A quick look at some of the latest business ideas, business trends and business strategies will show you a whole host of opportunities. Some companies around today may seem out of place but they got there. Some companies not around today would have seemed like a perfect fit for the world we live in but fell by the wayside. There is so much more to setting up a business than just the idea itself. Even the best of businesses have rough times, their founders can waver from time to time but the long road to setting up a business requires a steely motivation. Why are you doing it? There are many different reasons for setting up a business such as employment desperation, setting up a legacy for your family or maybe a business opportunity simply fell into your lap. In order to complete the journey from business idea to successful business and an exit route you need to know where you start, your journey and your endgame. So, before you begin to look at setting up a business consider why you are doing it and if you have the motivation and the longevity of interest to push it through. Time to be honest with yourself! What are your long-term goals? As we touched on above, many people have different ideas and different long-term goals when setting up a business. Unfortunately, the vast majority of entrepreneurs will fall by the wayside, perhaps be more successful with another business idea but one thing is constant throughout, they have long-term goals. Some people will suggest that being motivated by money is not the best long-term goal but why not? If you use this money to improve the life of your family, employ others and help to fund other businesses, what is wrong with that? In reality, you do need to have an appreciation (if not a love) of money to be extremely successful in business. The vast majority of people will set up a business because they have a particular skill which they believe they can market better than full-time employment with a company. We often see the emergence of family businesses although these in themselves have many unique challenges. So, whether your long-term goal is to be rich, famous or simply leave a legacy for your children, you need to have something in mind. A target… Do you have a genuine interest in the business idea? There is no doubt that a genuine interest in any business idea is useful. It means you do not have to research basic information or learn basic tasks. However, you do need to find a balance between a genuine interest and looking at a business idea from a financial point of view. Sometimes it is very easy to see a particular subject through rose tinted glasses which can take away from some of the opportunities before you. On the flipside, if you have relatively little or no interest in a particular business and you are looking to work in a particular industry, where do you start? That is not to say you should not set up a business in which you have little experience at the beginning of your journey. You can learn, you can research information and there is more than enough on the Internet to give you a head start. However, a genuine interest in a particular business idea is to a certain extent useful when looking for funding because your genuine passion will come through. Are you ready for the bumpy road ahead? Even the best business ideas, the most obvious products/services, will at some point hit a bumpy part in their journey to success. This may knock them off direction in the short term but it is how you challenge these bumps in the road which will dictate how successful your business is in the longer term. Those who expect to go into business with a “great idea” and experience no financial problems, no competition issues and a simple smooth winding road to success are in for a shock! You will have sleepless nights, you will have periods where your income is under pressure and you will need to put in the extra hours to catch up. Unless you are ready for the long haul, cancelled contracts, legal issues and cash flow problems, maybe setting up a business is not the right move for you. Your personality will change from the setting up stage through to the improved trading and eventual exit stage. You will become more hardened to business, picky about the type of contracts you take on and ultimately you will be able to see potential issues ahead long before they even happen. Will you give up at the first hurdle? Are you one of those people who will crumple and fall to the ground at the first sign of trouble? Or are you somebody who will take a standing eight count, catch their breath and come back fighting? Even the most successful business entrepreneurs have encountered problems, some of which will have seemed insurmountable, but they battled, came through and continued their journey. You will also find that many successful entrepreneurs have experienced major financial problems in years gone by with many actually going bankrupt and then rising again like a phoenix from the flames. Whether you live alone, have a partner or a full-blown family it is imperative that you try to separate working life and private life as much as possible. To a certain extent they will always overlap each other because if you are the main force behind the business then you need to be available 24/7 especially in the early days. Many business people will return home in the knowledge they have a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere which allows them to recharge their batteries for the challenges of tomorrow. If your home environment is as volatile and challenging as the work environment then at some point something will have to give. Learn to put aside time for family life, but aside time for your working life and manage additional time as fairly as possible. Experience the down days to enjoy the up days A friend once told me, you need to experience the down days to enjoy the up days and appreciate what they mean. Initially I was not quite sure what he meant but when you do experience the down days, fight back and experience the up days, it will become clearer. Nothing is ever straightforward, no business ever went up in a straight line and there will be challenging and more challenging days in business. You will learn to become battle hardened, to fight the fight, to cut loose annoying customers and to focus on those who give you the best returns in terms of money/time spent. Just remember, in the dark days of setting up your business there will be many challenges ahead, perhaps no light at the end of the tunnel but it will become lighter. Your first sale, your first contract renewal and first profitable year will stay in your mind forever. Then, only then, will you appreciate why you have to experience the down days to make the most of the up days. Is setting up a business the right move for you? From finance to personality, from the bumpy road ahead to a challenging family life, these are just one of many factors you need to take into consideration when looking to set up your own business. Do you have the time, do you have the inclination and do you have the drive? Or are you more suited to a 9-to-5 working day where your work worries disappear as soon as you walk through the office door? You need to be as honest as possible with yourself in the early days, is setting up and running a business really for you? It does not need to be a perfect fit in the early days but you need to have some drive and some understanding of the road that lies ahead. It will often be bumpy, there will be holes and misleading signposts but if you keep your nerve and keep your focus there is no reason why you cannot be successful.