they want it. Simply put, to be in control you need to be organized. Are you?

14. You are a leader

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis. Often, it’s believed good leaders are born. Actually, good leaders are made, they’re product of experience, training and necessity, amongst others.

And you know a good leader when you see one. Given a vision and all the necessary tools and crew at his/her disposal, a good leader knows how and when to lead. Do you?

15. You know your game

No famous quotation for this one. Simply cause it’s a no brainer. Before you can play a game, you need to know the game. Always know that there are people out there who are already doing what you plan on doing. Many of them professionals. And they’re all your competition.

If you’re planning on entering a particular line of business, you need to make sure you know sufficiently enough if not as much as the people already in that business first. Only then you can act smart. And then, you dribble your ideas to goal. So do you know your game?

Featured photo credit: Business People via Flickr.com via farm6.staticflickr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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