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Your skills aren't enough

© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

Let's say that you are a widget adjuster. The world is full of widgets, and a lot of them are out of tune and in need of adjusting. Widget adjusting is best done by experienced people, and you have that experience. There are big companies that do widget adjusting (you work for one right now), but their overhead is high and their customer service isn't what it should be. Sounds like a great opportunity for you to start your own business.

And it is. But your skill at adjusting widgets is not enough.

I don't want to scare you off. There are other skills you need, but I don't think any of them are extremely difficult to acquire. Yet.. some people just can't do it. You don't have to understand a lot about accounting to run a small business, but you do need to understand a little. You need at least basic math skills to calculate your operating costs and set your rates. Nothing advanced, but if you truly are bad with numbers, you'll need to get better or hire someone else to help you with that. In the same vein, you don't have to be the world's best sales person to be successful as an independent widget adjuster, but you are going to need at least some sales skills.

Running a business, even when it's just a one person service, requires at least some business skill. Don't get too afraid of this: an awful lot is just common sense. On the other hand, don't trivialize this either: you need general business skills to survive.

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