It’s important to imagine success as an entrepreneur while making sure it’s not a pipe dream. Business owners have all kinds of stress.

The stress list is long: Fuel, energy and utility costs; taxes, regulatory costs; insurance costs; labor costs, banking fees, product development costs, capital expenses and facility costs.

Stressful economy or not, it’s possible to successfully start a new business.

Entrepreneurs launch their small business with big ideas. Certainly, the business and the owner are synonymous – everything is based on the person’s personality.

At the minimum, there are six key questions to ask yourself:

1. Is it a business for which I’ll have passion?

Pursue what you like. Reflect thoroughly on your big idea. To get off to a good start, test its value. Gauge your opportunities for success.

2. Do I understand my strengths and weaknesses?

Know your limitations. A self-assessment is imperative.

Every businessperson has fears, and wants to alleviate their uncertainties about business. The trick is to solve them.

3. Do I have a clear picture of my dream?

It’s important that you have a clear, compelling vision of your market. Understand what your business will look like, who the customers are, and how you will manage your venture.

Along with your work, don’t omit fun, recreation, and especially family.

4. What is my business plan?

Every business needs research for an action plan of marketing and operational strategies – a road map for its direction. That includes a break-even analysis for cash flow, and strategies to save time and money. Remember greener is leaner.

Home businesses can be successful, but if you need outside space, consider subletting unused space. Allow for flexibility and marketplace changes. Be careful with your branding and value propositions – the reasons why customers would want to buy from you.

5. Will I go solo?

Determine your structure. Consider the legal and financial ramifications, including being a sole proprietor, an S-Corp., or LLC.

Basically, there’s only one good reason for a partner – the other person must have strong skills you don’t have for success. A cash infusion is not a good enough reason.

Good chemistry in a stressful environment is difficult to achieve.

6. What will be my support system? Consider whether whether to have a team of advisors – professionals knowledgeable about issues — marketing, financial, human resources, and legal.

The minimum I’d recommend is a successful mentor, and buy-in if you have family.

Do your homework, work with passion and you’ll succeed.

From the Coach’s Corner, you might want to review the various categories of this portal. They’re designed to be a resource you can use in all aspects of your business, including this three-part series:

10 Scholarly Solutions for Selling More ProductsPart one of a three-part series: How to grow your small business. Small business owners face more predators than ever, which makes decision-making about growth seem very challenging.

Marketing Essentials on a Shoestring BudgetPart two of a three-part series: How to grow your small business. Why do businesses sometimes falter?

Management and HR for higher performance – Part three: How to grow your small business. In analyzing the growth rates of small businesses – every great entrepreneur has one salient quality – the ability to be an effective manager.

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.