All too frequently when people think about starting a business, it’s one that they have no experience in working or running. Whether it’s an old dream or just a frivolous whim, it’s become quite common to see someone starting up a restaurant, bed & breakfast, and many other types of businesses without any experience, knowledge or idea of what it’s like to even work in such an establishment.

Starting a business can be fraught with risk even when the owner is experienced within the field or industry but there are many more consequences to consider when starting a business without any basic knowledge and experience. For example, someone could be a great plumber or architect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will run a successful business. In other words, having the ability to run a business is more than just being able to do the main work of the business.

One of the big traps for new business owners is getting stuck in the rut of trying to do the business and run the business at the same time. At some point, something has got to give. In today’s world, the more successful business owner is the one that focuses on running the business that has reliable, competent staff performing the work of the business.

I love watching Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares TV show because both sides of the spectrum are shown. One show may be about someone that’s a great chef who has started their own restaurant. This chef will be back in the kitchen cooking, but they can’t handle the staffing issues, ordering inventory, making a profit, marketing to get the customers into the restaurant, etc. so before long, they don’t even enjoy cooking anymore.

Then the next show may be about someone that has never worked in a restaurant, doesn’t know a thing about buying, storing, and cooking food, but they own the restaurant and are relying on the staff to make it run smoothly and profitably. Most likely if the staff was capable of running a business; they would already own a business. They have this dream of being rich and famous for owning a successful restaurant, but they don’t know the first thing about the critical details of running a restaurant.

So how does someone bridge the gap between where they are and their dream business? How can you really be sure that this is right for you? One highly recommended activity is job shadowing. This enables a person to spend some time observing a professional on the job to determine whether or not it’s something that they would be willing to do on a full time or long term basis. This is a great way to test out different entrepreneurial ventures to see which one would be a good fit for you.

Another suggestion before starting a business, which requires a substantial investment of time and money; is to take some assessments and see if you are the person that’s cut out to be a business owner. For example, running a business often requires an investment of long hours and working on the weekends. Is that something that you are willing to do? Clearly understand what’s involved and then compare it to the commitments you are willing to make.

Another option would be to do what is called vocation vacations. This enables a person to test out a variety of jobs/businesses from a wedding coordinator to radio announcer for 2 to 3 days to see if it suits them. A lot of people for a variety of reasons may not want to do an apprenticeship, but they do want to know if their dream is the right one for them. Vocation vacations gives a person a chance to work side by side with an owner of their ‘dream business’ to see if it really is a dream or a nightmare.

The beauty of this option is that a person doesn’t need to quit their job or invest any money beyond their mentorship and vacation expenses, but they gain huge benefits in having a firsthand chance to ask questions about the ups and downs of owning the business while experiencing exactly what happens on a day to day basis in that particular business. Just like test driving an expensive car before buying it; this allows a person to test drive a business and combine it with a regular vacation.

Whatever you decide to do in life, whether it’s starting a business, building a career or working in a job; find something that is fulfilling, makes you happy and that you love doing. When you have that, you have everything.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Bagyura guides women entrepreneurs through their worries, fears and don’t-know-to’s of confidently starting and growing successful businesses and how to own a business.