When you’re ready to take the plunge and start your own business, there are some questions you need to ask yourself first. These questions will help you figure out whether now is the right time, what your long-term plan should be, and what support resources are available to you. When answering these questions, keep in mind that your business’s future hinges on how well you answer them, so take the time to think through each one carefully and come up with an answer that feels right for you.
Question 1: Is it a business idea or hobby?
Having a side hustle in business that is earning you some money is great, and it can give you valuable insight into how to do things better. But if your side hustle has become a primary source of income or one that keeps growing, then it’s time to ask yourself if it’s something you want to turn into a full-time endeavor. In other words, are you in business or just having fun? (See: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson)
Question 2: Are you financially prepared?
Small business startups come with many financial risks, as you need to take on debt and fund your own business. Do you have enough savings to cover six months’ worth of expenses? If not, do you have anyone willing to support you financially? And, if so, how will they get their money back once your company starts making money? These are all important questions to consider before starting a business.
Question 3: Do you have enough time?
One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face when starting a business is managing your time effectively. We all have only so much time to work with, and when you’re running a startup it’s even more critical that you manage it well. If you’re looking to start your own business and aren’t sure if you have enough time, stop everything and really ask yourself these three questions. What would happen if my business fell through?
Question 4: Are you ready for the responsibility?
Running a business requires you to be responsible for not only your own time and tasks, but also those of your employees. It’s important to consider if you’re ready for that weight on your shoulders before making a decision.
Question 5: Have you identified your target market?
One of the most important parts of running a successful business is targeting your market correctly. If you don’t pick your target market correctly, it can mean failure for your business. If you’re not sure how to do it, consult our post on How to Identify Your Target Market.
Question 6: How much money are you willing to spend on this venture?
Working on your own means you don’t have someone else to pick up costs for you. If you’re not a good saver, expect to spend every dime you earn from a business of your own. And if one thing goes wrong, there could be months when no money is coming in at all. It’s crucial that you think about your financial risk tolerance before starting a new business. Are you willing to borrow money? How much? Do you have an emergency fund or something similar?
Question 7: How does this affect your relationships?
Starting a business requires long hours, so you’ll likely have to limit time with friends and family in order to make your business successful. It’s important to be honest with yourself about how starting a business will affect relationships in your life. Understand that some people may not fully support your new venture, but also realize that others might be incredibly helpful in providing insights and advice. Which of these two types of people are you more likely to face? How will you handle these scenarios?
Question 8: What do you love about this idea?
If you can’t think of anything, there’s a good chance you should explore another idea. And if you do find something you love about your idea, ask yourself why? Is it because you genuinely enjoy doing that activity? If so, great. If not, keep digging until you come up with something that excites and inspires you.
Question 9: Is there anything that concerns you about starting this business?
Looking ahead, are there any warning signs you should be aware of? What might happen if things don’t go as planned? Thinking through potential issues now may give you a better idea of how to respond when they occur. If there are potential problems that could derail your business, make a plan for what you would do in that situation, and then cross those bridges when you come to them.
Question 10: What are your chances of success?
Probably the most important question on your list. Because there’s nothing worse than spending months or years building something only to realize that you don’t have a chance of success. The good news is there are ways to determine whether your idea will work or not before you quit your day job. By trying to find answers for these questions, you can assess whether your business idea is viable and whether it’s worth pursuing further or leaving behind: How big is my market?