The phrase may sound redundant, but for many would-be entrepreneurs, the only thing keeping them from launching a business is that they haven't decided to commit.
In other words, they haven't made the decision to evaluate whether or not entrepreneurship is for them, before launching into a venture that may or may not be successful.
When you're thinking about starting a business, your first major decision is to start it – or not. But even before that, you have a lot more to evaluate.
Take a quiet moment and ask yourself why you're thinking about going into business for yourself: Do you want to be your own boss? Do you prefer freedom to generate your own income over the comforts of job security? Do you have enough of a support network around you?
If you can't decide whether or not entrepreneurship is for you, then it's time to arm yourself with the information you need to make a calculated decision.
Ask for Help
There's no bigger mistake an emerging entrepreneur can make than trying to do everything alone. The most successful entrepreneurs didn't get there by working in a bubble; they sought mentorship, advice, and support from a variety of sources.
Talk to your loved ones, trusted business advisors, and entrepreneurs whom you admire, and find out what they honestly think of your business venture. Ask them how they'd go about starting a business like yours. If they have their own company, find out what they wished they had known when they first started out.
The more resources you can gather, the more confidently you can make a decision about whether or not to commit to the entrepreneurial lifestyle (whatever that means to you).
Evaluate the Risks
List all the things that you find exciting and invigorating about the thought of being an entrepreneur (Creative freedom? Pursuit of passion? Revenue potential?). Then list all the things that will present challenges, or the things that can go wrong (What if the business fails? What if I can't get funding?).
Once you have all the pros and cons listed in plain view, you can see which way the scale is tipping, and think about whether you're willing to take the risks you've identified.
Stop Putting it Off
Perhaps you've heard the saying, "Why do today what can be saved until tomorrow?" This attitude is a huge killer of entrepreneurial
drive. If you tend to procrastinate, you'll have to find a way to get that out of your system if you truly want to succeed. You have to "decide to decide" – otherwise your business won't move as swiftly as you probably want it to.
Many people think that if they just sit down and write a business plan, all of these problems will be solved. You might think a business plan will make decisions for you, but it won't; a plan is just a guide to help you accomplish the things you set about to do as an entrepreneur.
Business plan or not, entrepreneurial success is still about you, your mindset, and your ability to say "ship it" even if the product or service isn't perfect.
Sometimes the only thing holding you back is that you haven't decided to be a decision-maker. So give yourself a deadline, weigh the pros and cons, and go for it – you've nothing to lose but the opportunities you seek!