Entrepreneurship starts out with ideas and success comes when you turn those dreams into reality. Around fifty-percent of all new businesses fail inside their first five years. Knowing when to take the plunge and when to hold back and continue to refine your business model makes for the difference between a successful startup and a failed one.
1. Are you playing with Monopoly money or real operating cash?
Are you financially stable enough to forgo the journey that lies ahead? Raising capital in the early stages of any business is tough. You either need to have your own cash or a good investor. Investors require a solid PoC (Proof of Concept) to fund a startup.
Small business loans and/or a line of credit are also options, but you’d better have a proven concept before hedging your credit rating on an “idea.”
2. Are you ready for investors?
You can launch a business without investors. In fact, if you’re still working a J.O.B., you’re in a perfect situation to launch your business idea and build up a solid PoC, so that when the time comes you have plenty of sales data to pitch to them.
Don’t get in a rush and go out and start making calls to the top equity firms in your area before testing the product or service in the market. No need to burn the materials before the bridge is even built! Unless you’ve developed a machine that makes oxygen out of bird feces, good luck finding investors!
3. Passion — do you has it?
Look inward and see just how many excuses you can come up with for why you haven’t hit the big time with your ideas yet. Is lack of time one of those reasons you fall back on frequently? If so, you might be lacking something in the passion department. Passionate entrepreneurs don’t muck around with excuses. There’s always enough time for those who’re driven.
4. Does anyone know about your product yet?
If not, you have an “idea” and not a concept. Plain and simple, you’re not ready to hit the big time or go full time as an entrepreneur. This is likely the main underlying reason 8 out of 10 startups fail. Everything starts with a dream, but requires much more to become a reality.
5. Do you know everything there is to know about your niche?
If not, you better have a partner who does, or who can combine their knowledge with yours to make you both a collective dominating powerhouse in your niche. Maybe your whiskey startup won’t be able to compete with the Wisers and JD’s of the world yet, but if you’ve found a way to cut operating costs by fifty-percent using a unique production process, the money’s likely to roll in faster than you can make the product.
Be a know-it-all!
6. Do you have a partner or are you a Lone Ranger?
Having a co-founder in place will really help to ease the work and financial burdens that lie ahead. Especially if you’re both currently working and have some decent capital to invest in beta testing and/or a soft launch to test the waters. Make sure they compliment and complete your skill and knowledge base and aren’t just a carbon copy of you.
If all else fails and you’re still unsure, ask yourself this question:
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Main Image Credit: National Rural/Flickr