Thursday, October 22, 2009

Can I Fire Myself?

If I am my own boss, can I still get fired?

One of the reasons a person may decide to go into business for themselves is to be independent of a structure imposed by a manager, boss, corporate policies, etc. The autonomy that is gained comes with challenges and more importantly,a high degree of risk. The first question to be addressed is “Do I have a product (goods or services) that a customer would spend money on?” A customer will spend money to solve a problem. What solution do I have to a problem and what value does it have? What is my product? Am I capable of taking on the responsibility of a business that delivers my product to customers?

There are a number of additional questions that must be answered:

  • Why do I want to be my own boss
  • As an entrepreneur, am I capable of functioning outside the structure of an existing business?
  • Do I have the organizational skills to manage a business,or do I have the financial position to pay someone else to take on these responsibilities?
  • Will anyone else value the product that I want to bring to the market? (This can also include a service.)
  • If this activity is something I enjoy doing, will I still want to do it enough to clear a profit?
  • Do I have the financial resources to support a fledgling business long enough to become established?
  • Do I have the support system in place (family and friends) to meet the physical demands of time, energy and motivation that are necessary when starting and running a business?
  • Do I want to start a business that is my own creation, or should I look at a structured business such as a franchise where the format and business structure is already predetermined and there is a support system that I can turn to for assistance?
  • Will I be able to take an objective look at my business and business process and make the necessary changes that will lead to a successful business and a profit?
  • What is the market for my product and how will I connect with my market?
  • Can I generate repeat business from my customers and establish additional revenue flows?
  • Can my product (or service) be duplicated by more employees so my business can grow?
  • If “I am” the business, what is the maximum capacity of my business?
  • Is that enough to generate the desired revenue (profit) to be my only source of income?
  • Do I do this part time in addition to my previous job or does the new business become my only job?
  • Am I prepared to expand my business and meet the expanding demands of a bigger business model, or do I stay small?
  • Is my product something that will become obsolete (such as Beanie Babies) or can I adapt to a changing market?
  • Will my customers reject my product at a later date or find there is no longer a need for my goods or services?
  • Am I capable of accepting the role my customers play in determining the validity and value of my product?
  • If my product is no longer relevant or marketable, will I know when to close the business? Do I have an exit strategy for my business?
  • If my business is rejected by my customers do I look fora new market, a new product or additional lines to increase my revenue flow?
  • If I close my business, will I be prepared to develop a different business or do I return to the role of employee in another business?
  • If I am “fired” by my customers, will I know it and how will I react to that change?
These are just a few of the questions that must be addressed before considering becoming your own boss and going into business for yourself. Once the decision to start a business is made, the actual “mechanics”of the business such as a business plan, the structure of the business,financial plan, etc is the next phase of the planning your start up. There are many resources to turn to for the mechanics of a business. Only you can assess your capacity as an entrepreneur in building and sustaining a business. If you don’t try, you may never know the depth of your skills and capacity as an entrepreneur.

- Molly B.

1 comment:

  1. Molly, your questions in this posting are so incredibly important for the newbee. As an entrepreneur of twelve years and many part time years before that, I guarantee that being an entrepreneur or business owner is not for the faint of heart. A couple of additional questions to ask would be, in tough times can you "mentally" handle paying your employees and not yourself because you must be willing to do whatever it takes...and how will you deal with that incredible $50,000 account that is going to take you to the next level when they decide NOT to pay the bill. These are very real problems that one will face.

    I also would like to distinguish a difference between entrepreneur and business owner, as I mentioned above. They are very simplistic terms maintainer vs builder. Perhaps a topic for later date on this site.