Owning a business with a disability – Questions to ask yourself before jumping in

For people with a disability, owning your own business can be one of the best career decisions you’ll ever make. Business ownership allows a certain flexibility and provides opportunities that sometimes aren’t available for disabled persons in a traditional work environment. Before jumping into business ownership, however, it’s important to have a solid plan and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. 

The MD Preferred Network wants to help you achieve your dreams. With that in mind, here are some questions you must ask yourself before you lay that first metaphorical brick. 

Do I have a solid business plan?

When it comes to self-employment, there’s a desire to “hit the ground running” – especially if you truly believe in your business concept. People with disabilities, who may have been out of work for some time or may be underemployed, may feel anxious to just get started. But first thing’s first, you need to cover that all-too-important first step of creating a comprehensive business plan

“Forget about the fancy structure, because business plans are a lot like a box of chocolates, it’s what is inside that counts. No matter what outline you follow (or even if you make up your own), your plan should cover the 5 C’s of business planning: Concept, Capacity, Customers, Competition, and Cashflow,” says AbilitiesFund.org

The concept is the framework of your business plan. What products/services are you going to provide? What are your business goals? How will you achieve those goals? For those with disabilities, a business concept must include considerations for how to overcome limitations. Depending on your circumstances, this could mean working from home, choosing a less-taxing field of work, or special hiring practices. 

The capacity of your business deals with its realism. Are there tangible goals and are they measurable? It’s important to be realistic at all stages of business development, even as you dream big. Beyond that, you’ll need to figure out your target customer, whether or not the market is already too saturated and how you can stand out amongst your competition, and have a solid plan for how you’ll fund your venture. 

You’ll also need to come up with a catchy name that is unique in your industry, and then choose a business structure. Keep in mind that the structure must meet legal requirements where you live; happily, it’s easy to establish with an online service. 

Does my business sufficiently account for my disability?

Biting off more than you can chew is a bad business strategy for anyone. You must be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and build your business with them in mind. If you have a physical disability that causes mobility issues, for instance, a business where you’re on your feet all day and that is labor intensive may be untenable. It may be better to design a small business that can be done from home, or mostly online. 

Don’t be limited by your disability, but also be cognizant of it and choose something that plays to your strengths. Are you a quick thinker, or good with your hands? Would you love a role that serves others? Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about that could be turned into a career? Think through what you love doing, and that will help you find your answers. 

Will I be able to cope with the stress in a healthy way?

Stress is a big part of business ownership, and people with disabilities need to make sure they are setting themselves up to be able to handle it. Veterans with disabilities suffering from PTSD, for instance, will need to make sure they are choosing a business model that allows them to ease their way back into a stressful situation. The Ranch Tennessee explains people with disabilities are often at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and subsequent addiction issues that both spring from and exacerbate existing physical or mental disabilities. 

It’s tempting to jump into starting a new business as it’s exciting and freeing to think about succeeding on your own, especially if you often feel limited by a disability. But it’s important to take the time to develop a proper business plan, tailor the new business around your specific disabilities, and make sure you’re mentally prepared for the stress that comes with entrepreneurship. 

If you’re a healthcare professional in need of a financial advisor, realtor, mortgage lender, recruiting firm, or insurance agent, connect with the MD Preferred Network today.

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