If you’re looking to start a business or think you’re ready to, we have a set of questions to ask you. The questions below will either make you realize how ready you are (or not), or at the very least help gear your initial phases in the right direction.
How ready are you? That’s the gist of this article. Everyone wants to start a business or at the very least has envisioned the possibilities of doing so. With technology and robots taking over a vast percentage of jobs, it’s probably a wise idea to venture into starting a business in order to secure your future, and that of your kin.
If you have thought about starting a business but never followed through with your plans to do so, what was the underlying reason you let that dream go? Was it because:
You didn’t have enough capital to start a business?
Didn’t have the proper business and marketing plan to execute your idea?
Didn’t realize you can use a virtual staff to save on costs instead of hiring an in-house staff?
Whatever the answer to the questions above may be, the REAL QUESTIONS to ask yourself before you start a business are:
1. Before I start a business, what problem or need am I solving/satisfying?
Ideas are just ideas without the ability to solve problems—and attract paying customers in the process. If you can’t envision and write this down clearly and concisely, leaving nothing open to interpretation, you simply don’t have a good startup idea at this point. Keep researching and asking questions of your ideal customers until things become clear.
2. Who is my ideal customer?
You’ve identified a problem you can solve or need you can fulfill. Now, figure out where your ideal customer lives and works, how much money they make, how many kids they have, etc. Forget about effective marketing or attracting investors if you haven’t niched-down your demographics to a point where you can practically knock on your ideal prospect’s front door!
3. Who is my competition?
Many an arrogant entrepreneur has thrown caution to the wind, acting on a startup idea without a care in the world about who their competitors are. This might seem like the variety of boldness required to succeed, but it’s just foolishness personified. If you’re going to build, say, the best video game system on the planet, you’ll need the cash, talent, and tactics to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and all the independents out there making gaming software that works seamlessly on desktop and mobile devices.
4. If it’s been done before, what makes me different?
In other words, how are you going to make a case for buying your product over the existing competition? For instance, it would be pointless to release a product that works just like Tylenol if you can’t offer additional benefits such as zero digestive upset, or something similar that improves upon what exists already.
5. How will I scale this after launch?
You’ll need a means of mass production and have some initial distribution channels nailed down rather quickly if the idea takes off. Entrepreneurs who scale on-the-fly without a growth plan end up experiencing more hiccups—setbacks, expenditures, pressure from investors and competition, and often end up disappointing customers who have their wallets out because they aren’t prepared to scale as demand grows.
The 5 questions listed in this post certainly can’t guarantee anyone’s success. What they can do is help you to determine just how prepared you are to start a business, giving you the confidence and knowledge to push forward in the challenging and tumultuous times that are sure to lay ahead.