Star’s Corner: Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business
Starting a business can be one of the most exciting times in your life. Taking a vision and turning it into action can be life changing—it’s all about living the dream.
My last blog was about self-discovery and finding where your true passion lies. If you have passion for entrepreneurship, then you may have heard that 96% of businesses fail in ten years. Don’t let that discourage you! It’s important to understand the challenges and risks involved so you can rise above and beat the odds.
If you’re on the fence about starting your own business, there are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before you make this commitment:
1. Does this financially make sense right now?
My dad used to say, “If it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.” In the start-up phase, you’ll have to keep operating expenses as low as possible to make the most profit—and you may need to look into taking out a loan. Figure out how much money you’ll need to maintain business operations and do your research to determine if it makes sense.
2. Do you have a business plan?
Ladies, not having a business plan is like walking through the forest without a compass. Don’t get lost! Create a roadmap that will help steer you towards the success of your business. Your business plan should include a mission statement, vision, marketing strategy and of course, financial and succession preparation. Keep these goals in mind from the start— you can’t build anything without a strong, secure foundation.
3. Do you really know your target market?
Say it with me now: Research, test, repeat! Test your product with actual consumers to collect data and honest feedback. Do it over and over, because the market evolves and consumer interests shift quickly. Study not only your consumers, but also your competition. Pay attention to what they do, how they do it and always think of ways to add value to your unique sales proposition. Stand out from the competition!
4. Do you have a support system in place?
Look to your network! As a founder you may feel like you have to do everything and be everywhere. Guess what? You can’t. It’s okay to reach out for help. Many IAW members are entrepreneurs who have been where you want to be. They can also direct you to people who can answer questions or get you feeling confident about starting your own business.
5. Are you ready to commit most of your time and energy?
Grit, persistence, determination…just some of the qualities of an entrepreneur. Your business is your baby, so it requires constant TLC. Get ready for long hours, less personal time and the daily struggle of managing personal and professional obligations. The balancing act will be rough at first, but with the help of your support system and a little time management, you’ll get into a routine that works for you. You got this!
Here’s to successful entrepreneurs—dream it, believe it, own it!
We want to hear from you. Are you thinking about starting your own entrepreneurial project? Answer the questions above and share your answers below.