What are some important questions that you should ask yourself before starting your business?
To help you best prepare yourself before starting a new business, we asked successful business owners and entrepreneurs this question for their best advice. From protecting your business against competition to solving problems, there are several probing questions that you are advised to ask yourself to help test your preparedness to start a new business venture.
Here are 11 questions to ask yourself before starting a business:
- Do I Have the Right Founding Team?
- How Do I Protect My Business Against Competition?
- Am I Prepared for Loss?
- Can I Imagine My Ideal Life?
- Do I Know My Target Audience?
- Am I Fulfilling a Need?
- Do I Have Access to an Advisor?
- Am I Passionate?
- Have I Figured out My Taxes?
- Am I Ready?
- Does My Product Solve Problems?
Do I Have the Right Founding Team?
From my own experience, I have learned how important the founding team is and have already failed because of it. It is important that the following areas must be covered for a successful company:
- Product (Who will (further) develop the product?)
- Sales (Who sells the product?)
- Finance (Who monitors the finances, distributes the budgets, and decides on future investments?)
There are founders who cover up to 2 of the three areas. But one person can never cover all 3 areas. If someone wants to start up on their own, they should ask themselves whether they are aware that they will need to hire a person in one or two of the above areas (money investment). All successful businesses have something in common– none was started by a single person.
Silas Hundhausen, FinancialReports
How Do I Protect My Business Against Competition?
Even if you believe your business idea is unique, it may change very quickly. There are many companies on the market that closely monitor trends, and they may have more experience and more financial resources to copy your idea—and what’s even more important—implement it better than you.
Are you prepared for it? Do you know how to protect your business? How are you going to retain your customers? It is also worth asking at this point—what are your strengths? Maybe it is your personal strengths that may prove invaluable in such situations, or some genius marketing ideas.
Magdalena Socha, PhotoAiD
Am I Prepared for Loss?
Before you start your business, figure out how much you’re willing to lose if it doesn’t work out in your favor. It’s good to be optimistic, but the reality is that most startups fail. You need to set a target amount of dollars—and time—that you’re willing to lose before you give up on your idea. If you succeed before hitting those numbers, great! If not, then it’s time to pull the plug or find investors.
Dennis Consorte, Snackable Solutions
Can I Imagine My Ideal Life?
“What kind of life do I want this business to support?” Goals like reaching a certain number of customers or revenue can be motivational, but when running your own business, I think what matters most is how you want it to support your ideal life.
Do you want a lot of time flexibility? To be able to support a luxurious lifestyle? To become a digital nomad? How you want your business to serve you impacts the shape it’ll take, so it’s important to think about this before you dive into a business model.
Sofie Couwenbergh, Let Me Write That Down for You
Do I Know My Target Audience?
Be sure to ask who your target audience is. You can have a great product or service, but if you’re not marketing to the correct consumer, it doesn’t help anyone. Find your target demographic and build a marketing or sales plan to reach those customers. In doing so, your product or service ends up in the right hands and performs exactly as it’s intended to.
Jodi Neuhauser, Ovaterra
Am I Fulfilling a Need?
The most important question to ask yourself before starting a business is whether or not there is a need in the market for your product or service.
The sweet spot is determining where your passion and skills collide with an evergreen problem in the market—meaning your target customer will have this need on a consistent basis.
Lindsey Tague, Content Writer, Marketer, and Strategist
Do I Have Access to an Advisor?
While it is essential to tap into your intuition and years of hands-on experience when starting a business, it’s also important to have a mentor you can turn to for advice. There will be many instances when you feel stuck or unsure of the way forward, and having a mentor can be a blessing, especially if they’re well versed with the path you’re on. Having someone to bounce ideas off of can help you find creative solutions and give you the confidence to take a step in the direction of growth.
Marc Roca, 4WD Life
Am I Passionate?
The single most important question you need to ask yourself before starting your business would be, “Is this business something I’ll still be passionate about 20 years from now?”
To be frank, as a startup and entrepreneur you need to eat, sleep and breathe your business. If you don’t have the capital to hire other team members, this means that you have to do everything yourself, from monitoring customer satisfaction, making adjustments and improvements, marketing/advertising, outreach and any other details you can think of. Many people tend to glamorize having their own business and working for themselves, but it’s hard work. Every day that you take off is a one-day setback for your business.
So, after solely running your business for 1–5 years, will you still be passionate about it? Will you after you hire a few team members? After you have an entire team to manage and oversee? This is the most important question you need to ask yourself, because it’s certainly not easy.
Simon Bacher, Simya Solutions
Have I Figured Out My Taxes?
One vital question to ask oneself before starting a business is “What type of taxes will I be paying?” There are two things in life that are certain—death and taxes. Knowing the types of taxes a company has and how much they are expected to pay can be major cost considerations. Staying on top of new tax regulations is necessary to keep one’s finances organized, all while you build a company from the ground up.
Sheila Busheri, Universal Diagnostic Laboratories
Am I Ready?
One of the most important questions anyone should ask themselves is “Am I ready to run a business?” Most people think running a business is fun, as they will be their own boss, control their own schedule and make tons of money. There is a lot more to running a business than getting a title. It’s harder than you think, it won’t be fun and it will be more of an emotional rollercoaster—high highs and low lows.
Are you really ready for this? As far as managing your schedule, 9–5s will very likely go out the window, at least at first. Plan to work 50–80 hours a week in the beginning. You will eventually need people, whether that’s a team or vendors. You may think it will be easy, but managing people is difficult—you are only a leader if people choose to follow you at their own will, not because you said so. Be sure to prepare yourself for what’s to come, because running a business is much harder than anyone will ever tell you.
Amanda Russo, Cornerstone Paradigm Consulting, LLC
Does My Product Solve Problems?
I’ve fallen into this trap and so do many first-time entrepreneurs. We get so engrossed in our solution that we resist it when we need to make changes. The reality is that your company exists to solve problems.
What shouldn’t change as readily is the problem you’re solving. With that being said, if your market changes, evolves or completely shifts because of new technology, then you should also be ready to adapt.
Daniel Ndukwu, UsefulPDF