What are the 10 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business
Are you thinking about Starting Your Own Business?
Good for you, but don’t take the leap before you have asked yourself some important questions first.
You may well become the next Steve Jobs or Diane Hendricks, but then again you might not!
So before starting your own business, you need to consider your plans carefully well before you move on.
I have listed a number of questions here, so think through each one to help you gain some perspective.
If, at the end of the questions, you are all raring to go, then good luck and I hope you make a success from your venture.
On the other hand, if you do have any major reservations, it may be wise to wait a while before starting your own business.
1. Why Do You Want To Start A Business?
There are loads of reasons why you would start a business.
You may be unemployed, so you need that financial pickup to bolster your bank account.
On the other hand, you may be a stay-at-home mom with time on your hands, so starting a business, however small, will give you something to focus on during your week.
You may also have an incredible idea that you are desperate to share with the world, so starting a business is a no-brainer.
These are good reasons for beginning a business. However, you may have other thoughts, such as wanting to become as rich and famous as other female entrepreneurs.
There’s nothing wrong with that exactly, but running a business isn’t easy, so don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight (or ever) as there are challenges ahead.
So, whatever the reason, make sure your intentions are honorable and realistic and don’t start a business on a whim if your reasons are vague.
2. Do You Have A Vision?
Particularly when trying to find money for your venture, you will need to write a business plan, so you need to have some kind of vision for the future.
- What are your goals?
- Where do you want to be in the next five or ten years?
- Who will benefit from your business?
- What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
You may not have a huge master plan, but you should at least have something to aim for when you begin, otherwise your business might not survive very long at all.
3. Is Your Business Idea Viable?
It’s unlikely you are short of ideas – check here if you are – but you do need to do your research.
You won’t be the only business on the block with a similar idea, so you have to market yourself to avoid or beat the competition.
For example, if you are looking to begin a home bakery business, you want to do something similar businesses aren’t.
For example, you might want to set yourself up in a particular niche, such as celebrations and anniversaries, selling birthday cakes or wedding cakes to set yourself apart from others.
On the other hand, you might want to open yourself up to a wider market as possible, but there has to be a “raison d’etre” (French for “reason of being”) for the customer to use your service rather than that provided by the competition.
And, of course, your business idea needs to be realistic in the first place. Is there a market for what you intend to sell? Again, do your research.
4. Do You Have The Time?
Starting your own business and running it can be time-consuming, so you will need to work hard to make it a success.
If there are limitations on your time, such as family or work commitments, they may well hold your business back. It all depends on your business idea, of course.
If you are busy elsewhere, but your business idea is intended as something fun to do in your spare time, then you may not need all the time in the world to stick at it.
On the other hand, if you are going to be reliant on your business to make an income, you will need to make the time to focus on your venture if you want to stand any chance of success.
5. What Are Your Strengths And Weaknesses?
When it comes to your initial business idea, you are probably basing it on what you are good at.
It’s no good wanting to sell cakes, for example, if your skills in the kitchen aren’t up to scratch.
You won’t get many happy customers if this is the case.
However, assuming you have already thought of the skills you possess when looking at your business venture, there are other aspects you need to consider.
A successful business goes beyond your skills in creating a product. You also need skills in business planning, managing your finances, marketing your product, and setting up a website.
It’s not a deal-breaker if you are weak in any of those areas, but you need to find a solution.
For example, if you are terrible at managing your money, you should get an accountant.
If you don’t know the first thing about setting up a website, you should ask for advice from people you know or hire a web designer.
You might also consider hiring other people on a part or full-time basis to help you manage those aspects of your business you are weakest in, or outsourcing to freelancers and other services occasionally.
6. Is There Anything You Need To Learn?
As a follow on from the above, you should also look to improve your skills to help you run your business successfully.
This includes taking a business course, giving you the tools you need in managing the day-to-day aspects of running a business.
You can also take online or college courses to help you overcome your weaknesses, or to help you enhance key skills you already possess.
Learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom, be that virtual or otherwise.
You should also seek advice from other business leaders, either face-to-face or by looking at case studies online.
You may have friends and family already in business, so ask them as many questions as you need to.
You aren’t the master of everything, so as you begin your business and on the long road ahead, always be teachable, be open to learn.
And this includes learning from any mistakes you make along the way.
7. Who Are Your Intended Customers?
You may have a fantastic idea, but you need people to buy from you.
- So, what market are you trying to reach?
- What demographic do you intend to target?
Your idea may be adaptable to any group of people, both young and old, and male and female, or it may be some niche that will fall into very limited brackets.
Consider who you will be selling to, as this is key in knowing how to market yourself down the line.
For example, if you are catering to the younger market, you will need to use language that is relevant to them, as well as finding avenues where they are likely to see your product advertised.
So, again, do your research, look at similar products on the market and who buys them, and begin your marketing plan to reach potential customers.
8. How Will You Finance Yourself?
There are some businesses you can start at little or no cost, so you may not need to look for funding before you begin.
On the other hand, you may need to make some investments before you launch, so you will need to find money from somewhere.
A startup loan is the common inroad into business, but you may also know people willing to invest money into your starting capital.
If your business is a hobby or a side-hustle, then you probably already have other income sources to sustain you.
However, if your business is going to be the main income-earner, you need to be aware that you probably won’t make a profit straight away.
Therefore, it may be wise saving some money up before you launch, or looking for other income sources (such as a part-time job) to give you back up during the lean times you face on your business journey.
9. Is Your Business Idea Scalable?
Most business owners find ways to grow their business.
So, a cake-making business, for example, may begin small, be that online or at the local farmers market, and then grow into other markets, such as opening a store or two, or combining forces with other businesses, such as hotel chains and event organizers.
Growth may not be something that interests you, especially if your business is a simple hobby, but if you want more than that, look at your business idea and consider the ways you can expand it down the line.
10. Are You Sure You Want To Go Into Business?
Taking everything I have said into consideration, finances, time commitments, your strengths, etc. are you still sure you want to start a business?
There is a lot to consider, and for some people, the negatives may eventually outweigh the positives after careful reflection, and starting your own business may not seem so wonderful or viable after all.
However, there is something I haven’t mentioned, and that is drive and passion.
While you may have some reservations after reading my questions, you can still go far if you are passionate about your idea.
Whatever you decide to do, whether you decide starting your own business or not, I wish you every success for your future.
Copyrights to Swamy Giduturi
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