Branching out on one’s own is a big step and one that needs to be carefully thought out before the proverbial big plunge. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

Branching out on one’s own is a big step and one that needs to be carefully thought out before the proverbial big plunge. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

IT’S YOUR BUSINESS: Planning before you start a business is a key to its success

Joes Smith

Special to The Record

With things beginning to open up as the pandemic is hopefully fading, many people are having second thoughts about going back to an office environment and are considering branching out on their own as a freelancer or starting up their own business. In either case, this will be a big step and one that needs to be carefully thought out before the proverbial big plunge.

There are lots of motivational quotes out there but perhaps one from Mark Twain sums up the idea of going out on your own more appropriately: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. “

Are you up for it? While you may want to live a lifestyle that is not bound by nine to five the truth is that operating your own business will require hard work. The good news is that you can set your own pace and take a day off anytime you chose.

While Twain suggests you throw off the lines and set sail, you want to make sure your boat is in ship shape, you don’t have any leaks and your rudder is in good condition. Before you even begin to enjoy that freedom you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Are you resilient? You need to be able to ride the roller-coaster of good and bad times. You need to have resources in place in order to carry you through rough seas.

Do you like to network and meet people? Business is ultimately about people. You grow your business through building trustful relationships. Remember – people still want to deal with people they know and trust.

Do you like to sell? If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. Selling for some is not the easiest thing to do but if you don’t learn to deal with it you are not likely to succeed.

Do you have a good personal support structure? You will need it. When you have a bad day you will need someone to help pick you up and when it is a good day, someone who will share in your success.

Are you action-oriented and ready for change? Socrates wrote that the secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.

And don’t forget you still need to put together a business plan so that you have a sense of who you are, who your customers are and where you want to be in the future,

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email joesmith@shaw.ca

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