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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Into Business

By: Garry Pierrepont - Updated: 24 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Business Passion Goals Skills Success

1. Who Are You?

If you are starting up a business then you need to be confident in yourself. If it’s your business, you will be the crucial factor in its future. Do you have the right character to meet the challenges (and there will be many) of a business?

The facts of modern life are that most people do not enter a job in their teens and stay at the same company for 50 years. Things change – in life and in business – too quickly these days. At some stage, many people think about starting their own business.

What might push you into starting a business?

  • Redundancy
  • Frustration in your job
  • Not achieving a promotion
  • Job location change
  • Retirement without enough income
  • “mid-life crisis”
There are plenty of potential reasons. What will move you?

2. What Are Your Personal Goals?

When we are young we are often asked what we would like to be when we grow up. We might answer “professional footballer” or “pop singer” as examples. Although some may achieve those goals, most of us do not. But, how many of us are still asked that question, or ask it of ourselves when we have “grown up”?

To succeed in life you need personal goals. To succeed in business you almost certainly need a personal goal with that ambition. Set out your personal goals. Find out what it is you want to be, to do, to achieve. Without personal goals, you are likely to meander in life and your jobs without ever achieving anything, and certainly without achieving anything that you want to.

3. Can You Visualise Success?

Do you know what success looks like? Do you know what it feels like? Most successful people are able to visualise themselves succeeding at their chosen profession, whether they are sports people, entertainers or business people.

Try to visualise success. If you can only see yourself failing at a task, then watch yourself again and again until you succeed. Visualising success is the prelude to actual achievement, and you will know when you have succeeded.

4. Why Will You Fail?

We won’t dwell on the negative, but it is as well to understand why you might fail … so you can take action to prevent it. Are you poor with figures? Do you not rate your ability to sell? Are your negotiating skills poor? Are you totally risk averse?

Try and identify your possible areas of failure, and see what you can do to avoid them. Do you need a training course? What about recruiting people to help? Or maybe you need a mentor?

5. Who Will Support You?

Starting and running a business is hard work, takes long hours and will make you tired and, at times, tetchy – to say the least. Do you have the support of those around you? Your spouse, your family? Of, if you’re very young, your parents? Or, if you have no family, do you have friends you can turn to?

Sometimes you will need to offload onto someone close to you. Will they be ready and happy to listen? You need their support.

6. What Are Your Skills?

Most people start a business in an area they are familiar with; maybe carrying on the role they have pursued in their career. This is not always the best path to take. The best chance of success is to follow your passion. To build a business around something you really believe in and passionately want to succeed will give you a better chance than simply doing what you’ve always done.

7. Why Will You Succeed?

You have the best chance of success if:
  • You follow your passion
  • You realistically assess your weaknesses and take action to combat them
  • You have a great idea
  • You have strong cashflow

8. How Big Will Your Business Be?

Although your thoughts may be on sitting in a penthouse office running a large business, you have to be realistic. Is your idea going to enable you to do that? Or will it be enough to give you a good standard of living? “Thinking big” is commendable, but must be accompanied by realism. Building a business too big too quickly can also result, ultimately, in failure. Be wary.

9. Have You Any Ideas?

What will your business do? You might have a Big Idea, but even if you don’t, you can still start a business. You could opt for a franchise, or go into partnership with others – one of whom might have a Big Idea! However, it is sensible to examine your skills – and your passion. This will help lead you to an idea for a new business.

10. What Happens After You?

Are you building a business to last? Or just creating a job for yourself until you retire? The best path to choose for a successful business to build one that can exist without you. In this case, as the owner, you should be able to reap rewards while you’re still involved and when you’ve retired as well. You might even be able to sell the business and start another!

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