Is retail the right opportunity for you? Weighing several
factors will help you answer that question. Personality,
motivations, your strengths and weaknesses, money, and experience
should be at the top of your checklist.
a good career decision involves both self-assessment and
market research. Begin the self-assessment process by examining
your skills and identifying what kinds of products or services
you can offer. What skills do you most enjoy using? If you
are artistic, merchandising a store and designing advertising
may appeal to you. Or you may be mechanically inclined,
enjoy solving puzzles or helping people. Therefore an auto
parts store, business consulting practice or birthing coach
business may be for you. By tying your skills to your market's
wants and needs, you greatly increase the likelihood that
your new business will be successful.
Many people successfully make the transition from being
an employee to an employer, but many do not. Do you have
what it takes to be in business for yourself? Even if you
are suited to be a business owner, is a consumer-focused
business for you? Are you better suited to be a wholesaler,
distributor or manufacturer? Answer the following five questions
honestly. Talk to your spouse, best friend or prospective
partner about your answers as a reality check.
Are you good at multitasking? In your own business,
you have to be willing and able to do everything yourself.
When you work for someone else, you are usually responsible
for just one thing and have limited control. You are supported
by others with expertise or experience in different roles
and functions. In retail, every day can be a stretch, as
you encounter customers, employees, vendors and landlords.
You can't say, "That's not my job." It's all yours.
What is your risk tolerance? In a startup retail
business, you worry about being in the right place at the
right time with the right goods and services for the right
people at the right price. Do you adjust quickly to unplanned
events or prefer more predictable, organized projects? Do
you see risk as a threat or an opportunity?
Do you count on a paycheck? New business owners
can rarely count on a regular paycheck. Startups frequently
require more capital than planned. Something's bound to
go wrong or change even though everything is penciled out
in your plan. If you break out in a cold sweat if you aren't
paid on the same day every month, you may want to rethink
going out on your own. Most of the money you make will go
right back into inventory and other costs of doing business.
Are you a self-starter and comfortable being alone? Or
do you draw your energy from being around others and count
on colleagues for support and advice? In your own business,
you must lead, knowing what to do and when to do it, and
be fully accountable for everything that happens. The buck
stops with you. Sometimes that's a lonely place.
Do you value predictability or prize diversity? Not
only are there laws against discrimination in hiring and
business practices, but America is a multicultural society.
When you open your store or service company, you will be
interacting with a wide spectrum of customers, vendors,
advisors and employees. Retailers need to be people-oriented,
flexible and good-natured. Can you manage conflict, see
things from others' point of view, and cater to their taste,
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