3 Questions: Do You Have What It Takes To Run A Business?

(By Catherine McManus)

After 41 years in business, they recently sold their company – a business that provided them with the resources to raise their family in suburban Philadelphia and put three children through private school and college.  But it was the entrepreneurial work ethic that was the most valuable lesson for son Mark, now 40, who started changing tires at his parents’ shop when he was 16: “I learned the importance of working hard.

When Claire and Jerry McGinnis started their tire sales and auto service business in 1971, running a company was a lot different than it is today.  “We kept all of our business records in volumes upon volumes of giant books,” remembers Claire, who set aside thousands of square feet for records and inventory in their Quakertown, PA shop – which, a few decades later, were all saved on a single hard drive.

What it took for them to succeed remained unchanged, however.  After 41 years in business, they recently sold their company – a business that provided them with the resources to raise their family in suburban Philadelphia and put three children through private school and college.  But it was the entrepreneurial work ethic that was the most valuable lesson for son Mark, now 40, who started changing tires at his parents’ shop when he was 16: “I learned the importance of working hard.”

Now retired and in their 70s, I took the opportunity to ask them what they thought it takes to start a business and run it successfully for nearly half a century.  What questions did they think you be asking yourself if you think you’re cut out for entrepreneurship?

  1. Do you have the experience in the business that you’ve chosen? Jerry was a successful tire salesman by his mid-30s, but didn’t have the mechanical experience needed to run a full service shop.  So he partnered with an experienced mechanic that he trusted – who helped him build the right team to bring the business to life.

  2. Do you have passion? Running a company is a full time job, plus nights, weekends, holidays and then some. If you don’t love what you do – and don’t love the idea of taking full responsibility for every facet of the company – it might not be the right path for you.

  3. Do you have the energy? “Start young!” joked Claire, who was 31 when their shop first opened its doors.  You need an unlimited reserve of enthusiasm to keep up with the pace – and not the inevitable setbacks get you down.

Small business owners: Does this advice ring true to you? What else would you tell aspiring entrepreneurs to ask themselves before taking the plunge?

(Source: Women&Co)

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