Should I Start a Business? Part 1
By Crown Financial Ministries
Many people who are unhappy in their jobs, or who are without a job, consider going into business for themselves. Sometimes this is a good option and sometimes it isn’t. Starting a business can be a complex undertaking, requiring much prayer and consideration, the right motive, a workable plan, and adequate capital. Without all of these in place, the dream of starting a business can easily disintegrate into a nightmare.
Areas to evaluate
Before starting a business, there are various business areas that must be addressed and several questions that must be satisfactorily answered. The areas that must be addressed are God’s will, motivation, knowledge/experience, start-up capital, financial records, personnel, and time/energy/family. In Part 1 we will discuss several questions that must be reasonably answered in the areas of God’s will, motivation, and knowledge/experience. In Part 2 we will discuss questions that must be answered in the areas of start-up capital, financial records, personnel, and time/energy/family.
God’s will and motivation must work together. True motivation for pursuing starting a business must align with what we believe God’s will is concerning starting a business, so, the following questions regarding God’s will need to be answered before any attempt is made to start a new business.
- Have I truly sought God’s perfect will concerning this decision? Did I seek His will first concerning starting this business or did I decide to start it and then seek God’s approval?
- Will my decision enable me to better glorify the Lord through the business?
- Does my spouse have peace concerning this decision? Does he or she feel that the decision is God’s will? Do I have peace in my heart concerning this decision? Do we both agree about how we should proceed?
Proper motivation for starting a business needs to include a strong desire to provide a product, a service, or a specific talent or idea that could be marketed better by you than by someone else. Improper motives would be to start a business in order to get rich quick and then get out or in order to retire early and not have to work. The following questions should help you determine whether your motive to start a new business is right.
- Why do I want to start this business? List reasons in order of priority.
- Why don’t I like my current job situation? Why do I want to leave it?
- What alternatives have I considered other than self-employment?
- What values and/or needs are not being met in my current employment situation? Can starting this business meet those values and/or needs?
- Starting a business takes a lot of commitment and hard work. It can be a challenge of enormous magnitude, and it usually takes a desire to overcome obstacles regardless of what may arise. Am I willing to make that commitment and is this something that I really want to do?
We should never become involved with things about which we know nothing. In today’s American society small businesses employ 53 percent of the American workforce. However, small businesses also make up 60 percent of all business failures. To minimize business failure potential, business owners need to concentrate their efforts in sectors where they have the most experience. The following questions need to be answered before any serious thought is given to starting a new business.
- What is my level of knowledge and experience regarding the business I want to start? The amount of knowledge and experience is directly related to whether the business will be a success or a failure.
- How much business experience do I have? This would include all profit-loss responsibilities.
- Have I satisfactorily investigated the regulations (federal, state, and local) that govern the potential business? Are licenses required? Is certification required? Are special levels of education or areas of training required?
- Am I knowledgeable of the income tax and Social Security tax requirements that govern self-employed individuals?
- Do I have a written business plan? If not, do I know how to write one? If not, do I know how to find out how to write one? (Note: If you do not know how to write a business plan, check with your local Small Business Development Center.)
- Do I know what defines a Christian business? How will I glorify God with this business? Do I know and have I studied God’s principles for operating a business?
Once the questions in these first three business areas have been answered satisfactorily, the potential business entrepreneur can move to the next four areas of concern. The last four areas are addressed in After answering all of the questions in all seven areas, a decision can be made whPart 2 of Should I start a business?ether to pursue a new business venture.
(Part 1 and Part 2 of Should I start a business? are an adaptation and paraphrase of Larry Burkett’s pamphlet “Should You Start a Business?” published by Christian Financial Concepts, 1996.)
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