6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business
You might be over the moon with excitement. You’ve had an amazing idea or opportunity pop up in your life. And you know it would make an incredible business.
But before you rush out to get a business license or plunk down your hard earned cash for a website, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re really ready. Starting a business is very exciting. But it can also be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever done. It’s a good idea to temper your excitement with a little effort to make sure you’re truly ready.
I’ve put together 6 questions you’ll want to think long and hard about before you start an LLC or print off your first label. The questions would be excellent for journaling, if you do that sort of thing. Whether you write about your answers, meditate on them, or talk them out with a good friend, do make sure to think about your business before starting. You’ll be grateful later that you did.
1. What’s your why for starting a business?
This is probably the most important question you’ll ever ponder when starting a business. If you’re a soulful type and your answer to the question is “My why is to make a lot of money”... you might be setting yourself up for failure.
If you’ve seen a problem that you feel passionate about and it’s driving your ambition to start your business, you’re probably on the right track. When business gets hard, knowing your why can keep you moving. You’ll need it every single day of running your business.
2. Why should your business be started now?
Is there a pressing need in the world? Or is this just something you’re excited about (and maybe you alone). Make sure that you understand why your goal is so timely. Take the time to ensure that other people also see why your business is so important. This will tell you that you’re headed in the right direction.
If you’re not sure about whether your business has an important purpose right now or not, take the time to have some conversations with your target audience. You can create a survey or do some informal interviews. Talk to the people that you think would love your products or services. Find out what they really want and if they are actually interested in your idea. You’ll save a lot of time doing this and find out if your business idea is actually a good one or not.
3. Is it a good time for you to start your business?
Businesses take lots of work, patience, and blood-sweat-and-tears. You probably won’t feel successful for several years. You might start making money right out of the gate or it might take a whole year before you see a sale. Businesses take a lot of dedication to make happen successfully.
If you have financial issues, demanding family needs, or other life circumstances that are pressing, you might want to spend more time planning your business before starting it. Don’t quit your day job until your business is truly successful and sustainable.
If it’s not the right time to start your business, don’t despair. Find ways to get more experience, gather more testimonials, learn more about your target audience, and talk about your passion lots. Eventually the right time will come!
4. What kind of funding and legal documents will you need?
Some businesses are pretty inexpensive to start and others are super expensive. What type of business are you planning? Will you need trunks of cash to invest in the business? Or can you just get going with services you already know how to offer?
Even if your business is relatively inexpensive to start up, you’ll still need to cash to get going. Plan to invest in a website, a tax status (LLC, LTD, etc.), and CRM and bookkeeping software at the very least. You’ll also need support for whatever you don’t know how to do.
5. What uniqueness do you bring to the table? (AKA what’s your “special sauce”?)
Each one of us have unique backgrounds, experience, education, and worldviews. While it might be tempting to try to be generic so you can appeal to everyone, you’ll end up paying for it in business success (and look boring & desperate in the process). The most successful solo entrepreneurs are those that really know their unique value and use it to captivate their audience.
Take the time to journal, write out your life experience resume-style, or ask your family and friends for some feedback. Find out what makes you different from others doing something similar. Know how to talk about why that difference makes you awesome so others will understand why they should (or shouldn’t) pick you over someone else. Knowing yourself reeeeeally well is crucial when starting a business.
6. Do you understand your target market inside and out?
You can’t sell to people that you don’t truly understand. You need to know what makes them tick. What questions are they asking themselves when evaluating your products or services? Why would they click on your website to begin with? What need in their lives are they wanting to fulfill by purchasing what you’re selling? Where do they hang out and what kinds of words appeal to them?
If you don’t know your audience, your messaging will always be a little bit off. You’ll pay for it in lost sales. People don’t reach out, subscribe, comment, or buy when they feel mixed emotions about something. Knowing your audience really well means that when they land on your website, they’ll KNOW it was made just for them. Be that clear and you’ll do well in business.
Should Your Start Your Business?
After you take the time to really analyze the answers to your questions, you’ll know whether it’s time to start your business or not. If you don’t yet have answers to your questions, it’s a good idea to take a timeout on business-building so you can find the answers. A poorly constructed business won’t serve you or your clients. It’s in your and their best interest for you to take the time to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
If you’ve already got a business up and running but it’s really struggling, these questions will help you get clarity on how to turn things around. If your business idea or model ends up not being a good fit, there’s no shame in pivoting or repositioning yourself. When you’ve given a business lots of tries and it’s just not working, it’s also okay to let it go and move on to something else that will work.
A huge part of business building is digging in deep to understand yourself better. When you allow your business to do that, you’ll grow as a person and your business will thrive. Ask yourself these questions, then use the answers as a compass while you build your business.
Not sure where to start? Reach out for a free 30-min consultation to find out how I can help.