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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Are You Ready to Start Your Own Engineering Business?

 

Lots of people have great ideas every day. Whether it’s a product which they think can change the way we live or a service which they’re sure no one else has thought of, the idea is enough to set an entrepreneurial fire underneath them. However, just because someone has come up with an idea does not mean they are ready to run a business. If you have an idea which you’d like to be able to turn into a profitable business, you need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re really ready. To help you make the right choice, here are some important questions to ask yourself before you jump in with both feet.

 

Do you have a plan, or just an idea?

In simple terms, if you only have a good idea but nothing else, it’s likely that you’re not ready to start a business yet. Launching and running a profitable business requires a sound knowledge of business principles, thorough market research and a business plan which outlines your sales and marketing strategies as well as your financial projections for the coming years. If all of this is sounding unfamiliar to you, you might want to study for an engineering MBA before taking the leap into running an engineering business.

 

Do you have a support network in place?

Starting and running a business is not an easy lifestyle and requires a lot of sacrifice. You will be investing considerable money into something which you have no guarantee will generate a profit and will be working long hours in order to get it to a profitable state. You need to ensure that you have family and friends around you who will not only support you when times get hard but also understand that your enterprise may impact their life too.

 

Are you willing and able to work with others?

Many people start a business with dreams of being their own boss and owning your own business will indeed give you more control, but it’s naïve to assume you won’t need to work with other people. No one can start and run a business completely by themselves. From finding colleagues with expertise in areas you can’t manage, employees and suppliers to stakeholders and clients; you will always need to be a team player.

 

Are you ready to make mistakes?

Everyone makes mistakes when they start their first business, and if someone tells you they didn’t, they are either forgetful or untruthful. You need to be ready to accept when you’ve made a mistake, change strategy and listen to the advice of others. You have the final say when it comes to running your business, but often an outside point of view can be helpful when you run into a wall. Here are seven common mistakes made by start-ups.

 

Do you have the funding or a financial plan in place?

You probably have an amount of money in mind which you think will be enough to launch your business. Unfortunately, in almost all circumstances, you will have grossly underestimated what you will need to spend. Money does not have to come out of your pocket as there are plenty of loans and grant schemes available for start-up businesses, but you need to be realistic with your budget.

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