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Monday, March 13, 2000
Do you have what it takes?

Are you the type of person who should go into business for yourself? The Small Business Administration suggests that you ask yourself these questions before taking the plunge:

Are you a self-starter?
It will be up to you - not someone else - to develop projects, organize your time and follow through on details.

How well do you handle different personalities?
Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people, including customers, vendors, staff, bankers and professionals such as lawyers, accountants and consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor or a cranky staff person in the best interest of your business?

How good are you at making decisions?
Small-business owners must make decisions constantly, quickly, under pressure and independently.

Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business?
Business ownership can be challenging, fun and exciting. However, it's also a lot of work. Can you face 12-hour workdays, six or seven days a week?

How well do you plan and organize?
Research indicates that many business failures could have been avoided through better planning. Good organization - of financial information, inventory, schedules and production - can help avoid many potential pitfalls.

Is your drive strong enough to maintain your motivation?
Running a business can wear you down. Some business owners feel burned out by having to carry all the responsibility on their shoulders. Strong motivation to make the business succeed will help you survive slowdowns as well as periods of burnout.

How will the business affect your family?
The first few years of a business start-up can be hard to balance against the demands of family life. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk.


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