The last of the five resources you must have to start a business that will be successful is a good support system. When you're thinking of business support, look first to the home front.
It’s no coincidence that most successful small business operators are married. While we like to talk about “going it alone” and “running our own show”, you can’t start and run a successful small business without the support of other people. And who better than a supportive spouse to listen to your ideas or problems, and provide the encouragement or advice that keeps you going?
In Entrepreneurship: A Profile For Canadians, (available from the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education), William E. Jennings points out that the successful entrepreneur usually has an exceptionally supportive spouse.
He adds that these exceptional spouses don’t just provide love and stability, but also specific support for the business, such as helping to provide the capital needed to start a business, or working in the company without pay to keep costs down. Spouses who contribute financially by working outside the business are also a common small business scenario.
Having a supportive spouse is especially critical if you want to start a home-based business. As Barbara Mowat and Ted James say, “in reality, you don't start a home business, your whole household does” (Right From Home; Starting A Successful Home-Based Business). You can’t start a home-based business without considering what your family members think about the idea, what role(s) your family members might play in your business, and how your business is going to affect your home life. Without the active support of your family, your home-based business will fail. Talk out these issues beforehand and explore how supportive your family is before you start a business.
Other business people are another valuable source of business support. No matter what kind of business you’re thinking of starting, someone has been there and done that. Talking to other business people who have already established a successful business can go a long way towards avoiding pitfalls and provide insight into what works and what doesn’t.
I’ve always found that other business people are willing to share their knowledge with others; if you can’t find someone locally to talk to, there’s a ever-growing network of business communities online (like this one!) where you can get the information you need, and sometimes good advice, too. You're always welcome to post your questions and comments on the Small Business Canada forum. And my Business Support library has links to Canadian organizations where you can get advice, find a mentor, or just talk to someone.
Are You Ready?
All five of these resources are necessities for starting a successful small or home business. And all five of these resources need to be in place before you start a business. Are you a “Type D” person willing to fully commit to starting and running a successful business? Have you figured out where to get the business start up money you need and secured your financing? Do you have the business knowledge and the support system to help you do what you need to do to be successful? Then go for it! You’re already well on your way to small business success!