A Time to Think About Starting Your Own Business?

By at 24 March, 2020, 2:09 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

The coronavirus and governments’ largely necessary responses have created enormous amounts of fear and uncertainty in many of our lives. Health risks, worrying about loved ones, lost jobs, small businesses struggling to hang on, and wondering how bills will be paid stand out as harsh realities for millions of Americans.

But for those able to look beyond the current crisis, being stuck at home could be the right time to think seriously about whether or not entrepreneurship is for you.  And, as many current business owners try new approaches and models to in an effort to keep their doors open, it’s possible they may stumble across a new or unfilled need in the marketplace.

There’s always a problem to be solved.

Working from home frees up time that would otherwise be lost to, for example, commuting, and less-than-productive workplace gatherings and meetings. Working from home also generates added schedule flexibility.

If you’ve ever dreamed about starting up your own business – even in passing – perhaps time at home, freed up time, and added flexibility can be used to do some serious evaluating on the potential of entrepreneurship. Here are just a few points to consider.

Independence. Do you enjoy and thrive given the independence that comes with working from home? If you do, and truly have the discipline to get things done, then that’s a big plus for becoming an entrepreneur.

Passion and Discipline. A key question is: What are you passionate about, and can that be turned into a business, and/or will that passion aid you in owning and operating a business?

Seriously think about creativity. That is, are you a creative person or not? Running your own business requires a great deal of creativity, not just in terms of the good or service that you’re offering, but in terms of operating, financing, and marketing your products and business. Are you thinking creatively during this time at home?

Self-Starter and Ambitious. Entrepreneurs overwhelmingly are go-getters and opportunity seekers. One of my entrepreneurship tests (which has no basis in studies or statistics, by the way, but is just one of gut checks – so take it or leave it) is the boredom check. If you are working from home and are bored, then I would think twice about entrepreneurship.

“Boredom” shouldn’t be in the entrepreneur’s lexicon. The entrepreneurial mindset would use additional time and flexibility due to being required to work from home in some positive fashion, including spending and enjoying more time with family, setting and starting to work toward goals, improving assorted skills and abilities, catching up on hobbies and interests, getting organized, and/or thinking, planning and starting to execute entrepreneurial ventures and/or change.

Aversion to Risk. Finally, how you’re reacting to this time of enormous uncertainty will tell you something about your tolerance for uncertainty and risk. After all, starting up a business is an undertaking jam packed with uncertainty and risks. How well you’re personally handling the current crisis will provide some clues as to how to you might handle the inevitable challenges – often unforeseen – that crop up as an entrepreneur.

Hopefully, these points will provide some food for thought regarding your own entrepreneurial path. This crisis will end in coming weeks or months, and then opportunities will increase, perhaps exponentially. So, this could be the right time to consider whether your future will or will not feature entrepreneurship.

But keep it all in perspective, and make sure your priorities are aligned properly. Most important in these rough times, stay safe and healthy, and the same goes for your family and friends.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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