Mark Cuban said in an interview with Inc. recently that he knew he didn’t want to work for someone else anymore after working for a bank right after college. Enthusiastic about the job and how to help the company improve and move up the ladder, he started a “rookies club” with all the new employees where they would go out for drinks and invite some of the executives along to network. Well, Cuban’s boss wasn’t too impressed. In fact, he was upset.
“He just started screaming and said you have to run everything through me,” recalls Cuban. Obviously, his manager didn’t like employee initiative — even during off hours.
Whatever prompts your entrepreneurial drive, you should be prepared for the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. Adeshola Akintobi got the work-for-myself bug and started Best Face Forward Makeup Studio, a luxury makeup concierge in Brooklyn, New York.
Akintobi suggests envisioning what you want. “Close your eyes and think about what your ideal life would be like. How do you want to spend your day? If your ideal life would be spent outdoors or traveling, don’t go into the restaurant business (unless it’s a food truck) as you will spend an exorbitant amount time in one place. Speak to someone who is doing what you want to do. Find out the advantages of running that type of business but pay attention to the drawbacks,” Akintobi tells MadameNoire.
Minority women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of small businesses in the United States. And African-American female-owned firms grew the fastest than any other group of firms in number of firms by 67 percent, says the Minority Business Development Agency.
According to the National Women’s Business Council, in 2007 there were 911,728 African-American women-owned businesses in the United States, a huge 66.7 percent increase in number since 2002. And African-American women-owned firms nationwide have total receipts of $36.8 billion, a growth of 78.1 percent since 2002.
If this is the route you too want to take, know clearly what you want to pursue. “You first must identify your passion and does it have retail value,” author and lifestyle coach Qwana Reynolds says. “Once you zero in on what you want to sell and share with the world you should get organized.” Also know your skills and the areas you will need help in. If you are venturing into retail but are not a good salesperson, sales will be an area you should seek help.
Also examine your motives. Don’t venture into business for the wrong reasons. “Are you ready to leave your job because of your calling, family, time, finances, or are you seeking more leadership?” asks Reynolds. “Your calling should trump all of the above otherwise you will lose your desire just like you have lost your job.”
Do an entrepreneurial check list. Make sure ask yourself these questions, says Jean Kristensen of Jean Kristensen Associates, a minority- and woman-owned business consultancy.
–Do I have adequate financial resources to pursue entrepreneurship full time?
–Do I have the support needed to start and grow a business?
–What are my unique talents and how can I incorporate them into a strategy to start and grow a business?
–Is there a need for my service?
–Who will I be selling to? How will I communicate with them?
Be aware you may try and fail. “Entrepreneurship is awesome but it is not for all,” says Reynolds. Adds Akintobi, “Don’t be discouraged. Finding out what you aren’t cut out for is helpful and vital to your success. Being an entrepreneur takes commitment (time and financial) and endurance through adversity. Knowing that running a business isn’t for you can save you time, money and a lot of heartache.”
Bottom line, going into business for yourself will most likely involve some struggles, you have to be willing to ride them out. Entrepreneurship is for you if you are “comfortable with: lack of sleep, putting your finances towards your business as opposed to wasteful spending, tons of self motivation, and have an eye for marketing.”
If you think you have what it takes, go for it. Says Akintobi, “If you have a strong desire to work for yourself and you can except the uncertainty that comes along with running a business, then by all means throw your hat into the entrepreneurial ring.”