Questions To Ask--And Answer-- Before Starting A Business



There is an entrepreneurial spirit that lives within each one of us. While it may burn much more brightly in the hearts of those who have branched out and started businesses before us, there is still a flicker of our own flame that led us to this page, at this moment, contemplating stepping off of that ledge.

Let’s face it--the more responsibility you have in your life, the harder it may seem to make the enormous shift from employee to employer, but if your passion and drive are strong enough, you will push through any perceived obstacles to realize your dream.

And while passion and drive are critical elements of success in business, let’s not forget the essential components of planning, strategy, and logical thinking. Starting up a business is like building a puzzle; without all of the necessary pieces in place, it is impossible to hold in your mind the big picture that will help contribute to your success.

Before you hand in your resignation notice and start burning bridges with fellow employees, it’s time to consider some questions that must be asked--and answered--before you branch out on your own and grab hold of those limitless possibilities that lay before you. Keep your flame alive, but keep your head on straight, as you answer these questions that will point you in the direction and pursuit of your dreams.

Question #1: Should I Start A Business?

No one can more accurately look at your life and your state of affairs to make this determination more than you. To answer this question, you must look at some of the time commitments that must be made as well as some of the other personal sacrifices you must make in order to make your dreams become a reality. Do you have a winning idea that you are confident could net you loads of capital with a few well-placed strategies, or is it a fast burning idea that is sure to die with the small clientele that you are able to generate? In order to answer “yes,” you must be confident that your idea, product, or service will stand the test of time, as well as the law of supply and demand. Take a good hard look, and if the answer is yes, then move on to question #2.

Question #2: How Much Cash Do I Have? Am I Willing To Risk It?

Obviously, if your available cash flow is small, you won’t be leasing jumbo jets to fly your cargo from coast to coast. If the needs of your product are few, however, and you can manage with a start-up budget, then go for it! Plenty of success has ridden on the back of just a few dollars, and progress was achieved by making smart choices and consistent small steps to greater things. Two ambitious college kids named Jobs and Wozniak set up shop in a garage in 1975, armed with a $1300 budget and a passion for technology. We know how the story ended up--Jobs ended up selling his car to finance the initial prototype, while Wozniak sold his prized Hewlett-Packard calculator. I suspect neither one would have had a problem repurchasing those items at this point in the game.

Question #3: Do I Have The Time To Commit To This?

Every answer to question #3 will be different, and most of us aren’t quite ready to march off the job and hover in unemployment land while we work on the next million dollar idea, we simply don’t have the resources for that kind of move. It is more likely that you will have to commit time outside of your workday, weekends, evenings, etc. to make your dream a reality. Have a conversation with those you love and find out if you can all weather this short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.

Question #4: What Are My Alternatives If I Choose Not To Commit To My Plan?

You have to ask yourself if you will be content with the next twenty years and a modest pension, rather than risking money, time and resources to fulfill your dream. If you are not passionate about your idea, and if you don’t need to see it in action in order to feel fulfilled, then maybe there are other alternatives for you. You could continue on your current course of action at your current job, you could switch careers and work for someone else, or you could even get some side work for a little extra cash. Whatever you choose, ensure that it is something that resonates with every part of you as you proceed forward with no regrets.

Question #5: What Are My Chances Of Success?

No good vacation ever starts out with the phrase, “I hope we get there. Let’s just pile in the minivan and hope for the best.” It’s nice to have an endpoint to strive for and to see what your odds of success in achieving it are. Attempting to sell the latest and tastiest bolognese sauce chock full of meat to a vegan population is not going to get you where you want to go. You’ll either have to shift your focus, find another target audience, or change your business strategy entirely in order to see a more successful probability in your future. Set goals, remember your “why,” and be willing to take a few turns and twists along the way to achieve success.

Having the courage to ask yourself, and then answer these questions, will not only allow you to feel better about your choice, but it will also provide you a more clear sense of direction with respect to how you want to formulate your business plan. No matter what you ultimately decide, we applaud you for starting to think outside the box and to realize that there is life beyond the traditional 9 to 5 job. Have fun with your thinking and planning process, and go for the gusto in realizing some of your most wild and crazy dreams!