So you’re ready to take the plunge. You have a great idea that you’re confident in and you want to share it with the world. You want to start your own business – but are you ready?

Starting your own business is a huge commitment, both financially and personally. Here are three sure ways to know if you’re ready to take that step

1. There’s Passion Behind Your Idea

No matter what type of business you’re starting, you have to be passionate about the market and believe wholeheartedly in your potential to succeed. What will make your company stand apart from others? Talk to other entrepreneurs and associates who have been in the same place as you to gain advice and refine your business plan. The more prepared you are, the better chance your business has of succeeding.

If you aren’t excited about your business, potential investors won’t be either. Create and practice your “elevator pitch” that clearly and concisely describes who you are and what you hope to accomplish, and begin sharing that with others.

2. You’re in it for the Long Haul

Starting a successful business means you’re ready for the long-term commitment, which means accepting the potential risks, too. You have to be willing to put in the hours. If you don’t invest yourself into the business, it drastically diminishes your chances of success.

Having the support of friends and family is immensely helpful when trying to accomplish this. Share plans and ideas with those you trust and ask them to help hold you accountable in following through with those plans. Having a strong support system will make you – and your business – that much stronger.

3. You’re Financially Prepared to Launch a Business

Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s going to take some initial investment to get your business off the ground. One way to receive funding is by taking out a loan. You can apply for a small business loan from a financial institution, or even talk to friends and family about getting a loan from them. However, it’s advisable to establish a concrete legal framework for your agreement to avoid damaging these relationships later on.

When potential lenders are considering your company as an investment, whether a credit union or a personal acquaintance, they want to see that you have a strong business plan and commitment to your ideas, and that they can trust you to follow through with your end of the agreement. Traditional loans aren’t the only way to gain capital, however. Another method that’s been growing in popularity is to look for angel investors who are interested in your business.

An angel investor is an individual who invests in businesses as they’re starting out, and in return they receive a significant equity interest (meaning a share of ownership) in your company. There are two types: affiliated and non-affiliated. The non-affiliated angel investors are individuals who have no connection to your business whatsoever, while affiliated angels do have some kind of prior connection to you. This could be a fellow entrepreneur, a lawyer, banker, doctor or another professional.

Speaking with an FSU Credit Union representative can help you get a better idea of where you stand financially and what steps you can take to get your business off the ground. You can speak with one of our representatives at (850) 224-4960 or visit one of our branch locations.

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