By Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker
Are you feeling the Pull of entrepreneurship, that deep-seated desire to start your own business? But do you wonder if you should quit your job and become your own boss? Use this 6-Question Checklist to help you decide.
1.) Are you dying to take control of your own destiny?
Do you have a strong desire to set your own course with your own product or service? When I was a teenager lifeguarding at the New Jersey Shore, I noticed my mind working overtime for business ideas. My friend and I listened to reports on sun exposure and researched our idea to introduce a product into the burgeoning sunscreen business – “Sunguard. From the People Who Know the Sun!” I never did market the product, but the entrepreneurial seed was planted!
2.)Do you have an overwhelming desire to realize your own business vision?
Before I launched my company, USI Companies Inc, I was anxious and impatient to find that winning idea that was crucial for launching a successful business. In hindsight, I can see that all the while I was looking for the champion idea, I was developing a distinctive competence in real estate that would heighten my confidence and prepare me for the business opportunity when the time was right.
3.) Do you have a great idea for how to fill a real need?
Is your mind pro-active, always looking for a solution to make something better or create something new? As we wrote in a previous blog, Michael Carpenzano’s “nuplug™ invention for smart-devices was born out of a mindset that saw beyond what is, to what could be. Does your mind work like that?
4. Do you believe your idea could transform lives for the better or disrupt the way business is done?
Your business idea may not only transform your life, but also the lives of the customers or businesses you serve. Before I bootstrapped USI, I saw efficiency leaks in real estate services for corporations and institutions. I believed I could save corporations both time and money by offering outsourced, integrated services. It changed the way business was done in real estate services and saved my customers millions of dollars.
5. Do you have a special talent that friends tell you to use to start a business?
My cousin, Carol Ann was a caterer for over 35 years. Many of her customers loved her fudge dessert sauce. She would make up holiday jars and distribute her sauce as gifts. The gifts of fudge sauce were so well received that her friends convinced her to mass produce her sauce, and Sweet Carol Ann’s fudge it was born!
6.) Do you have a unique competence in an area that you can use to create a business?
View your life from the outside looking in. You’ve made choices that have landed you in a specific business sector whether it’s B2B or B2C. If you develop a vision that will improve your business or disrupt the industry with a new product, you can pair that vision with the skills and expertise you have diligently honed. Your distinctive competence will give you a better chance for a successful startup. You will know the ropes of your industry and have contacts who can help you get started and make sales.
You don’t have to score 100% on each question. Every journey is different. The entrepreneurial itch can surface at different times in peoples lives. For me, the “Pull” started as a teenager on the beaches of the New Jersey shore, but that relentless force could start burning within you at any stage. Who and where are you?
- A corporate professional
- A visionary Millennial
- An enterprising MBA student
- An empty-nester
- A motivated Baby Boomer
- A retiree?
It’s never too early and never too late to take the first step toward entrepreneurship. If that’s simply giving credence to your desire, then perhaps you’ve just taken your first step!
STAY TUNED FOR PART 2, “The Push”
I will help you identify that crystallizing moment when you know it’s time to take the leap!
Join the conversation. In the COMMENTS below, share where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.
Free Download here: “The Ten Commandments of Startup Profit!”
Ed McLaughlin is currently co-writing the book “The Purpose Is Profit: Secrets of a Successful Entrepreneur from Startup to Exit” with Wyn Lydecker and Paul McLaughlin.
Copyright © 2014 by Ed McLaughlin All rights reserved.