Business Planning: Choosing the Right Business for You

Millions of people dream of starting their own business each year.  A small fraction of those are brave enough to actually take the plunge.

The most difficult decision that entrepreneurs face when they make the decision to work for themselves is in deciding what type of business they want to go into.  Before you rush into something merely based on what may make you the most money, you should take an honest look at the priorities of you and your family.  Running your own business can bring you much more than financial success or failure, it can bring you a much broader sense of fulfillment and control that you could ever expect.

It is absolutely vital for you to think things through before you jump into business ownership. Too many entrepreneurs end up bored and discouraged because they didn’t take the time to consider their options and select the right path for them. Take a little time now to set a vision for yourself to set up the ultimate success of your business, it will make the road you take that much more enjoyable.

To help you make an insightful decision, there are some simple questions you can ask to help you choose your own path….

What do you want to do with your time?
In the United States, the average employee spends 40 hours a week at work, 2080 hours working a year. That is a fraction of the time you will work if you run your own business. In an office, you have a departments for finance, office management, human resources, sales and marketing, business development, and much more. In your own business, you run the whole show 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year. Choosing the right business for you is critical to your success when you are investing that kind of time and passion into something. Pick something that will keep you excited and interested. If you do something you truly love, you won’t mind the long hours. If you like what you do, it won’t feel like the grind of doing work (at least most of the time.)

What are your skills?
We all have things that we are good at. Sit down and make a list of things that you do well (even things like hobbies) and you may be surprised at some of the business options open to you. The important thing is to find a business in which you will really shine and be well-suited for the critical functions of that business. You don’t need to do everything well, there are lots of outside consultants and contractors that can help you in the areas where you don’t shine so don’t let what you don’t know scare you away from doing something you will truly enjoy.

What business fits your lifestyle?
When you are considering businesses make sure you take into account the type of lifestyle you want to lead. If working at home is your priority, you should consider an e-commerce based business that doesn’t involve travel. If you need flexibility in your schedule, you can consider project based businesses such as graphic design, website development or writing where a set schedule is not critical to business.

What about the money?
Let’s be honest, money does need to be a criteria in determining what business you want to run. You need to sit down and carefully consider your business financing requirements. If you have limited resources and don’t want to seek out financing, select something that you can grow organically without outside funding. Start small and let the business revenues provide the operational and growth capital you’ll need. Many businesses can require small amounts of capital to start and that may be the best route to take if you are just starting out. For example, with my own consulting business all I started out with was my laptop and a phone line. Once you get established you can develop additional marketing materials such as business cards and brochures or a website as you grow.

Do you have an exit strategy?

It may surprise you but you should always have a plan of how you will exit your business if or when the time comes. Do you want to sell it? Do you want to keep it forever? Are you ready to liquidate if it doesn’t work? Picking an exit strategy at the start will help you eliminate future legal and tax headaches for later.

About the author:    The Business Girl is Terri Sullivan Biehn.  I have been a professional business writer and management consultant for more than fifteen years.  As a management consultant, I work with entrepreneurs to develop business plans and other documents.  Through my consulting practice, I coach entrepreneurs and small business owners on their general start-up, marketing, financial, operational and management issues.