Questions to Ask Yourself When You Start a Small Business

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Many people dream about starting their own small business but never manage to put their dreams into action. Is it really that hard to start a small business? If you watch the TV show “Shark Tank,” you’ll find that even young people in their teens start small businesses. If they can do it, why can’t you?

You might also think that starting a small business requires a great leap of faith. You just have to take a chance and hope that it works. But this isn’t necessarily true. If you have a solid plan about starting a small business, then there’s a very high chance that it’s going to be successful. It’s not going to feel like taking a chance at all; it’s all going to be preplanned.

All you need to do is sit down and consider all the various aspects of running a small business. If you’re not sure how to start, you can do so by asking yourself the following questions:

What Kind of Small Business Do You Want to Start?

Most small businesses start with the idea of being your own boss. You don’t want to have to report to someone else. You want to set your own hours and run things the way you think best.

But before you go any further, you have to know what kind of small business you want to start. What field are you most interested in? Is it the one that you’ve been working in most of your life? Or is it something else?

The idea is to try to get a handle on your genuine interests. After all, there’s no point in trying to fulfill someone else’s dream when you’re starting a small business. Don’t let your spouse or best friend talk you into starting a small business in the field they want to work in. Make sure that you’re also genuinely interested in that field.

Do You Have the Experience Necessary?

In order to start a small business, you need to have a certain amount of experience in that field. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend ten years working in a field before you decide to branch out on your own. But at least a couple of years of experience are generally necessary before you start a small business.

Sometimes, you feel like you have a great idea and you don’t want to have to wait to put it into action. There’s no time for you to get the work experience necessary. In this case, you could work with a partner who has more experience. Or get a trusted consultant to give you advice.

How Do You Plan to Finance Your Business?

There are some businesses which don’t require too much in terms of finance. You can start them in your garage or spare room. All you need is a desk, chair and computer. You may already have the contacts necessary to find your first few clients.

Other businesses require you to lay out some money. So you might have to start saving for a year or two at least, before you start them. Or you can borrow the money from friends or family. If you have an asset you can put up as collateral, you can also borrow the money from the bank.

But the most important thing is to make sure that you have a good idea of how much money will be needed because many first-time business owners underestimate this. Make sure you err on the side of overestimation rather than underestimation. You can also work with an accounting firm to make sure that you have a solid financial plan.

Is There a Market for Your Product or Service?

Nowadays, it’s impossible to go very far in business without having an understanding of the market. You may have worked long enough in the field to know if people would be interested in buying that product or service. But if you’re trying to do something new, such as selling an innovative product, you’ll need to find out whether there’s a market for that product.

Sometimes, researching the market can be as simple as asking friends and family whether they would buy that product or service. You could also call up people who have bought similar products before to see what they think about your new idea. Or you could set up a Facebook page for the product to see if it generates any interest.

However, if you want to go all out, hire a marketing firm. Get them to do your research before you begin. They’ll be able to look up similar products in the past and how well they’ve done. They could also do a series of surveys to find out if your product is currently generating any interest. Then, if you’re happy with their services, you could also hire them later to run a marketing campaign.

How Big Do You Plan to Go?

When you start a business, it’s obviously going to be small. And sometimes, small business owners just let the business develop as it will, without planning things out in advance.

As a result, you may find, after a year, that the business has grown too big and unwieldy for you to manage. At that point, you may start wishing that you had kept it small but this will no longer be an option. Other business owners might have the opposite problem. They may find, after a year, that the business hasn’t developed to the extent they wanted. This might make them feel frustrated.

So it’s a good idea to come up with a five-year plan when you set up a business. If you’re up for it, you might even set up a ten-year plan. The idea is to think about exactly how big you plan to go and how you want to reach that goal. You’ll have to consider your finances, the labor force, the state of the market and your own time investment to figure out whether your plan is feasible.

How Do You Deal with Small Business Anxiety?

Sometimes, small business owners do everything they can to be prepared but they still end up feeling anxious about how the business is going to fare. Is there any kind of magic formula that will help you to avoid those sleepless nights?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution but there are certain general guidelines you can follow. One is taking care of yourself. When you start a small business, it’s tempting to throw everything you have into it. This would be a mistake. You need some time to unwind and relax. In fact, a lot of innovators and artists will tell you that this is when their best ideas come to them. And even if you don’t get any great ideas when you take a time out, you’ll at least be able to come back to work with a fresh mind the next day.

So make sure you take time out to do whatever you find fun. Spend some time with friends and family. Read a good book. Watch a movie. Not only are these activities going to be stress-busting, they’ll also allow you to lead a more rounded life.

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