Take this Quiz before you start your business and save yourself a lot of grief. You can print it out and circle your answers, or simply come up with your answer and click on our “More to Think About” button to learn more. When you are done, add up your points and see how you rate based on our scoring.

1 Can you handle not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from? Is regular income and benefits something that you can do without for a period of time?

10 = I have other income from a spouse or part time job and I’m a person who handles risk very well – I won’t go nuts over it.
5 = For 3 – 4 months, I’ll be ok and then things will start to look bad.
1 = I have people who depend on me and I can’t risk losing the house or not having health insurance. I’ll save and plan for a better time to start.

2. Do you have the cash reserves to pay your (personal) bills for the next 2 years without any salary taken from your business?

10 = Really? I guess so – we can cut back on purchases and entertainment – maybe move to a less expensive area.
5 = I’m planning to live on money obtained from loans or friends / family and we’ll get the business off the ground fast.
1 = We live paycheck to paycheck right now and my credit is not good because of a divorce or other reason.

3. In 5 years how much do you want to be making a year from your business (personal salary)?

10 = If I can make the salary I’m making now (before the business) in five years and have a profitable business, I’d be happy.
5 = I expect to be paid for my hard work and risk. I expect to make more than double what I make right now.
1 = Show me the money, baby! Starting a business is the way to become a millionaire, and that’s what I’m after.

4. What type of personal lifestyle do you want? Will your business allow for the hours and personal rewards that are important to you?

10 = I want a more flexible lifestyle, but I know that a business can take 12 – 15 hour days during the first few years.
5 = I want to be there for my kids and expect to be home when they are out of school. My business goals are smaller because of this.
1 = Employees will run my business and I’ll be on the beach most of the year – right?

5. Have you been in the “power position” before? Are you a better leader or loner?

10 = I have experience running a business before. It might not have been successful, but I learned a lot along the way.
5 = I’ve been in management roles in companies like the one I want to start before. I’ve been successful in those positions.
1 = I’ve always wanted to be the leader, but it has never worked out. I’m more of a “loner” and like to work on my own.

6. How does your age effect your business decision? The younger you are the better you may be able to handle risk, but how will a business failure or success affect the rest of your life plans?

10 = I’m at a point in my life where major change and risk are OK. I’m ready for a major challenge and know that failure teaches many things.
5 = It’s now or never for me. I’ve put this on hold long enough.
1 = If this business fails, I’m ruined financially and personally. I’ve got all of my life savings on the line – failure is not an option.

7. Do you have the physical stamina to handle the stress and demands that a business venture will place on you? Business owners tend to need a lot of energy, do you have the reserves?

10 = I am healthy and work to stay that way. Exercise and eating right give me solid energy each day.
5 = I don’t have much time for exercise, but I know how to use coffee and soda to get me though the day.
1 = I’ve been ill in the recently and my health is not good. My doctor has told me to “take it easy”.

8. Do you love (or at least like) your current physical location? As a business owner, you will become part of the community for years to come. Is this where you want to be?

10 = I am already involved with the community and my family is here. I love the area and have a lot of support.
5 = We just moved to this city and its been OK for us. My family is not nearby.
1 = I don’t like my location. There are few opportunities here and that is why I want to start a business, so I can make some money.

9. How much are you willing to risk financially? Most entrepreneurs put it all on the line (savings, credit, home) and many will lose it all. What can you lose? Are you willing to lose it?

10 = I can handle risking it all. I have support from my spouse / family and I know that I can recover if the business does not work out.
5 = I will not put my home on the line, but the rest of it is optional. Losing my savings and my credit would be hard, but I don’t think that will happen.
1 = I don’t have anything to lose. My credit is bad, I don’t have much in savings and I don’t own a home.

10. List the top 5 reasons why you want to start this business. Then list your top 5 personal life goals. What conflicts do you see? How many are similar? Can you make changes so that your personal and professional goals are closer to each other?

10 = I’ve done this exercise – it was easy – more than 3 were connected and the other ones were close. I think I’m on the right track!
5 = I thought about this and see that some are the same, but those that are not are very different. How can I make $500,000 in sales and still travel like I want?
1 = I like to take life as it comes and I change my mind a lot. Coming up with that many goals didn’t work out – planning is not a strength for me.

Finished? Add up the number of points from the answer that you selected for each question. Based on your total, check the summary below to see the WomanOwned.com take on your chance for business survival.

100 – 80 Points – The time is right and you have the makings of an entrepreneur. Most of your expectations are reasonable and you have a healthy understanding of what this process will take. It also sounds like you have support from others – you’ll find this to be very important as you start your venture. Knowing where to turn in a crisis or when it all just seems to be too much will help you stay with it.

60 – 79 Points – There are some areas of business ownership that you need to explore before you get started. I would suggest that you call and interview a few small business owners and ask about how their businesses got off the ground. See if they will answer the hard questions – how long until you could take any money out of the business, how long until you were profitable, what was your biggest surprise? Save some more money to help you through the rough times and work on your family / community support and contacts.

45 – 59 Points – Business ownership is going to be a shock to you and you may not recover, financially or personally. If you still think that you want to give this a try, there are many things you can do to help you get ready. Take a job in a business that interests you and learn by watching what the owner does. How do they lead? How do they live? How long did it take them to get there? Get your personal and financial life in shape – fix your credit, save some money, build your support systems, and get healthy. If you take care of these things, come back here in the future and try this again and see where you score.

44 Points or Less – Business ownership might be a dream, but it is not for you. You don’t have the resources or support to make this happen. If you decide to start something anyway, try a part-time business so that you can retain some regular income along the way. Consider working in small businesses to learn the ropes, but I expect that a job in a larger company will provide you the stability that you need.