It’s always exciting to think up a business idea, and then flesh out the ideas enough where you begin thinking “…maybe I can do this.” However, while ideas fuel business, they’re really only a small part of the overall picture. The most influential aspect of your business will be you. Below, we take a look at ten questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge.
Why Do You Want To Start a Business?
It’s all good and well having ideas, or getting lost in a daydream of your future success, but they won’t help you when you’re putting in the long hours, trying to make your business profitable. That’ll require something more robust, something that motivates you when the going gets tough. Before you commit too much time and energy to your project, have a think about what you want to get out of your business. It’ll make everything much more straightforward if you realize it’s only a fleeting desire before you’re in too deep.
Are You Feelings Genuine?
Those ‘bad days at the office’ have a lot to answer for. They can cause people to make decisions that they really shouldn’t make, such as setting up a business because they’re tired of working for their increasingly inept boss. It’s good practice to be in tune with your feelings at all times, and outright essential when it comes to making major life decisions. If you have a bad day at work, put it down to one of those days and move on. If you have a bad year at work and think you can do a better job going it alone, then maybe think about setting up a company.
Where Will You Be In 5 Years?
We don’t want to burst your bubble, so we’ll refrain from mentioning how few companies make it to the five-year mark. You should set up a business with the intention of making it one that’ll still be around in twenty years, let alone five years. It’s a long-term commitment. But are you ready/in a position to make that commitment? If you’re not sure where you’re going to be in a few years down the line (such as you might have children or move overseas) then it’s better to wait until you’re more settled.
What Financial Commitments Do You Have?
There’s no avoiding the fact that business is expensive. And even if you’re able to get funding from other sources, you’ll still have significant financial commitments of your own to make. Nobody else will invest in your ideas if you’re not willing to invest in them yourself. You’ll need to figure out if you’re able to fund business growth without compromising your personal financial position. Work out your incomings, outgoings, and any future heavy financial responsibilities; you can use a house loan calculator to see how much you’d be spending on a mortgage for instance. Once you’ve figured out all those details, you’ll have a better understanding of how much of your money you’re able to commit to your business.
Can This Wait?
They say that nothing good ever comes from delaying, but that’s simply not the case when it comes to setting up a business. It’s not something that you want to jump into; indeed, your ideas will be better formed if you allow them to develop over a period of months. Start with the idea, and then wait to see. If you’re still interested in pursuing the idea six months down the line, then proceed.
Are You Ready to Learn?
You don’t have all of the skills you’ll need to navigate the murky world of business. In fact, you probably only have a couple of the skills you need! But that’s not a barrier to success, or at least it isn’t if you’re willing to learn new skills. There’s simply no other way to put it: you’ll need to have an open attitude if you’re going to set up a business. If you don’t think you have the time or energy to do that on top of your business obligations, then wait until you do.
Do People Want This Business?
Ah, yes, the big issue in business: you need other people to like it too, and we don’t just mean other investors. We mean the people who will actually make your business a real thing: your customers. Before you commit too much money into the business, make sure you’re conducting market research and figuring out if there is a demand for the products or services you’re planning on offering. If there isn’t, then at least you’ll know that the business isn’t viable before you get too wrapped up in the ideas.
What Do Friends and Family Think?
You’re a smart person, but you’re not the only smart person on earth. And even smart people can make mistakes! You might think you’ve got a great business idea, but what do the people closest to you think? They might be able to tell you something that you’ve overlooked, or offer you pointers on how to make your idea even better. In any case, you’re going to need their support throughout the process, so have them on board early.
Do You Have The Energy?
Business is going to take all of your energy out of you, but you’re going to need to start with bags of enthusiasm and a go-get-em attitude. If you’ve been downbeat and tired over the past few months, then it’ll be a good idea to take a few months to get your energy levels back up to a high level before moving forward.
What Do I Offer?
And finally, let’s think about what you’re going to contribute to the world. Every company makes an impact in one way or another, what’s going to be different about your business? You’ll need something to make you stand out from the crowd – which is pretty full already – so take time to develop a mission statement. It’ll be guiding bible in the whole process.