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Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a Business

Published September 30, 2020

Business Invoice

Starting your own business is an exciting moment that you’ve likely waited years to realize. Once the moment finally arrives, it’s tempting to jump right in. But it’s important to slow down and consider a few things first.

Before you take the leap and start your own business, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. “Why do I want to start this business?”

Every business has its own “why”. One amazing thing about our world today is that anyone can start a business in almost any field they want. So why did you choose to start this one? 

Is it a passion of yours? Something you’ve always wanted to do? Or maybe you’ve just recognized a need that people need filled. Whatever it is, it’s important that you realize the motivation behind your business.

2. “Is there a market for this?”

To be honest, it’s unlikely that your business idea is 100 percent unique. Odds are that if it’s a good idea, someone else has thought of something similar. 

But competition is a good thing! It shows that people are interested in products or services like yours. (And if there is no competition, there’s probably a good reason why...) So what’s the market like? How many people are even interested in your product? Observing your potential competitors is a good way to get a feel for the market.

Speaking of your competitors...

3. “What separates me from my competitors?”

An industry worth entering likely has competitors. If you’re just starting your business, that means they’ve had a head start. So if you haven’t been around as long, why would a customer pick your business over a competitor’s?

You have to decide what your business’s “secret sauce” is. Is your product or service significantly cheaper than the other guys. Or is the quality of your work so much better that they’ll be convinced to switch over to you? Maybe you’re in the food industry, and you literally have a secret sauce. It’s up to you to decide what will separate you from the rest of the competition.

4. “Who am I selling to?”

Learning who you’re selling to is a key part of separating yourself from the competition. Nobody’s business is everyone. 

Let’s use a landscaping business as a simple example. Are you trying to sell you services to young 20-somethings who are on their own for the first time? Are you selling to middle-aged wealthy families? Or maybe you’re marketing towards older people who can’t quite take care of their yard the way they used to. Not all of these people are in the market for the same thing, so your business should speak to one in particular. 

Deciding on one of these as your primary market will help your business nail down its messaging, image, and pricing.

5. “Am I ready to be my own boss?”

When you work for yourself, there’s no one to tell you to get to work. That may sound obvious, but it’s a roadblock you’ll need to overcome. 

Learning how to be your own boss (and the boss of others) is one of the hardest and most important parts of starting your own business. Before starting your business, take some time to reflect to make sure you’re ready for the new responsibilities. 

6. “If this doesn’t work out right away, how long am I going to stick with it?”

Let’s face it, very few businesses hit the ground running and start turning a profit overnight. There’s a good chance that you’re going to struggle (at least a little) at the start before your business can take off.

While struggling at the beginning is normal in the lifecycle of a business, it’s important to be practical. Set yourself a tentative “evaluation date” sometime in the future. Five or six months from now, if you’re still struggling to get by, what can you change? After another six months, it might be time to take a step back, at least temporarily. It’s important for your wallet and mental health to know to walk away at the right time, if necessary.

7. “What is my fallback plan?”

Some might consider walking into a business without a fallback plan “courageous” and “going all-in”. While that can be true, all of that courage can turn into shortsightedness very quickly when it’s clear your business isn’t going to succeed. It’s important to have a way to provide for yourself in case things don’t go as planned. Even something as simple as having a bit of money saved, or a job you know will be available for you if necessary can go a long way towards having financial security and peace of mind. 

If you’ve asked all of these questions and decided to start your business, you’re going to need to invoice. Check out more than 100 templates at our invoice creator now!

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