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Are You Ready for a Small Business?

Consider your strengths and weaknesses before taking the risk

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You've decided to take the plunge and seek an SBA-backed loan to start your own small business. Are you sure you're ready? Have you considered the inevitable risks associated with running a small business? How about the potential effects on your family? The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that you can improve your chances of making your small business a success through good planning, preparation, and insight. A great place to start is by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as a potential owner and manager of a small business. Carefully consider each of the following questions as prepared by the SBA.

Self-starter?
Are you a self-starter? It will be entirely up to you to develop projects, organize your time, and follow through on details.

Got People Skills?
How well do you get along with different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers, and professionals such as lawyers, accountants or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor, or a cranky receptionist if your business interests demand it?

Decisive?
How good are you at making decisions? Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly - often quickly, independently, and under pressure.

Do You Work Out?
Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be exciting, but it's also a lot of work. Can you face six or seven 12-­hour work days every week?

Multi-tasking Star?
How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that poor planning is responsible for most business failures. Good organization ­ of financials, inventory, schedules, and production ­ can help you avoid many pitfalls.

Emotional Security?
Is your drive strong enough? Running a business can wear you down emotionally. Some business owners burn out quickly from having to carry all the responsibility for the success of their business on their own shoulders. Strong motivation will help you survive slowdowns and periods of burnout.

How About the Family?
How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business start­up can be hard on family life. It's important for family members to know what to expect and for you to be able to trust that they will support you during this time. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk in the short-term.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

Also See: Why Small Businesses Fail

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