7 Critical Questions to Contemplate Before You Become an Entrepreneur

Photo Margit Mannila taken at my pop up- art exhibition  "On Timeline" on 4th of July 2015.

7 Critical Questions to Contemplate Before You Become an Entrepreneur

by Martin Zwilling Contributor. On Entrepreneur.com.  So before you quit your day job, tax all your friends and investors for money, or max out your credit cards to design and build a product, I recommend that you seriously contemplate the following more basic questions writes Zwilling. I also myself ask for these questions from my students. Some of them are thinking that my attitude toward entrepreneurship is negative and I don't want to support they to choose that way. That is not true. I love the topic. Entrepreneurship is a great job. But on the other hand entrepreneurship is  reality game over -game. If you fail it really mean something in your real life.  Especially here in Finland where bankruptcy is often very personal tracery. 

1. Are you prepared to adopt the entrepreneur lifestyle? Starting a new business is not a job, but an adventure into the unknown, similar to Columbus setting out to find the New World. It’s a big step into a new lifestyle, like getting married after being single for many years. Yet startup founders are often lonely, since no one else can make their decisions.  I totally agree Zwillings point. There are a lot of issues you have to take account before you get started. If you do have a family and you get started your business it really changes your  and yours family life. Can your spouse agree that you are working 24/7? Can your spouse accept that your economical situation is not anymore stable? Maybe your family have to bargain everything normal things like food, clothes etc.

2. How strong is your passion for this opportunity? You have to enjoy working with people -- partners, customers, investors and more -- as well as products to start a business. You have to embrace making decisions and the responsibility of setting milestones, measuring progress and celebrating the victories and defeats.

3. Are you confident and disciplined in facing tough challenges? Starting a business at home or on the Internet is hard work -- not a get-rich-quick scheme. You will be operating outside of any proven realm, no mentor can give you the answer, and it won’t help to blame anyone else for missteps and environmental changes you can’t predict. Related: The 6 Scary Truths About Becoming an Entrepreneur

4. How familiar are you with the contemplated business domain? Remember that the grass always look greener on the other side of the fence. It may make more sense to work for a similar startup before charging ahead on your own. The ultimate best teacher is failure, but a less painful one is getting related work experience and training.

 5. Which business model best suits your mentality? Some people love to deliver services, where personal acumen is tested every day. Others love technology and products, to be replicated and sold while you sleep. If something totally new is not your forte, you can always buy a franchise, acquire an existing business or be a consultant.

6. Have you mapped out a complete plan? Few entrepreneurs can assimilate and hone a complete plan in their head. That’s why I believe the process of writing down your plan is more valuable than the result. Also, a written plan multiplies your ability to communicate to constituents, and facilitates parallel feedback. Money is not a substitute.

7. What is your funding situation and alternatives? Fundraising is stressful and difficult, which is why 90 percent of successful entrepreneurs choose bootstrapping (self-funding). Too much money too early kills many startups, according to investors writes Zwilling. I agree. This is a really interesting point and so true.That is also true in ones private life. If you don't need to make an effort for it, you'll have troubles with your motivation. That is maybe one reason why the second generation usually fail with the business. They do have too much money.

Zwilling see that there are always non-cash alternatives, such as recruiting partners with equity and bartering services. He writes that after asking yourself these questions, and finding yourself still determined to be an entrepreneur, you will have already started. From there, it’s a simple matter of forging a trail to success, and conquering all the problems and challenges that are sure to surface. Starting a business is a marathon, so you have to make an overt decision to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

The metaphor starting  a business as a marathon is apposite. You have also to remember that Failure is not the end. It's an opportunity to learn as Ron Burr has said. That is the only right attitude. Without it  (right attitude) is just wasting your time to start a business, because it doesn't work. 

Related: 5 Stern Truths You Need to Know Before Becoming an Entrepreneur