1. Are you financially ready to start a business at this time?
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking they will be able to profit off of their new business right away. This is very far from the truth. Growing your business to the point where you are receiving a steady inflow of money can take a while. Having a positive outlook is great, but you must also be realistic and prepare yourself for the worst.
The best option is to start your business on the side while you are still working at your current job. You can utilize time at night, the weekends, and even your lunch breaks. Once you’ve reached the point where you are receiving a steady amount of income with concrete projections of growth, you can safely quit your job and work on your business full time.
2. Do you have the discipline to be your own boss?
How well can you manage yourself? It may seem great at first to be your own boss, but the truth is that some people need to be managed in order to get things done. When you have a boss, you know there are repercussions for things such as missing a deadline or handing in shoddy work and so you force yourself to make due.
Without a boss, you need a high level of discipline and motivation to create and stick to a schedule. Successful business starters are independently motivated and disciplined. They are able to be productive and efficient themselves, without the requirement of someone else standing over their shoulders and putting them in check.
3. Is your product or service needed by others?
This is one of the basic principles of business and probably one of the most important questions to ask yourself before starting a business. Successful businesses exist primarily because they fulfill a requirement to their customers.
The world doesn’t care about your personal dreams or passions. Unless you can fill a niche that exists, and unless you figure out a way to help other people in need, your business will fail.
If your business will be a brick and mortar type, you must ask this question with a focus on your particular area. For example, plumbing services are definitely needed by others, but you must investigate if there are already a multitude of plumbers in your area with an already established network and reputation. If you plan on running an Internet based business, acknowledge the fact that while your target audience and prospective customers are high, the competition is also higher.
4. What will be different about your company?
Having a different idea doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a totally unique invention, product, or service that does not exist. While in some cases this could be extremely successful, it is also very risky. However, this is not always what is meant by “different.” You can offer an already existing product or service, but you should look for a twist to make it unique in your own way. That unique difference should solve a problem that currently exists with your future competitors in your market.
For example, Starbucks has become extremely successful within the last 10 years, but they are far from the world’s first coffee shop. They put their own twist on the coffee experience by offering a comfortable environment, appealing to customer’s emotions, hiring young and friendly baristas, offering free Wi-Fi, and more. What can you make different about your business that will make customers choose you over your competitors?
5. Are you prepared to wear multiple hats?
A fully functional business is comprised of many different departments. Each department consists of employees who contain certain personalities and who specialize in different areas. This isn’t the case when you first start your business. You have to be very flexible and able to take on tasks from each department. You can be a salesman for one hour and tech support the next. We all have different personality types and chances are that you are not strong in every single area. As a result, you must be prepared to work and improve on some of your weak points in order to be effective in all areas.
It is very important to ask yourself these questions before starting a business. It could mean the difference between success and failure. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have the answers to one or more of these questions right away. This does not mean you should cease pursuing your dreams. It just means you need to take some extra steps, do a little more research, and really think hard before you take the plunge.