If you’re trying to turn an idea into a business, you’re an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur requires bravery and sacrifice – a good idea alone can’t guarantee success, and the path to your American Dream leads through some challenging, uncertain terrain.
In honor of National Entrepreneurs’ Day, we want to acknowledge the tough choices that face entrepreneurs and new small businesses. Here’s a quick list of 5 tough choices that every entrepreneur must face:
1. “Should I Quit My Day Job?
How do you know when it’s time to quit your day job? You may not know if your new company is stable and secure. Even when business is growing, it could take a turn for the worse.
Entrepreneurship is an unstable and sometimes risky path. But, if you carefully consider the risks and find that you’re in a position to make it work, deciding to quit your job may be your next step. Here, timing is everything.
2. “Where Should I Get Funding?”
At some point, you’ll need money to get your business rolling. Where should the money come from? You have options. But, you need to research and consider the risks that come with each. Of course, bootstrapping and funding yourself gives you the most freedom, but what if you need that nest egg to quit your day job? Funding yourself puts a lot of personal stress on top of what you’re already dealing with.
You may find investors willing to fund your business, but they will also take away some of your control. Crowdfunding can also be an attractive option, but it can be unpredictable.
3. “When Should I Hire (or Fire)?”
Okay, you’re making the tough decisions, but who is going to act on those decisions? You need a team, but who makes up that team and at what point do you bring them in? Deciding when you need to hire an employee is tough. Deciding who to hire is tough too.
A bad hire compromises your ability to succeed, and the decision to fire someone isn’t easy or cheap. This is why hiring is one of the toughest choices entrepreneurs have to make.
4. “When and How Should I Expand?”
Expansion, much like hiring, is an exciting but a serious decision. Too much too soon, or even not soon enough, can put your business in a precarious position. You’ve got to find that sweet spot where your resources aren’t stretched too thin, but you aren’t missing out on any opportunities.
5. “What is My Exit Strategy?”
You need to have a fail-safe in place – an exit strategy for your business. This is a tough choice and it might also be one of the most important for your future. Some business owners are lucky enough to hand off their company to a family member or sell it and retire with millions. You could plan to sell the business, but what happens if there aren’t any qualified buyers? Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs will be forced to close their doors, or worse – file bankruptcy. Decide on an exit strategy.
How to Make these Tough Choices Easier
None of these decisions will be easy. The best advice we’ve heard is to make educated decisions. Research each step, learn, and read about your options. Then, once you’ve made a tough decision, don’t look back. It’s best to understand mistakes will happen. You might make the wrong decision. But failures are an essential part of the process. Fail forward. Most importantly, remember to celebrate your successes as they come, because they will.
Through hard work, determination, and initiative you’ll have the opportunity to live the American Dream. Celebrate National Entrepreneurs’ Day by making some tough choices – it’s just part of the process.