Are you getting ready to start a business? One of the most important factors, but one that many novice business owners don’t consider, is whether the business they have in mind will fit in with the lifestyle they’re dreaming of.

Maybe you fantasize about starting a business as an escape from your hectic corporate job—but then the business you get into requires a lifestyle that’s just as time-consuming and crazy, with the added stress that you don’t have the corporate support system (administrative assistants, IT departments and the like) to help you out. So as you sit down to plan out your future business, be sure to give careful thought to how your business goals and your personal goals will support each other.

Start by asking yourself two key questions:

  1. What kind of business would you like to have? What industry do you want to work in? What kind of product or service do you plan to sell? How much money would you like to make? How big do you envision your company growing—one location, a regional chain, a nationwide household name? How many employees will you have?
  2. What kind of life do you want to lead? Envision your ideal day-to-day existence as a business owner. Are you working on your own, or leading a team? Are you meeting with clients and prospects all day, or working on projects behind-the-scenes? When do you get up in the morning and how many hours do you spend on your business? How do your friends, family and personal interests fit into the picture?

Once you’ve got both your visions clearly in mind, consider whether these visions mesh, or conflict. Suppose part of your reason for starting a business is so you can spend more time at home with your young children, but you’ve always dreamed of starting a restaurant. There is some real conflict here, since a restaurant obviously can’t be run from home and typically demands long hours seven days a week.

If your goals for your business and personal life aren’t in harmony, you need to determine what’s most important to you and figure out how to adjust your business plan to get what you want. This isn’t always easy, but it is possible. For example, the Tampa Bay Times recently spotlighted a chain of restaurants called First Watch that serves only breakfast and lunch. Why? The founders, who had previously worked as restaurant execs, were tired of the long hours restaurant work typically involved. They liked the idea of working from 7 to 3, then spending afternoons on the golf course.

Has it worked? You bet—First Watch has grown to nearly 100 locations in more than a dozen states, with plans to open at least 10 more this year. If that doesn’t prove you can have your lifestyle and success too, I don’t know what does.

Need help figuring out how to make your personal and business dreams come true? The experts at SCORE are ready. Just visit SCORE’s website to get matched with a mentor and get free advice 24/7.

About the Author(s)

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship and

CEO, GrowBiz Media
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