Original Date Posted: Feb 17, 2012
By: Susan Lane

There is a quote I try to remember as I go through life, “For everything one expects to get out of life, a person must also be willing to give something in return.” There are no persons who “have it all,” even though at times it may seem so. Each person must make hard choices throughout a lifetime which affect personal and business opportunities.

People outside the realm of business ownership often seem impressed and, or mystified by the accomplishments of a business owner, who either “makes it” or appears to “make it.” There is a sort of mystique surrounding a successful person, which makes others think there must be something special there and if only that something special could be defined, others could find the same success. Although I never thought of myself as extremely successful or “having made it,” I must appear that way to many others who wish for money and success. There always seems to be an overwhelming infatuation with business ownership and because of this I am often asked for advice from others contemplating a business start up or a purchase of an existing business. As a SCORE counselor for many years after retiring, I spend a lot of time in the company of people desiring help with business and craving success.

Anyone can be a successful business person, if he or she really wants it badly enough but there are many people who because of temperament, life goals or lack of and other responsibilities will be happier and more content working for someone else.

When asked for advice on whether someone should begin a business, I first try to force them to give serious thought to all aspects of what business ownership really means in both their personal and business lives. By asking the ten questions listed below, I can usually determine if someone is actually suited for business ownership:

  1. What are your short term goals in life (six months)?
  2. What are your long term goals in life (10 years)?
  3. What are your family responsibilities (marriage, children)?
  4. Do you and your family share the same goals?
  5. Are your personal finances in order (no debt)?
  6. How much knowledge do you have about the business in which you wish to invest?
  7. How is your health and the health of your family?
  8. Do you enjoy reading and studying?
  9. Do you have a great sense of humor?
  10. What will happen in your life if you fail?