By Bill McBean

January may not be the busiest month for entrepreneurs, or would-be entrepreneurs, but it’s the month that the “Should I?” questions get asked more often. These questions are:

Should I go into business for myself? The trick here is to ask yourself the right question, which is, “Is this the right time for me to become a business owner?” And the way to answer that is to answer these questions, specifically:

  • Do I have the necessary experience to be successful in my market?
  • Do I have access to the capital I’ll need to succeed?
  • Do I have the mental discipline and toughness required to lead a business?
  • Am I talented enough to create sufficient gross profits to make a great living?
  • Do I understand the role a successful owner plays in creating success?

Should I expand my business? If you’re thinking about your business must have had some success. In deciding whether or not to make this move, there are three basic questions you need to answer before you do anything else:

  • Will expansion generate more market share and leverage?
  • Will my gross profit percentage increase or will it remain the same?
  • Is this the right time for me to expand my business? That is, since the skills I need to open a business and expand one are very similar, can I answer “Yes” to the questions I’d ask myself if I was just starting the company?

Should I close my business down? Building and maintaining a successful business is hard. So this is a question that many business owners have to ask themselves throughout the year. If you’re in this situation, the most important thing to remember is that your first loss is your least lost. The sooner you recognize that you’re riding a dead horse and get out, the less it will cost you financially, and the less heartache you will have.

Should I begin to plan for my exit as a business owner? Sometimes it’s easy to answer this question. Unfortunately, it’s rarely quite so simple. There are two realities you should never forget when you’re thinking about exiting your business;

  • The best time to sell is always when you don’t have to, because that’s when you have the greatest number of alternatives and the most lucrative payout.
  • If you don’t choose when to exit your business, something or someone else will choose it for you, and that’s never a good thing


Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows that You Don’t, spent many of his nearly forty years as a successful business owner in the automobile industry where, among many other achievements, he purchased several underperforming dealerships and turned them into a successful business enterprise with yearly sales of more than $160 million. Since selling the company to the world’s largest automotive retailer, AutoNation, McBean has been involved in several new businesses, including McBean Partners, an investment and business mentoring company, and Net Claims Now, which provides administrative services and support to the restoration industry. For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook.