Look into the pros, cons of being your own boss

July 13, 2008|By Stephen L. Rosenstein

If you have been affected by the economic swings of the past few years, this may be a good time to consider starting that small business you've always dreamed about building.

Ask yourself, "Can I be my own boss?" Try to objectively assess the pros and cons.

Running a business is different from working for one - even if you are an experienced manager. Every responsibility - generating new work, paying taxes, locating office space, buying paper clips - falls on you. That is in addition to doing the work itself.

There is no substitute for experience, so speak to other small business owners who are in the same line of work. Find out how they got started, what mistakes they made and what they would do differently.

Put yourself in the position of your potential customers. What impresses you about the businesses you use? Consider the time, cost and energy required to support value-added services.

Tell friends and colleagues of your plans. They may volunteer other contacts or provide useful perspectives.

Make planning a constant effort. Update your business plan often.

In today's fast-pace business climate, your entrepreneurial plans may have to take a back seat to other developments in your current work life.

Put your family's financial security first. If a good job opportunity arises, it may be best to take it and put your entrepreneurship dreams aside for a while. But don't abandon them completely.

Many successful small businesses have been started as part-time ventures, enabling their owners to eventually shed the worries of working for someone else and truly be their own bosses.

Stephen L. Rosenstein is co-chairman of the Greater Baltimore SCORE Chapter No. 3. Call 410-962-2233 to speak to a SCORE counselor or go to www.scorebaltimore.org. To send a question to SCORE, e-mail smallbiz@baltsun.com.

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