Thinking of Starting a Small Business? Ask Yourself the Following Questions First
Are you considering starting a small business? Chances are you are feeling excited and scared at the same time. However, there are certain key considerations you need to consider before you dive in head first.
Let us face it: starting a small business can be a huge, life-altering decision. You can liken it to marriage—it will require a huge level of commitment and desire if you want to make it work.
Also, just like any marriage, you will be living dealing with your business 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. In addition, just like any marriage, you must commit to the relationship to make it work.
You can also expect to face challenges along the way. However, if you have a robust plan and you can make things work, running a small business can be one of the most satisfying adventures of your life.
Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Small Business
Below are some of the key questions you can ask yourself so you can decide whether you should go all-in:
What problem am I solving?
What will your product or service solve? If you do not have a clear answer, stop and go back to the drawing board. Whatever your product or service may be, it is important that you solve a certain pain point as that is what determines the value of the product or services you are offering.
The book Rework compares entrepreneurship to having an itch and scratching it. The “itch” is your problem and scratching it is the solution. When thinking of solving a problem, think of functionality. For instance: a luggage that compresses to take up minimal space or a coffee mug that can keep coffee hotter for a longer period.
How much do I need to start?
Let us say you are considering opening a store. While it can seem straightforward, opening a store can be costly. This is especially true if you have not tested your business concept yet. Ideally, when you are first starting out, you need to do everything in your power to spend as little as possible.
Who else is doing what I want to do?
It would be hard to play the game if you do not know the people you are playing with. A simple Google search can help you see who you will be competing with. It is important to remember however that just because someone else is selling the same product or service, you cannot pursue your dream to start your own business.
Check what the competition offers so you will be able to decide if you can offer something better.
What is my ‘special sauce?’
If you want to be a step ahead of the pack, you need to offer something different. To offer something different, you need to determine what your special sauce is. Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban defines special sauce as the quality that makes your business stand out from the rest.
Your special sauce can come from various aspects of your venture—your product or service’s unique quality, how it is made, where it is made, the price, exceptional customer service, or charitable component.
To determine your company’s special sauce, ask yourself this key question: what will make people purchase my product or patronize my service over the others? The answer to that question is your special sauce and should be an integral part of your marketing.
What resources do I have so I can get started?
In the movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks’ character opened floating packages and repurposed them for survival. Basically, that is the kind of mentality you need to have if you are an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, too often, people focus on what they do not have.
Ideally, you need to focus on the resources you have access and how you can use it to work for you. Make a list of everything that can help you like connections, skills, capital, etc. You will be surprised how much you have going for you when you focus on what you have access to.
Over to You
If the questions do not give you a clear answer but you catch yourself going back to the same business idea over and over again, it is likely you are on to something you are truly passionate about. In the business world, sometimes, it is all the answer you need.