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Stop, Look, Listen
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Stop, Look, And Listen

"The wise person stops, looks, and listens to what is going on around him before making decisions that will affect his life."
~John M. Roberts~

If you are planning on starting a business, you may want to stop for just a moment to get a sense of what it is you expect to accomplish. Starting a business is easy to do but making it work takes time, money, thought, and at times, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

Every business is different and how you perceive the way your business is to be created and run can make the difference between success or failure. Most people don't like to think about losing money, but many businesses lose a lot of money before they start making money and some never prosper because the entrepreneur never stopped to think about the obstacles that will more than likely materialize sooner or later.

Thinking about the "what if's" in life as well as in business is not being negative. Many people have the perception that if you think long, you think wrong. In some cases that's true, but when you are about to put your heart, soul, and long term financial health into a business, it may be a wise idea to stop and think hard about what you are getting yourself into.

Stop: Determine the pros and cons of starting a business in the field that you want to work in. Take the time to investigate all aspects of what it is you want your business to accomplish.

  • First, ask yourself if it's as good of an idea as you think it is to start a business. This is important because once you get started, you don't want to come to the realization that starting this type of business wasn't a good idea in the first place.
  • Is the timing right? Is the economy strong enough to support your business until it starts to prosper? Is this the right business cycle?
  • Do you have the money to make ends meet while you work your business. This is important for both your family and your business?
  • Do you have the knowledge to make the necessary adjustments that are needed to make your company grow?

Look: There is one thing you can bank on and that is that the competition is looking at you. Even the biggest corporations know that they have to stay one step ahead of the competition so they are always looking over their shoulders.

  • Find out everything there is to know about your completion and don't be naive enough to think that they are not going fight to keep their market share and try to drive you out of business.
  • What is your competition doing to maintain their market share? Do you have the capability to compete with businesses that are already established and doing well?
  • Look at what you are bringing to the table. Can you provide the services that customers want at competitive prices?
  • Look at your bottom line. Draw up a financial plan and look at the numbers. How much does your business need to earn to at least break even? If it does not break even or show a positive income, will you be able to support yourself and your family?

Listen: Listen to others. No matter how smart you are, you can always learn something new.

  • Some people think they know everything, and that's a fact. They don't take the time to listen to others and they can't find it in themselves to acknowledge that other people's ideas may be just as good, or better, than their own.
  • Some people want all the credit for starting a successful company so they disconnect from the suggestions of others. They hear, but they ignore or they implement the suggestions of others at a later date so they can take credit for the idea.
  • Remember, you don't have to take advice from other people but there is nothing wrong with listening to what they have to say. You might learn something that can be of a benefit to you and your business.
  • When you acknowledge what other people have to say, they will continue to give you their input.

No one ever said that taking the time to think something through is dumb. It's not. You should stop, look, and listen to ideas and advice before you put your business plans into action.

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