If you’re reading this post, then you’re probably thinking about starting your own business. Let me tell you, there’s no better time to start a business than right now. The US Small Business Administration says entrepreneurship has risen 18% in recent years. But starting a new venture is not without its challenges.
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve had the privilege of doing many things – graphic design, virtual assistant, voice-over, on-camera talent, video editing, authoring books, blogging, and so much more. It’s been a great ride! But before starting my first business nearly 20 years ago, there are some things I wish I had known and some questions I wish I had asked myself. Because in doing so, I could have saved myself a whole lot of time, struggle, and headache with just a few simple questions.
So check out this post below, and you may also want to read this one too:
Here are a few questions to ask before starting a business.
1. Why do I want to start a business?
Maybe you want to have more control over your schedule or make a positive impact on the lives of others. Understanding why you want to start a business will help you stay motivated and focused on your goals when times get tough – and trust me, every entrepreneur has tough times – so don’t skip this question.
Need help? Simon Sinek has a great book called Start with Why. In the book, he explores the importance of your “why” and encourages readers to discover their purpose, values, and beliefs to create something successful and lasting.
2. What type of business will I create?
Consider whether you’re interested in creating active income vs passive income. Then decide if your business will be service-based, product-based, or both.
Some examples of service-based ideas include fitness coach, life coach, blogger, or designer. All of these businesses provide a service. Some are active income, others are passive, and still, more are a combo of both.
Examples of product-based businesses might be an online Etsy store, an Amazon store, or a subscription-based business.
3. What skills or experience do I have that I can use in a business?
Think about the skills and experience you bring to the table.
Do you have skills such as being an artist, designer, writer, or good with numbers? Then, you could offer our services to people and businesses needing what you know.
Do you have knowledge you can share in a course, podcast, or blog? Then, you may want to consider those options. Also, be sure to check out the Resources and Success Stories of this site for more inspiration.
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4. What problem will I solve?
Your business should provide a solution to an existing problem in the market. Identify the pain points of your potential customers and see if your business idea can solve those problems. Pain points in marketing refer to the specific problems, concerns, or issues that potential customers are facing, which can be used to create targeted marketing messages that resonate with them.
Try these ideas to identify pain points:
- Conduct market research: Engage with and explore various online forums, social media groups, and product review sites related to the industry or niche you want to enter. On these platforms, assess people’s common problems or complaints to assemble a good understanding of their pain points.
- Identify your own pain points: Reflect on difficult challenges or problems that you have faced or currently face in your personal or professional life, and think about whether there is a potential avenue to create a solution.
- Talk to potential customers: Reach out to prospective customers who would benefit from your future product or service and ask questions about their biggest obstacles and pain points. Valuable insights could come from this conversation that you could use to create a unique value proposition.
- Observe the market: Keep a watchful eye to pick up on the latest trends and technologies. This helps identify gaps or inefficiencies in the market where there is a demand but no supply, which could lead to an innovative product that you can offer.
- Explore existing solutions: Look at what products or services are currently available in the market, and evaluate any weaknesses or areas where improvement is required. By focusing on enhancing the customer experience, you can design a better solution that covers all the pain points of potential customers.
5. Who is my target market?
Now that you know what problem you’ll solve, it will be easier to identify who is most likely to purchase from you in your business. This is called your target market.
Knowing your target market is essential for tailoring your marketing efforts to the right audience, thereby increasing the probability of conversions. You can provide a better customer experience by creating relevant messaging, products, and services that appeal directly to their needs and preferences, ultimately leading to business growth and success.
6. How many hours can I devote to my business?
Before starting a business, consider how many hours you can devote to your business while balancing other commitments such as family, work, or school. Be honest with yourself; starting a business requires a lot of hard work and dedication.
Here are some ways you can determine how many hours you can devote to your new business:
- Assess your current commitments: Start by analyzing your existing commitments, such as your work, family, and other obligations. Consider how much time you spend and how much time you can realistically dedicate to your new business venture.
- Evaluate your energy levels: Identify your productive hours of the day (or night) based on when you feel most energized and productive, and plan your work accordingly. Determine whether you’re more effective in the morning or prefer burning the midnight oil.
- Set realistic goals: Define the goals that you want to achieve from launching your business and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) objectives for them, keeping in mind how much time each task will take.
- Experiment and adjust: As you start working on your business, keep track of your progress and measure your accomplishment against your goals. If necessary, reevaluate your timetable and goals to ensure you don’t burn out while trying to grow your business.
- Seek Support: Don’t shy away from seeking help or support when necessary. Delegate tasks or seek the assistance of family members, friends, or business partners to help manage your workload and free up time to focus on critical aspects of establishing a new business.
7. How much money can I invest in a new business?
Starting a business also requires financial investment – some businesses need more than others. Before you start, evaluate your budget and resources, and determine how much money you can invest. Consider startup costs, such as registration fees, website development, office equipment, inventory, and marketing expenses.
8. How will I promote my business?
Marketing is a critical component of any business. Without proper promotion, it’ll be hard for potential customers to learn about your product or service offerings. An effective marketing strategy is essential for gaining visibility and reaching the right audience with the right message. To promote your business, consider utilizing various tactics such as content marketing (blogging), social media, search engine advertising, influencer marketing, or email campaigns. You can also network with other business owners and cross-promote what each of you offers. Get creative and have fun!
9. How profitable is my business?
It takes time and dedication to become profitable. Therefore, you must be patient and consistent in building a successful business, as it can take months or years to see tangible results.
To help estimate how quickly you will become profitable, consider factors such as the cost of goods sold (COGS), overhead costs, pricing, market demand, and size, the number of customers you acquire, and other revenue streams. You will also need to measure how much revenue is necessary to sustain your business operations, given the resources you have devoted.
10. Am I ready for the challenges of entrepreneurship?
Starting a business is challenging and complex, requiring patience, persistence, and resilience. Because of this, it’s essential to evaluate whether you’re ready to face the challenges of entrepreneurship. In addition to motivation, skills, and resources, it requires a certain mindset and personality. Entrepreneurs need to handle uncertainty and risk-taking, and adapt to fast changes.
In conclusion, starting a business is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and planning. Asking yourself these ten essential questions will help you evaluate your readiness and set a solid foundation for your business idea. In addition, by researching and understanding your motivations and goals, you can create a successful business and achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.