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Should You Buy a Business or Start One on Your Own?

September 03, 1997

Home office experts Paul and Sarah Edwards devised this quiz to help prospective business owners narrow their options. Choose the statements that best describe you:

A. I like following guidelines and step-by-step procedures to get things done.

B. I like making things up as I go along. By my nature, I like to do things differently, not follow a mold, wing it.

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A. I am willing to pay someone else for their information, training and support.

B. I will do something on my own rather than pay someone else to teach or do something for me.

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A. My primary objective in having my own business is to find a way to produce income.

B. My primary objective in having my own business is to make my own mark on the world through work.

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A. I have no trouble taking direction from others.

B. I hate being told what to do.

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A. I dislike starting a major project unless I have something to work from.

B. I enjoy starting major projects from scratch.

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A. I perform better work with supporters and colleagues to turn to in a stressful situation.

B. I have no difficulty keeping myself consistently motivated about work.

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A. I feel more secure working within a system.

B. My security comes from knowing I rely on myself in a tough situation.

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A. I like to follow a pattern that others have set.

B. I really don't care what others think when I know I'm right about something.

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A. I like the idea of buying a business that others have proven will work.

B. I'd rather do things myself because I know they will be done correctly.

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A. I like to follow trends.

B. I like to set trends.

SCORE: Add all the A and B statements.

If you had six or more B scores, you are probably best off starting your own business from scratch instead of buying a franchise, an established business or joining a direct selling organization.

If you selected fewer than six B scores, you might consider businesses you can buy.

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Paul and Sarah Edwards write a column for the Los Angeles Times and have authored eight books on self-employment, most recently "Home Businesses You Can Buy." They can be reached via e-mail at http://www.workingfromhome.com

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