Why am I starting my own business?
Before formally becoming an entrepreneur and starting any sort of independent enterprise, it’s important to truly understand why you are choosing to go this route. Do you like the flexibility and independence running your own business entails? Maybe you hope to generate a consistent and lucrative flow of cash? Do you want to address some sort of need in a niche market you are interested in? There are an endless array of answers you could use in response to this question. The important thing to keep in mind is whether those answers outweigh the negative possibilities that can arise when running your own business.
What are my goals for the business?
This question is very much in line with the previous question, except that it delves a bit deeper into the general business plan you hope to implement. Every business needs a business plan and a strategy for it to succeed. “Making money” is simply not good enough of an answer to this question. It’s important for any entrepreneur to have structured goals to reach during his/her business’s infancy years.
What capital do I have access to?
It takes money to make money. You must carefully assess the amount of money you are willing to invest into the business, as well as develop a realistic expectation on how much money you CAN collect through loans and other investors. The type and amount of capital you have will determine what kind of business opportunities are really available to you. Through crowdfunding platforms and other modern day investing mechanisms available today, coming upon some initial capital should not be impossible.
What do I know how to do ? What are my strengths?
Are you a great promoter? Do you write really well? Are you inventive and innovative? Are you organized and meticulous in your spending? Maybe you can sell the shirt off another man’s back. Regardless of what your strengths are, it’s important to incorporate some of your own natural abilities into the business you are hoping to develop. Running a business incorporates a wide range of skills. If you are lacking in a particular skill-set, partner up with someone who may be a bit stronger where you lack.
Who is my competition? What separates me from similar businesses?
Unless your idea is one of a kind, or completely new and innovative in today’s consumer market, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Eventually even the newest idea will have copycats and competitors, so it’s important to always stay ahead of the curb and develop new strategies to set yourself apart from your competitors. Use your strengths as discussed earlier to distinguish yourself from like-businesses.
Who is my customer/client base?
Who is your target audience? Who are the products and services intended for? Know the people you are servicing and appeal to their interests. If it’s a niche product or service you are trying to sell, try not to stray away from their interests entirely. Even established businesses can have trouble expanding their general audience and market, I would suggest to stay within your known perimeters until you are comfortable with your company’s current position.
Am I prepared to dedicate a great deal of time and money to this business?
For many, starting a business can be a life project years in the making. Building a business takes hours of time and dedication, not to mention thousands of dollars – if not more. It’s important to be ready for the commitment that starting and running your own business entails. If you are not ready to commit hours of your life to this venture, then you need to reconsider your venture.
If this fails, would you regret it?
Being an entrepreneur involves creating your own journey. The first step was deciding that you would not be content with living a life that was already prescribed unto you by someone else. The second step was breaking away from the formal path, and deciding to become an entrepreneur. If you failed, you should not regret the journey you have embarked on. It is a unique path that few are brave enough to undertake.