I have always been entrepreneurial minded, and I’ve always loved the idea of being my own boss. If you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way! Starting a business of your own is an exciting venture, but there are some things you should clarify before jumping in!
A great mentor of mine once said: “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In other words, figure it out! I’ve made a lot of mistakes in business, just as I’ve had incredible successes. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: always know, as best you can, what you’re getting yourself into. Today I encourage you to go through these questions with yourself whether you’ve been thinking about starting a business or already have one of your own.
7 Questions You Need to Ask Before Starting a Business
1. Do I have the necessary resources?
Every business needs start-up capital. You may need initial funds to make the product you will sell or to buy a storefront. The amount of start-up capital will vary with each business, and there are definitely ways to start up with lower initial costs. A great resource on this is The $100 Start-Up.
Money isn’t the only resource you will need, though. Consider time and energy. Do you have the time to run your own business? Many weeks won’t stop at 40-hours of work, and there may be no “regular business hours” for you. Owning your own business also takes a lot of energy. Do you have enough to devote?
2. What will I do when I face resistance?
As with any journey in life, starting a business means you will face some rocky roads. However, resistance doesn’t mean you should give up. Challenges don’t mean that your business isn’t good enough. You have to push through the hard times in order to get to the success on the other side. As the saying goes, “it’s always darkest before dawn.”
You need to have a plan of action in place for when you face resistance.
3. Where will my customers come from?
You can have the best business idea in the world, but if you don’t have any customers, you will fail. Customers, after all, are the primary way you will make money. I have a great video on my YouTube channel all about how to find customers, and you can watch that here.
The basic principles I teach in that video are watching the behavioral patterns of your identified, ideal customer. Where do they shop? Where do they eat? What are they doing online?
That strategy is how you can find customers, but you also want customers to be able to find you. Social media is the primary way people find businesses, products, and services now, so make sure you are present! Having people that follow you and your journey is important in order to be able to convert them into paying customers.
4. What is my exit strategy?
You should never get into any business deal without having a way out. Life doesn’t always work out as expected, and you need to have a plan for when things go wrong. In real estate, you can sell properties that aren’t producing positive cash flow.
Some exit strategy options for business are mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, or liquidations and closing.
5. How will I handle my income being lower than expected?
Similar to the last question, you need to prepare for things not going as well as you would have hoped. Most businesses fail within the first year to three years they are open. Why is that? Because success doesn’t happen overnight, and the business world can be cutthroat.
You can prevent your doors from closing by planning for what to do with lower income months.
6. What is my “blue ocean”?
I talk about the blue ocean strategy a lot, but the basic premise is this: you have to have something that sets your business apart from others. Every idea you can come up with, someone has probably done already. You have to figure out how to make yourself more successful than them.
Think about the unique value proposition you are giving your customer. What sets you apart from everyone in your industry? Once you figure that out, you are set!
7. Why am I doing this?
This is the last question, but possibly the most important. Never lose sight of why you started doing what you do now. This will keep you grounded, and help you make decisions in the future. You will have to say no to certain opportunities, and if you are clear on why you are doing business, the decision will be a lot easier.
I suggest you write your “why” and hang it somewhere you will see it every day. Hang it in your office, paint it on a wall in your building, or carry it in your office.
What questions did you find most formative when you were just getting into business? Let me know in the comments below!