Starting your own business is hard work. I mean really hard.
Most people think they know how much work is involved but are hit with a hard dose of reality once they get in the thick of things. As a business owner you need to have both an iron stomach and the ability to live with uncertainty.
Before you take the leap and start a business, you should ask yourself the questions below and answer them honestly. You need to be certain that you are fully prepared to take on the responsibilities that will be required of you as a small business owner. The questions below focus on your motivations, aptitude, and business plan.
Questions to ask yourself before starting a business
1- Are you prepared to work for the next year (or longer) with little or possibly no income? How will you support yourself during this period?
2- Are you prepared to work long hours in the first year of starting your business? 50-80 weeks are not unlikely during the first year. How many hours will you commit? Be prepared to give up most, if not all extracurricular activities during this crucial time.
3- Is there something that you will need to change in your life in order to accommodate the long hours you will have to work? How will your personal/family life be affected? The time required of a new business can stressful on the whole family.
4- Do you have any formal business training? Owning a business requires many skills such as Marketing, Sales, Operations and Management skills. These skills are a must, whether you possess them or you bring on someone who does.
5- Do you have any experience such as management or supervisory positions that might serve as good experience for starting your own business? Managing employees is one of the biggest challenges of owning a business.
6- Does your family support your decision to start a business of your own? If your spouse is not on board think twice as mutual support is critical during the early, high stress days of the business.
7- Have you discussed your plans with your family? Are they fully aware of the implications of starting your own business? This is the time to be really honest with them as it will be worse later on if they found out you were hiding key details.
8- Have you thoroughly explored why you want to start your own business, as opposed to working for someone else? What are those reasons? Will owning your own business actually support those reasons?
9- Will these reasons serve as sufficient motivation to make your business a success?
10- Have you saved any money or secured enough money from investors to get your business through the crucial first years? Always anticipate needing more than you think.
11- Have you carefully examined exactly how much money it will take to start your business and carry you through these first crucial years? Like above, it is always more than you think.
12- Are you planning to use money you have saved to start your business? Or will you be relying heavily on loans? If you lost this money, how would it affect you and your family?
13- Have you created a realistic plan for paying back any loans?
14- Are you willing to reinvest any income you may make from your business in the first years to help your business grow in the future? Don’t plan on a large salary, or any, during the early years.
15- If you will be taking out a loan with a bank, do you have a good relationship with your banker? If not, you should be forming those relationships now in anticipation of starting a business.
16- Will you be operating and managing this business on your own? Or do you have someone to help you? A strong team is vital to a successful business, you can't do it all yourself.
17- Will you be managing the business with a partner? If so, is this person someone you can trust through thick and thin? Partnerships can either be great or a nightmare, do you really understand what a partnership should look like? Speak to business owners that are in partnerships agreements, get their feedback.
18- Have you researched the possible benefits of having a partnership or incorporating your business? There may or may not be benefits to such arrangements.
19- Have you created a detailed business plan? Is it an accurate portrayal of what should happen or is it wishful thinking?
20- Have you shared this business plan with your partner? Your family?
21- Do you know someone experienced in the business world that you can ask for advice? Can you find a mentor?
22- Are you able to motivate yourself to get work done, even if it means sacrificing other perhaps more enjoyable activities? Plan on missing out on almost all extracurricular activities during the start up phase of your business.
23- List some strategies that you plan to use to motivate yourself. For example, you may list your end goal, the freedom to be your own boss, the potential financial rewards, or anything else that may motivate you.
24- Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make your business succeed? There will be many.
The above questions are not meant to discourage you from starting a business, but to help you answer some questions you may not have considered. Owning your own business can be the greatest feeling in the world, but it does come with a price tag. You just need to be sure your ready to make the purchase.
If you have any questions about starting a business, feel free to contact me, I love responding to questions!