We have been receiving scores of applications for the Operation Vetrepreneur program that launches April 1st. Of those applications, roughly 25% are startups or dreamers who would like to start a business but don’t know what kind or how to begin.
That’s easy to understand. Starting up your own enterprise is both exhilarating and terrifying. There seems to be endless options and looking for direction is like trying to focus in the dark.
Having said that, this column aims to give you the ability to figure out what is going to work for you both in the short and long run. It answers how to figure out what kind of business is best for you as an individual. You won’t think of all the answers at one time. I suggest you keep a note pad and write all this down, one page for each step.
Step 1. Look at Your Core Skills. Answer these questions – If I had to work with numbers, I would go stark raving mad. It’s just not one of my core skills, and it drains my energy. Your core skills give you energy and inspire you to keep going. If you’re using your core skills work will be easy and you will prosper.
The Two Types of Skills You Can Have – Hard skills: Skills that are tangible. You can see hard skills play out (like playing a game of tennis). Soft skills: Skills you can’t touch or see. Skills like being a great listener. Skills are things that you can improve and get better at without changing your personality, like communicating, analysis, writing, and connecting.
Look Back in Time – Were you ever given a project to complete. What part of the project made you the happiest? The idea phase? Mapping it out? Putting it together? Working on it? Executing it? Measuring results?
What Comes Naturally to You? – Do you make friends quickly? what is easy for you that might not be for others? These are traits you don’t need to improve on.
What Are Your Hard Skills? – What are you good at doing that you can improve upon? Are you good at something and love doing it? Woodworking, knitting, writing, selling, and speaking come to mind.
You need to do an internal audit looking for when you feel like you’re in your element.
Step 2. Focus on the Kind of Business You Want. Answer these questions – When I started my business 33 years ago my primary motive was feeding my two children. I couldn’t find a job in my field. I took one course at UCSD on marketing and I knew instantly that was for me. So, it’s a good thing to trust your instincts if you have them.
What Kind of Business Are You Thinking Of? Are you’re thinking of starting a brand-new business or an extension of an existing business?
How Do You Plan to Finance Your Business? Are you funding it yourself? Do you have a little help, like a money earning spouse or a family member who believes in you? Are you going to need a loan?
If You Had to Pick One, Which of The Following Best Describes You? Are you championing a cause? Transforming a hobby? Pursuing an opportunity? Not sure?
Right Now, If You Had to Pick Just One, What’s Driving You More Than Anything Else? Freedom to do the things you love? More time with your family? Leaving a mark on the world? Financial independence?
What Best Describes How Much Time You Will Have for Your Business? Is it a side hustle? Full time as the boss?
Which of The Following Best Describes the Business You See Yourself Creating? Improving your lifestyle by earning more money? Building an empire with lots of workers?
I resent books and online experts that claim that the majority of small businesses fail. It simply isn’t true. A large number of restaurants fail, and that skews the stats. Research shows that a large number of small businesses do fail because they don’t stick with it.
Another made-up claim is that small businesses that are a one-woman or one-man sole proprietorship are only “making a job for yourself.” So what? It’s still a business.
I’ve said this before. If you want to be told what to do, if you like to know exactly what advancement your prospects are, if you believe in the fantasy that a job gives you security, then work for somebody else.
If you want your income to be unlimited, if you believe in yourself, if you trust your instincts, perseverance and self-discipline, if you want to go see your kid’s ballgame without asking permission, then strike out on your own. Yes, it can be terrifying. You will have to tolerate a level of anxiety. However, when you succeed, they can’t fire you or take it away from you.
For good information take a look at https://startupnation.com/.
My dad, who owned a business for 50 years told me “you will never get rich working for somebody else.” I ignored most of what he said, but he nailed it with that one.
Vicki Garcia is the Co-Founder of Operation Vetrepreneur & President of Marketing Impressions, a 30+ -year- old marketing consulting firm.
Apply NOW to join her Operation Vetrepreneur’s FREE Brainstorming Group launching again on April 1st, 2019 for veteran entrepreneurs at www.veteransinbiz.com and visit https://www.nvtsi.org/ov/ for more info.
If you want support for starting up a business, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.