Do you have what it takes to own/manage a small business?

Owning a small business is not for everyone. Before starting a business, people should ask themselves if being a business owner is the correct choice for them. Below is a list of things to consider before starting your first business: 

  • Time Commitment: Starting a small business will be extremely time consuming. You are likely to work long hours and work more than five days a week. The time commitment to get the business started and maintain the business is sometimes more than people are expecting. It is not the same as having a job where you work your 40 hours per week and then you are done. You need to be prepared to work as many hours as it takes to get the job done. 
  • Emotional Strain: Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. There will be days that are hard and make you just want to give up. For each of those days, there will also be days that make you proud to be a business owner and that bring you great joy. You should be prepared for the emotional challenges that being a business owner will bring. 
  • Financial Requirements: Businesses are expensive to start and require a continuous amount of working capital to maintain. Most businesses are started with funds from either the owner’s savings account or from a small business loan. Both options require capital investment by the owner.   
  • Current Responsibilities: You need to consider your current responsibilities and how your new business will affect those. Do you have a new baby or are you considering moving soon? Do you have a parent you need to care for regularly? Does your partner need your support as they start a new job? These questions and more should be examined as you consider the requirements of owning a business.  

A final consideration and one that many people do not think about is that starting a new business will affect everyone in your circle. Many people get in an “I” mentality when they start a business. They say, “I can work long hours and work long days”, “I can handle the emotional strain”, “I can put all my money into the business and live on the bare minimum while I get my business started”. The reality is that it is not just you that the business will affect. While you work long days, someone else must do the things you used to do. Someone else must make dinner or run errands that you did prior to opening the business. If you have a partner and/or children the choice of starting a business will affect them as well as you.  

Starting a business requires planning and determination. The University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center (UMW SBDC) helps people determine their business potential and can help with the business planning process. Our consultants can provide you with research, help you estimate startup costs and forecast revenues and expenses, help you prepare your loan package, and review your written business plan. If you would like assistance planning your business, please fill out a Request for Consulting form or if you are already a client, reach out to your consultant.