6.5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting A Business
Launching your own business is always an exciting time. It’s an opportunity for you to put your ideas to good use, go out on your own, and do something for yourself. We know it’s not an easy decision for some. And, it’s certainly no easy feat. Owning your own business, and keeping it up and running requires dedication and access to resources. Here are a few key questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap!
How will you make money?
Obviously, this is a huge part of a business. You can’t just up and quit a corporate job without seriously considering how you’ll make an income. Sit down and write it out!
- What products would you sell?
- What services would you offer?
- How will you be different than others?
- What could your cash flow look like?
It seems rudimentary, but writing it all down, or even making some sort of chart, will really put it into perspective for you.
What’s your “long-term” plan?
Where do you see yourself and your business in 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years out? Having a vision of where you want to be and where you want to see this business go are part of the goal setting process. Planning for the future is an essential part of starting your own business. Invest the time and energy in this thought process. We realize you may pivot along the way, but that’s all part of the “plan”, right?
Are you prepared to put in extra time behind the scenes?
This is a tough question and consideration, but we hear it often. It takes a lot of hard work to start your own business, especially in the beginning. In fact, you may work harder behind the scenes than what people see on the outside. Other entrepreneurs will tell you, it takes late nights and early mornings, random phone calls, and responses to inconveniently timed emails to make it all work. And, we know most wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s all part of the entrepreneurial mindset.
As you grow, how will you find/add/hire employees?
Many of the entrepreneurs and business owners we work with start with one or two people. And, it might just be you at first, but as your business takes off (as it surely will!), what will you do when the workload requires more people.
- Do you have resources or a network that can connect you to possible employees?
- Do you understand how to hire interns and set parameters for them?
- Are you ready, willing and able to delegate work to someone else?
Likely, your business goals include substantial growth over time. It is only a matter of time then, when you will need to hire an employee, or a few. Be prepared, check out our blog here for tips on how to do so!
Where will you get the money to start your business, and is this sustainable for growth? Funding for a business can seem overwhelming. There are lots of requirements from marketing, buildings, office supplies, inventory and more depending on the type of business you want to start. In terms of funding, there are plenty of options out there for you; it just takes some serious thought and consideration to figure out what might be the best option for you. Ask yourself what makes the most sense in the present and in the long run.
- Are there people you can reach out to?
- Do you need to think about a partner or investors?
- What about a business loan?
We’ve written a blog about the different types of funding options for businesses, too.
What hidden costs might be a part of your business?
No one likes surprises, especially in the form of hidden costs. Part of planning and preparing for business ownership is considering things like business insurance, office rent, supplies and equipment, and more. These potentially hidden costs aren’t always on the radar, especially as you’re still thinking about question number one, but they play a huge role in where your money goes. Again, it’s good to write these things down and spell them out for yourself so you have a good understanding of all the requirements and expectations that come with owning a business.
The SBA has some other great considerations about potential startup costs on their site too.
Not sure what questions to ask?
That’s okay, that is why we’re here. Our staff and talented volunteers are dedicated to helping you answer these questions and more. If you’re thinking about starting your own business and don’t know where to begin or how you might answer these questions for yourself, please check out an Intro to GROW class or contact us today!
We are here and ready to assist you with every aspect of entrepreneurship and business ownership.