women's business day

Skinnygirl Solutions: Should I Start My Own Business?

Should I start my own business? It’s a pivotal question and something people often ask, as I’ve started so many businesses myself. Some worked, and some didn’t. I love making a great idea become a reality, but it doesn’t always happen. Even now, some of my business ventures struggle to succeed and if they do survive, it’s only because I revive them from the dead using the resources I now have and by being a dog on a bone. I’ve always been tenacious, but only recently acquired those resources. In the past, when a business died, it was my funeral.

If all businesses were successful, I would say yes, jump on every business idea you think of. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Not every good idea makes it, and some bad ideas do pretty damn well, considering. It’s not all about money, or even knowledge of your field. What decides whether your idea will take off is a little mysterious, but the more you know about what you’re actually getting into, the smarter you are about the moves you make, and the closer you monitor the climate of your business and public opinion, the better your chances.

Having a good idea doesn’t even remotely qualify anyone to start a business. People think if they have a good idea, they can just run out and tell someone with a lot of money and that person will buy it or fund the whole thing. The fact is that great ideas are cheap. If you don’t have the knowledge, skill and resources (your own or a willing partner’s) to make an idea become an actual, profitable business, then you’re probably not going to get very far.

When considering starting your own business, it’s important to evaluate if you have an idea that can really take off. Use these checklists to determine if you have what it takes.

The Entrepreneur Checklist: Do you have the right business or product idea?

[ ] Does it solve a problem?
[ ] Is it innovative?
[ ] Can you afford to make it happen?
[ ] Is there a barrier to entry for others, meaning are you the only one who can do it, or can someone with more money copy it tomorrow and do it better?
[ ] Is it an original idea?
[ ] Does the market want or need it?
[ ] Have you thought every scenario through?
[ ] Do you know your target audience?
[ ] Do you have time for it?
[ ] Do you have the support to make it happen?
[ ] Do you have the capability to market your idea, getting the word out?
[ ] Do you have access to distribution channels so people can actually buy your product?
[ ] Can you easily communicate the idea? If you can’t describe it in a few sentences and get people excited, you probably haven’t crystallized it enough yet.
[ ] Do you have connections in your industry? If you’ve invented a toy, do you have a friend or acquaintance with a chain of toy stores? I’d you’ve invented a cocktail, do you have good distribution and media connections? If you’ve invented a great new office product, do you know any higher-ups at an office-supply chain?

This content was originally featured in Skinnygirl Solutions: Simple Ideas, Extraordinary Results by Bethenny Frankel, available on