Should you start your own business? And if so, what kind of business should you run? Todd Pfister is the Managing Partner of FranNet MidAmerica and a Partner of TP4 Advisors. On this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast, we’re talking about entrepreneurship: how to know if it’s right for you and how to know where that fits into your continued career path and long-term life success.
Knowing if business ownership is right for you
Business ownership is the road less traveled: it’s winding and exhilarating, but it’s not for everyone. Todd’s team has developed an evaluation process that includes determining your personality profile, building out a business model, and understanding your why. The right business ties into your skill sets, professional experiences, and personal experiences. There is no cookie cutter path: it’s about helping people realize their individual gifts and understand their talents.
Todd’s advice to entrepreneurs
Getting clarity about your goals
Understand the difference between passion and interest. One key hurdle for a lot of people wanting to start or buy into a business is that they don’t have that passion. They don’t have a specific industry or skill set that they really want to build on. But they might be passionate about getting to the next stage of life or having more freedom or control or flexibility. You need to unpack your passion and your interests — and what it is that really motivates you.
The most common result of people going through Todd’s process is deciding they’re not built to be business owners and getting a corporate job instead. And that’s okay. You need to understand what kind of business owner you can be... IF you do decide to be a business owner. Do you have the aptitude for it? The funding? The support? What kind of business is your personality best suited for?
The right timing
Timing is one leg of a four-legged stool: you also need to look at funding, aptitude, and spousal support. Do you have all these other legs in place to keep you up?
And from a timing standpoint, you can’t have everything at once. Life comes in stages. For example: owning a business early in their marriage wouldn’t have been feasible for Todd and his wife. The timing is a lot better now, 20 years later, that their four kids have grown up.
Take a long term view of where you are within your career and family and understand: is now the right time for you?
Why entrepreneurs fail — and what to watch out for
We’ve all had a bad job or a bad boss or bad outcomes: that’s normal. But if someone has a spotty career history with consistent performance issues, Todd would hesitate about having them go in and buy into a business.
Another issue is when people have trouble managing the revenue cycles. Usually, when you’re a small business, you’re either selling or delivering. If you can’t manage your revenue, then it’s hard to go out and do market development and then come back to create solutions, because revenue will naturally go up and down. You have to be really comfortable with driving revenue and building that income.
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