by Mila Sanchez
I’ve worked my fair share of jobs and I’ve felt differently about each one. Some I liked, some I tolerated, and some work I downright hated. One thing that’s been universal though is that I’ve never felt fully satisfied. It’s not that I didn’t like the work, it just never felt like there was one thing I should be doing for the rest of my life. One thing that’s always been in the back of my mind is starting my own business and the older I get the more I think it’s the key to my work-life happiness and job satisfaction. I have so many ideas but unfortunately none of the know-how.
Recently, I’ve been starting to research about what I need to know in order to start my own business — things I need to think about, tools that will be needed to make a business successful. I’ve created a sort of “beginners guide” for myself and any others in this community thinking about self-employment.
Things to consider before diving in
There are tons of things to think about before starting a business and one of the first things to consider, is what do you want your business to be. I have tons of business ideas, but just because I think they are awesome ideas, doesn’t mean they are all winners. A good article I read recently from Intuit Quickbooks states four questions you need to ask yourself before starting a business.
Business Question #1: Who will buy what you want to sell? This is probably the most important question because customers are the only thing that is going to keep you in business. You may think your product or service is amazing and useful, but unless you have customers willing to buy what you’re offering, your business isn’t going to get very far.
Business Question #2: What people with what skill-sets do I need to help me?
Even for a small, in-home business, you are going to need some outside help to get it moving. Find people either amongst your friends or within your community who can help you get started. People who have started their own businesses are invaluable resources for information, especially when it comes to running a small business specific to your location. Friends are great assets for helping to spread the word as well.
Business Question #3: Will I enjoy this work for the next three years?
The idea of starting your own business is exciting, but is the business you want to start something you will enjoy doing for the long run? To fully enjoy the freedom and happiness that can come from self-employment, you should choose a business that you are passionate about and are willing to put in the extreme time and effort it will require. A sudden whim of an idea may be a good product or business notion, but you may not feel the same about it a few years from now
Business Question #4: What is my exit strategy?
While not fun to think about, there is always a chance of failure. Some businesses will boom, some will sustain, but some will ultimately not make it and you need to be prepared just in case. Thinking about different scenarios for the end, such as selling to investors, selling product rights, or just closing entirely is worthwhile. Make sure to have a good savings to fall back on in any of these cases.
Tools and know-how
All businesses need tools to help them run, whether it’s an in-home business or a storefront business. Luckily, with technology, there are so many business tools and advertising platforms available that make running a business much easier and cost effective than it use to be. Some great tools to consider using include:
- Social media: According to an infographic from the University of Alabama, social media is essential for entrepreneurs looking to grow their business. Traditional advertising is a thing of the past and a well thought out marketing platform through social media is the best way to connect with customers. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are just some of the platforms most popularly used.
- Website creator: There isn’t much use for social media if you don’t have a website to send users to. Strikingly is a great tool for helping those of us who aren’t versed in the language of HTML and coding.
- Payment tool: The main goal in a business is to get paid, but in a world where people more often than not don’t carry cash on them, it’s essential to have a way to charge debit and credit cards. Square is an awesome and cost efficient resource for any entrepreneur with a smart device. Not only will you be able to charge your card carrying customers, but square has more tools on their site for other business functions like invoices and payroll.
- Legal documents: With every exciting business idea there comes the more boring side of legal contracts and documents necessary for different aspects of the business. Instead of writing these documents yourself you can use a site like docracy to find templates for what you need. You can even use the site to sign the documents if you would rather stay paperless, which saves clutter and paper waste.
These are just some of the things you need to think about and know when deciding to start a business. Opening a business isn’t easy, but with the internet and current technology, your entrepreneurial dream is more accessible than ever before.
Have you started a business? What’s been the greatest challenge and greatest success you’ve experienced so far? Share your stories with us.
Feature Photo: Rawpixel (Unsplash)
One thought on "Four questions to think about before starting a business"
I so like the question you’ve raised here–a subtle difference that makes a big difference. I briefly worked at home as a counselor when my boys were in grade school. I bribed them to be quiet and I’m afraid that was the extent of my sharing my enerrpreneuantss at the time. However, as they grew older, I believe I did share how much I valued my work, and they also had occasions to see that others had benefitted from it as well. Since my younger son is now a counselor himself who works in his home, evidently I modeled something that that reflected the worth and satisfaction of my work.
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