So you want to start a business? Why??

I’m not talking about the product or service you want to deliver, or how you are going to make the world a better place.

First, this is about what boxes this business will help checkoff on the list of your personal vision; and what you are willing to do to make this business a success.

– How much money do you need for the lifestyle in your vision?
– What’s the work/life balance in your vision?
– What is your “life’s work” in your vision?
– What are the moral/social/political views of your vision?

These are criteria you will use to decide if this is a business you should be in. If, for example, you only want to spend 40% of your time on the business (and the other 60% on the golf course!) and this is a business that is still going to need 120% of your time even when it is “successful”, then maybe this business isn’t for you.

Secondly, do you – realistically – know enough about the different aspects of running a business to be a success? Are you willing to learn; or is your attitude “I’ll hire someone to take care of that”?

For example, I meet people who only want to deal with product development and sales – they plan to find someone to be the CEO who will run the company. Well, don’t be surprised if the company becomes something that you didn’t plan and – because of that – doesn’t checkoff the personal vision boxes that you thought it would.

Another favourite of mine are people who say that they “don’t do numbers and spreadsheets”. If you can’t understand a budget, how do you know if you will have enough money and how are you going to convince an investor his money is safe with you? If you can’t read an income statement, or a cash flow analysis, how do you know where the money has come from/gone to and if it meets your plans and expectations?

Now, I’m not saying that you need to be an expert at putting together a financial spreadsheet (or a marketing plan, a distribution process, a strategic plan, etc.) but even a general knows what a gun is and what it means to his plans.

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