10 questions to ask yourself before starting your own business
Deciding to go off on your own is no easy feat and it shouldn’t be a decision that is made overnight. People choose to start their own small businesses for a number of reasons, often taking a huge risk in order to make their dream a reality.
Because there is so much at stake, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting in to and more importantly, if you have what it takes. We’ve compiled this list of 10 questions that every aspiring entrepreneur should ask and answer honestly before quitting their job and starting their own venture.
Do I enjoy a challenge?
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be faced with numerous challenges, many of which will be ones you’ve never had to deal with before. You need to ask yourself how you normally react when things get tough and you’re faced with trying times or situations. If challenges make you want to run in the opposite direction and avoid them at all costs, then you should think long and hard before taking the plunge. On the other hand, if they excite you and motivate you, then you’re off to a great start.
Am I a self-starter?
As we’ve mentioned in the past, part of the appeal of becoming an entrepreneur is the fact that you get to be your own boss - this can either be a blessing or a curse. When you’re running your own business, there won’t be a manager or boss telling you what to do or peering over your shoulder. You’ll be responsible for motivating yourself and getting things going, so if you’re prone to procrastination, then you’ll likely need all the help you can get.
Am I passionate about what I’m going to be doing?
Pursuing your own business dreams takes focus, hard work and long-term commitment, and the reality is, that if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then it’s much harder to have the right attitude. Believing in what you’re doing or offering is a great motivator and the easiest way to secure success.
How am I at handling the unknown?
When you go out on your own, you’ll be entering new territory and possibly one with which you are not very familiar. You’ll be faced with issues and decisions you may never have been faced with in the past, and this is scary for some. If you see handling the unknown as an exciting challenge and you’re good at thinking on your feet, then you’re likely to be fine as you embark on your own business journey.
Am I a creative problem solver?
Entrepreneurs need to be able to think out of the box, especially when it comes to finding solutions to problems. If you lack problem-solving skills and go into a blind panic whenever you’re faced with a complication, then you need to decide whether or not having your own business is really the right way to go.
Is my idea profitable?
If the first step is to believe in your business idea, then the second is to be sure that it can make you money. Any time someone starts their own business, they run the risk of it not working out, but you can be sure that they knew right from the beginning that there was a need for their service or product, hence making it likely to be profitable. Thorough research and extensive testing has to be conducted beforehand to ensure that the idea you’re on to (as well as how you end up marketing it), is in fact one that can bring home the bacon.
What is my USP (unique selling point)?
When you first enter your particular market, chances are you’ll be met by lots of competition. The key then is to differentiate yourself and your product from the rest. Having a solid marketing plan in place will help to ensure that you do that successfully and that you prove to potential customers that you can do it better than anyone out there.
Have I adequately assessed the financial risks involved?
There are of course many risks that go hand-in-hand with starting your own business, one of which is financial. You need to be as prepared as possible from a money point of view before taking the plunge and this will only be possible if you thoroughly analyse what the risks are beforehand. Having access to funds is part of it because you need to feel confident that no matter what happens, especially in the beginning stages, you will be ok financially.
Do I have a solid foundation from which to launch my business?
Many entrepreneurs start working on their own projects months before they actually quit their day jobs, so as to give themselves time to save and prepare for the journey ahead. Ensuring you have a solid foundation by the time you start your own business is vital, and this includes having a clear business plan in place, as well as adequate funding and defined business goals, to name but a few things. Only once everything is in place, should you then quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur.
Am I ready to take full responsibility for everything?
When you’re the one at the helm of a business that usually means that the buck starts and ends with you. Basking in its success is something every entrepreneur enjoys, but with the good, comes the bad as well. This means that you’ll be taking the credit when things go right, but then you’ll also be held accountable when things go wrong. Ultimately, when you own your business, you need to be ready to shoulder responsibility across the board.
Choosing to start your own business can be overwhelming and wonderful at the same time. It takes great planning, dedication and laying of the groundwork beforehand if a business is to succeed, so it pays to know exactly what you’re getting into before you take that brave leap. If the answers to the above questions are generally positive and enthusiastic, then you’ll know you’ll be giving yourself the best possible start to something hopefully great.
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