5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business
So, you’re thinking about starting a business?
You’ve got an idea, you’ve got a business model in mind, and you’ve even talked to a couple of friends who are willing to help out.
But wait. Take a step back and pause for a moment. Running a business is hard work. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, and, more often than not, it’s going to cause stress, especially in the beginning.
That's why it's important to clarify whether you’re cut out to start a new venture. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you start. 1. Why do I want to do this? Is it because you want to prove something to others? Is it because you think a business will make you rich? Or is it because you believe in your idea and want to see it flourish? None of these reasons are wrong but remember that businesses are long-term commitments. As such, your reasons for starting one should also be long-term.
Your reasons should be strong enough to withstand the setbacks you will surely face. Think long and hard about your “Why”. It will be your driving force when you face challenges an entrepreneur. 2. What will set me apart from my competition? Let’s say your idea is to sell cookies. Who could blame you? People love cookies! But here’s the rub: There are hundreds of cookie merchants in the marketplace!
To succeed, you will have to differentiate your cookies from the rest. There are numerous ways to do so. For example, you may emphasize stellar customer service, or you may specialize by using exclusively plant-based ingredients.
It’s not a matter of how to set your product or service apart. The key takeaway is that your products must be differentiated to achieve long-term success. 3. How will I promote my business? This question is particularly important because how you pitch your product or service will define the nature, quality, and quantity of your prospects. To answer this question, you must locate your target audience and learn their language. Don’t assume you already know the answers.
What are they like?
What are their hopes and fears?
How will your product or service solve their problems?
Our digital landscape has provided us with some excellent tools in this regard. Nowadays it’s possible to locate our tribe (or potential clients) where they congregate on social media.
Following our plant-based cookie example, it’s relatively easy to Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube search (just to name a few of the bigger search engines) to locate dozens of vegan or plant-based communities that could be potential customers for your cookies.
It’s another story to turn those leads into buyers, but the first step is to locate your prospects. No prospects, no sales!
4. What will it take to succeed? This is a BIG question—bigger than my ability to answer in one post, but experienced entrepreneurs will attest that it’s a blend of things. Some of the obvious ones are finances, resources, your product or service, and the size or viability of your market.
Beyond those technical elements are the intangible requirements such as faith in yourself and in your product or service. Success also requires grit and creative problem-solving. The issue is rarely the entrepreneur’s resources, but rather his or her resourcefulness.
Like Thomas Edison, are you willing to go beyond 9999 tries in order to strike gold with your ten-thousandth attempt?
Because that’s what it takes.
5. Do I have what it takes?
This makes it personal.
And my answer is: Of course, you do!
You are as worthy or as capable as any entrepreneur that’s ever gone before you. They each had obstacles and struggles. But they found a way to overcome them. You will too!
Here are some tips to help you to do so.
Reach out to a business mentor. Is there someone ahead of you in business who you may approach for mentorship? If you don’t know anyone like this, there are plenty of resources online. Do some research.
Build a network to support you and to further your vision. Social media is a great place to start. As we discussed above, find a tribe of business-owners online and plug in.
You will see that many entrepreneurs face the same challenges you do. In time, you will build vital connections that may even become your clients in the future.
Work on your mindset. This is the starting point for all success in business! Do you have the mindset of an entrepreneur?
I hope you've enjoyed these tips! Follow these five steps to launch your new business in 2021. No more delay!
I'd like to give a special shout-out to Regine Alisha Smith, my co-author for this piece, written exclusively for Sharon Gill International.