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Start: Mark Evans

How startups avoid 'big trouble' Add to ...

The idea of starting your own business is pretty compelling.

You get to be the boss, work when and where you want, and enjoy all kinds of personal flexibility.

But it's a major decision. Escaping the corporate cubicle also means leaving the security of a regular paycheque, benefits and other perks that go along with punching the clock.

When I decided to start my own consulting business earlier this year, it took a long time to work up the courage to make the leap. After all, I had been a loyal and hard-working corporate employee for 20 years. But at the end of the day, the decision was a leap of faith and a willingness to try something new and different. The way I looked at it, the worst that could happen would be having to find a "regular job" again.

Ben Yoskovitz, a serial entrepreneur and author of the popular Instigator Blog, says there are two critical elements to starting a new business: commitment and passion. "Without those, you're in big trouble," he says, quickly adding that being successful also requires a healthy dose of objectivity so you can sit back and realistically decide whether you want to jump into starting a business.

Mr. Yoskovitz says there are three key issues to consider at the beginning of an entrepreneurial foray:

The team: What kind of team do I know? How do I get that team?

The marketing: Is there a real market for the product? How do I compare with others in that market?

Sales/channels: How will I sell my product or service? How will I reach consumers?

"Those are some critical elements you need to look at objectively and use for making 'go/no-go' decisions on whether you should start a business," he said.

So is starting a business for everyone? Mr. Yoskovitz says no, but that's okay.

"You need someone who has above-normal levels of passion and commitment. Think of professional athletes. Certainly a big part of their success is pure talent but it has just as much to do with passion and commitment."

Special to the Globe and Mail

Mark Evans is a principal with ME Consulting, which offers strategic and tactical marketing, communications and social media services to start-ups, as well as larger companies. Mark has worked with three start-ups - Blanketware , b5Media and PlanetEye - so he understand how they operate and what they need to do to be successful. He was a tech reporter for more than a decade with The Globe & Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshUniversity and meshmarketing conferences.

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