So you want to start a business

By November 6, 2014Business, Planning
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50 questions to ask yourself before starting into a new business

Before you go any further, ask yourself why? Why do you want to start this business? People start businesses for numerous reasons. Some want to be their own boss, others want to follow their passion, many expect to get rich. Some say it is too risky, you might go into debt and there is no such thing as a work/life balance. On the other hand, being in charge of your own business means each day can be full of new challenges and opportunities and you are the master of your destiny. Can you clarify why you want to take a leap and start your own business? Asking questions is an important part of building a successful business plan. 

Can you visualise where you want to be five years from now? Will you be running a business that hasn’t increased significantly in size? Will you be in charge of a rapidly growing empire? Will you have already sold up and have moved on to other things? Perhaps you don’t really want to own a large, fast-growing enterprise but are content with a stable small business.

Without knowing where you’re going, it’s not really possible to plan at all. Creating a clear vision of your goals and objectives helps you decide how you’ll plan your business. If you’re having trouble deciding what your goals and objectives are, here is a list of questions to ask yourself:

 

Do you have what it takes?

  1. How determined are you to see this succeed?
  2. Is it a good time?
  3. Do you enjoy challenges?
  4. Are you a self-starter?
  5. Are you creative problem solver?
  6. Can you multitask?
  7. Do you have the strengths needed for this business to grow?
  8. Are you willing to perform a variety of functions within the business?
  9. Are you going to be a hands-on manager, or will you delegate a large proportion of tasks to others?
  10. Are you willing to invest your own money and work long hours for no pay, sacrificing personal time and lifestyle?
  11. What’s going to happen to you if this venture doesn’t work out?
  12. Are you realistic about pitfalls – have you assessed the risks?
  13. Are you cut out to work on your own?
  14. In what way may your behaviours sabotage your business?
  15. Can you strike the balance between freedom and discipline?
  16. Are you prepared to spend the time and money needed to get your business started?

 

So what’s the big idea?

  1. What products or services will your business provide?
  2. What differentiates your business idea and the products or services you will provide from others in the market?
  3. Is there a strong need in the market for this business?
  4. Will it be a niche marketer, or will it sell a broad spectrum of good and services?
  5. What is your vision for the business?

 

How much will it cost?

  1. How much money do you need to get started?
  2. How will you pay the bills?
  3. Will you need to get a loan?
  4. What taxes do you need to pay?
  5. How long do you have until you start making a profit?
  6. What will be the annual revenue in a year? Five years?

 

How will you spread the word?

  1. Have you done the right research?
  2. What will your business be called?
  3. Is your domain name available?
  4. Who is your competition?
  5. What do you offer that the competition doesn’t?
  6. Who is your ideal customer?
  7. Why should your customers buy from you?
  8. How will you advertise your business?
  9. How is your product or service positioned in the marketplace?
  10. What sales channels will you use?
  11. How do you get people to buy your products or service?
  12. How will you price your product compared to your competition?

 

Where will you work?

  1. What physical premises does the business need?
  2. Where will your business be located?
  3. What are your plans for geographic expansion? Local? National? Global?

 

How do you get started?

  1. What types of suppliers do you need? Are they easily accessible?
  2. How soon will it take before your products or services are available?
  3. How many employees will you need to get started
  4. What kind of insurance do you need?
  5. What record do you need to keep?
  6. Where can you go for help?
  7. Have you set your business goals (short and long term)?
  8. Does your family support you?

Answering these questions is an important part of building a successful business plan. Can you be objective? Take a step back and look at your business idea through the eyes of your customer.

Have you any other advice or opinions? Let us know your comments.

About Caroline

Caroline is a specialist in business creation, growth and change management. Her aim is to empower start-ups and small businesses to drive growth through the development of business ideas, product and service development, strategy and system planning as well as business branding and promotion.

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