“Are you entrepreneur ready?” is a question that needs to be asked more often.
If you’re a pilot you don’t take off until you have done your safety checks. The same should apply as an entrepreneur.
A number of commentators have listed the key points that entrepreneurs need to think about before they get started. This includes Forbes, Huffington Post and Entrepreneur, but they cover a range of different points in a relatively unstructured way. Too often they fail to cover the different aspects of this decision, which should include an emotional audit and a team audit as well as the obvious business planning questions.
I think there is a simple but structured way of really answering this question, as follows:
- Are you ready?
- Is your business idea ready?
- Is your team ready?
Firstly are you ready? There are a number of points behind this, but the key issue is that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur and even if they are, this may not be the right time for that person. So you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you ready financially? Can you afford to do this and have you given yourself a decent contingency in case it goes wrong?
- Are you ready emotionally? Are you prepared to leave the relative safety net that you may have? Are you in a healthy enough state?
- Are your personal or family relationships strong enough to withstand the ongoing trauma that this entrepreneurial choice may cause?
Secondly is your business idea ready? Again there are a number of different points behind this, which are more comprehensively covered by VC’s, investors and other entrepreneurs. The key questions are as follows:
- How critical is the problem that you are looking to solve?
- How strong is your business idea, your solution to this problem?
- How scalable is your plan?
Thirdly do you have a team to support you and are they ready? Even if you are looking to start the business on your own, you need to mobilise the support of other people. The key questions are:
- How well suited are your skills and expertise to launch and scale your business idea? Are you really the right person for this business?
- Have you identified what the ideal team needs to look like to give yourself the best chance of success
- Have you involved some of these people in your plan, whether this is as advisers or as business partners?
Each of these 3 areas of questioning can be expanded further, but the key point is that if you are deficient in any one area, then you shouldn’t start. The best entrepreneurs mitigate risk away and so reduce the uncertainty around their journey. You should do this too. It’s critical to do the safety checks. Its critical to make sure that you are really ready to be an entrepreneur.