While it might feel like part of the standard, competent individual’s “dream” to become a business owner or to rise up to the level of being a high-level decision-maker in an organization, the truth is that it’s not for everyone. If there were more people who realized that, we might have fewer horror stories about mismanagement, people losing control in leadership, or abuse of power. But where do you stand? Are you ready to run a business? Here are some ways to ask yourself just that.
The idea for the business
Simply put, without a good idea for a business, you have nowhere to start. You can work your way up inside an existing organization, but for a lot of people, that simply is not the same. As such, you need an idea for your business. There are plenty of ways to find it. Usually, inspiration strikes internally, from your own life, ideas, and experience in your industry. However, you can also track industries that are on the rise and think about ways to get into it, either as a direct entry into the market, targeting a niche that is currently unfulfilled, or you can go the roundabout way and instead provide B2B services for businesses already in the industry.
Being a good steward is a vital ability. When it comes to management and team leaders, then being able to keep the ship running, hit objectives, and manage the unexpected can be vital to a business’s success. But at the very top, you need to be able to go beyond that. That is where thought leadership needs to come in. You need to be at the forefront, thinking consistently about ways to improve your business and to stand out in your industry. The best way to do that is to make sure you’re engaged with the world of entrepreneurship, always reading about the latest successful revolutions in business, looking for the answers to help solve specific problems and thinking in your own time about ways to iterate and improve on strategies that are already out there.
While you should not be defined solely by your past, you can get a good idea of how well you have been trained for leadership and responsibility. With the help of a career test, you can look at your past experience, as well as preferences and aptitudes in work to get a better idea of the kind of work that you’re suited into. Some people simply work better as a member of a team than the head of it. It doesn’t mean that they lack influence or importance, but there are different sets of skills and attitudes that are compatible with leadership positions that you have to work on acquiring if you don’t have them already.
What are you able to tolerate?
If you’re overly worried about your work-life balance (which isn’t a bad thing), you might not be well suited for running a business. When you’re getting things kicked off, and for a long time after, you’re likely to be working long hours. This can mean having to temporarily sacrifice other aspects of your life, such as socializing and your hobbies, until you can get things running more smoothly. You also have to be able to effectively cope with pressure. After all, decision-making is going to all fall on you, and the consequences of those decisions are yours to deal with, as well. Finding ways to manage that stress and pressure can be vital if you want to make it.
Which mindset do you have?
While there is room for business for people who fit all kinds of molds, and those who break them entirely, there are, largely speaking, two mindsets. One is the employee mindset, and the other is the business owner mindset. The business owner mindset is all about perspective, more than anything else. “For the good of the business” needs to become a mantra, which can involve putting aside short-term gain and even comfort for the possibility of that important future success. Of course, this needs to be managed as well. Responsibility for your employee’s wellbeing is just as much a part of the business owner’s mindset as any level of sacrifice, for one.
At the end of the day, no one can decide whether or not you should be running a business but yourself. The tools above can help you assess yourself a little more accurately, but it’s all down to you, in the end.