At the opening of Hamlet, Shakespeare coined the powerful phrase: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” Well if you are thinking about going into business and asking yourself “Should I go into business or should I not go into business?” Or “Am I an entrepreneur or am I not an entrepreneur?” you may be asking the wrong question.
It’s one thing to start a little part-time, side business on Saturday afternoons mowing a few lawns, whereas it’s totally another thing to mortgage your house to start a new restaurant. One is very low risk, very low time commitment and very low energy demand. The other is massive risk, round the clock time commitment and extremely high energy demand.
So, I hold out to you that the bigger question than “Are you an entrepreneur?” is “What type of entrepreneur are you?” Are you the kind of entrepreneur who is hell-bent on changing the world, can’t wait to go head to head in competition with the world’s leading corporations, is willing to work around the clock and not only is willing to put your entire net worth into your business but also scrape every penny off your friends and family too?
Or are you the kind of entrepreneur who would be really happy just making a really good living, but doesn’t want to go massively into debt and really doesn’t want to work around the clock without end?
Even if you have already started a business, it is a good idea to define or perhaps redefine what kind of entrepreneur you are. Sure, when you launched the business you said you would be willing to do everything it took to make it succeed, but now that you see how hard it is, how frustrating it is, and how burned out you are getting are you ready to ease up a little bit? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little personal time?
Perhaps you have put in and are continuing to put into your business a lot more money than you originally planned? Maybe you will be like the mythical frog who never realized that he was melting in the boiling water because the temperature increased in gradual increments? I have been there and done that more times than I should have!
What kind of entrepreneur you are can change over time too. Maybe the business turned out to be much more demanding than you thought, and you have now decided that to stay with it that you need to rise to the challenge and became a much more aggressive entrepreneur. Or maybe after years of slugging it out as hard as you can, you decided you need to scale back either your business or your ambitions, at least for a while, and give yourself time to recharge.
Deciding what kind of entrepreneur you are, is something that ideally you want to do, not just before you start writing your business plan, but even before you start thinking about what kind of business to start. Some businesses are much more conducive for some types of entrepreneurs than others.
For more on helping to decide what kind of entrepreneur you are I have put together a short list of questions that I recommend you ask yourself before you start a business. In any event, remember, not all people are the same and neither are all entrepreneurs. Think about what kind of entrepreneur you are, then choose a business and develop a business plan that are a good fit for you.
By Bob Adams, serial entrepreneur and founder of BusinessTown.