Personal clarification

What is the driving force behind your desire to establish your own business? Do you have the perseverance and desire to get your project off the ground? A good tip is to clarify this while working on developing your idea.

What should be clarified?

Just as important as having an overview of your customers and the market is that you make a personal clarification of yourself as an entrepreneur. You may have a good business idea, which there is a market for, but your life situation may make it difficult to realise the idea at the present time. For example, you may have just invested in a new home and funds are tight.

Here are some questions that might be worth reflecting on:

  • How big is the risk that I am willing to take to start my own business? (Major risk, some risk, low risk, no risk).
  • How important is financial security to me? (Not important, no significance, quite important, very important).
  • Are those closest to you supporting you on this? (Yes, maybe, don't know, no).
  • Is the desire to run your own business bigger than to be employed by someone? (Yes, maybe, dont know, no)

If your answers land on the alternatives furthest to the right, you should carefully consider whether this is something you should attempt to realise at the present time. Make sure that those closest to you support your plans and that you are willing to take a financial risk. Spend the time to prepare good start-up budgets that will help you get an overview of the risk you take on.

The following are a few more questions you can ask yourself and must answer truthfully before you are fully committed:

  • What consequences could this have for me and my family if I don't succeed from the start?
  • What will happen if I don't generate revenues early enough to pay my bills?

Spend the time on such a personal clarification while planning the start-up and assess the legal structure that will best suit you and your project.

Characteristics of entrepreneurs

People who succeed as entrepreneurs and who have since been able to run their own businesses often share common characteristics. For example, they:

  • Take the initiative and like to have responsibility.
  • Are open to new ideas, and create and develop opportunities.
  • Are optimistic, outgoing, inquisitive and dare to break the mould.
  • Have good self-confidence and are aware of their weaknesses and strengths.
  • Are persistent, and set achievable goals.
  • Are good at listening to people's needs, and good at building relationships with the outside world.

Do you recognize yourself in this description?

The ideal response of course is that you recognize yourself and identify with all the characteristics described above. It is not enough to be open to new ideas if you do not have the required persistence and patience while setting yourself achievable goals. Are you able to recognise your own strengths and weaknesses? If the answer is yes, it might be easier for you to bring other resources in on your project.

An example: You are a good tradesman, but neither like nor understand finance and accounting. You should then find someone who can do this job for you instead of spending a great deal of time and energy on attempting to do it yourself. Your time is valuable. Use this time to make money from what you can do.

Build and maintain networks

If the timing is such that right now is the time that the idea should be realized, you can think about alternative ways of getting started. Consider whether you can start with one or more partners who have expertise, capital and networks.
Properly building and maintaining your network may be decisive to whether you succeed. You probable know people who can provide you with input and ideas at an early stage. These may be people who could potentially sit on the board of you company. Also use friends of friends as part of your network. We do not have a culture in Norway for using personal networks in this manner. But try. It may prove to be invaluable, particularly after you have gotten started.

A tip is to spend some time mapping out your network:

  • Who do I know and what can they help me with?
  • How and when do I make contact?
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