Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked small-business owners what people should ask themselves before opening their own firm. This is what they said:
• Am I prepared to give up my free time nights, weekends and vacations for the next three or more years in order to get this business up and running smoothly? said Bruce Foster, owner of Mr. Handyman of Western Wake County, which provides repair, maintenance and light remodeling services to residential and small commercial customers. If you are starting from scratch, a franchise or a new business, you can plan to consistently spend 70-plus hours each week working in and on the business. If you are lucky enough to take a vacation, youll probably only work 25 to 30 hours during those weeks.
• Many start a business because its a special interest or passion for them; something theyve always wanted to do. ... Are they really willing to dedicate the time and resources it takes to be successful? said Bob McEwen, owner of SignCraft Solutions a full-service sign company in Wake Forest. Are they willing to and capable of working long hours, juggling all of the hats a business owner needs to wear, deal with finances, employees, human resources issues, marketing, signage, networking and customers and still enjoy what they are doing?
• Is this something I love enough to spend 14 hours a day working on? said Teri Saylor, freelance writer, photographer and owner of Open Water Communications in Raleigh. And then get up the next day and do it all over again, and the next day and the next and the next, and then look forward to Monday morning so I can get up and work 14 more hours?
• Do you have staying power? said Roger Gore, owner of Tall Pines Marketing Group in Cary. Even the best-executed marketing plan usually takes three months to grab the attention of target prospects and influencers. Utilize a flexible road map so you maximize opportunities and thrive in the first three critical years.
• I think a person must determine how truly committed they are mentally, emotionally and financially to getting a business started, and then they must maintain that level of commitment on a daily basis, said Tommy DeLoach, creator and president of INVISI-ball Wall Mount, a New Hill company that makes mounting device for footballs and basketballs.