So You Want to Start Your Own Business? First Answer These Questions – Honestly

There are a gazillion different reasons people start their own businesses, and just as many ways of going about it.

I started mine, in 2009, having thought about it for 3 years and learnt the skills I needed. But then I found the decision made for me by my then employer.

You could day I was pushed, rather than jumped.

I didn’t, and have never, borrowed money to fund my business. I didn’t want the stress of creditors looking over my shoulder.

And success, for me, is having a business that gives me a comfortable living – nothing more.

I have no aspirations to join the Forbes top 100 (or any other list)..!!

But what about you? What’s driving you?

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, I urge you to do some serious soul-searching on a few different subjects.

And be brutally honest with your answers.

I have curated below four articles that ask some searching questions in 4 different areas:

  1. Funding and timing
  2. How you will position yourself in the market you’re addressing
  3. Your own internal motivators and drivers
  4. The best way to structure your business entity

I can tell you from my own experience: however you imagine your business developing, you can count on it developing differently.

As John Lennon sang: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”

Four different sets of questions to ask yourself before starting a business

The market place, your position in it and success measures

This first article focuses on how you assess the market segment you’re trying to enter, and how you will measure your success:

  1. What your competition is doing
  2. How you will position yourself in response
  3. How you will launch your business
  4. How you will fund your business
  5. How you will measure success

If you plan to raise funding for your business, you will need to be able to answer those questions with clarity, evidence and purpose.

Your motivations, desires and drivers

This article looks at your internal drivers for starting and sustaining a business: your motivations and desires, and the potential impact on the important people in your life.

These questions dig into your ‘why’, and the ‘why’ of your business partner or co-founder if you have one.

These emotional aspects are hugely important because of the impact that starting a business has on the important people in your life, such as your family.

I know that in the first couple of years of my business, I was thankful that I was single. The emotional struggle to get and keep things going would have fractured a relationship that wasn’t rock solid.

You should fully grasp just how much your life will change!

The legal questions you need to answer

This article is 6 years old, but the questions it asks and answers are as important today as they were when it was written.

It’s written by a business lawyer and the questions asked are focused on the US market.

If you’re in a different jurisdiction you should ask the same questions, but the answers will depend on your jurisdiction.

It addresses questions such as where you should incorporate your business, the amount you should capitalise your business at, how much you should give away to investors, how to protect your Intellectual Property, what kinds of insurance you will need, what kinds of licences you will need, and so on.

There are 25 questions in all, and the author, a business lawyer, suggests answers to each.

Clearly, though, you need to answer them for yourself, in relation to the business you are planning.

Round up questions

This article lists 12 questions. A few of them cover the same ground as questions in the other articles to which I’ve linked, but it’s often worth asking the same question in a different way.

This author spends some time discussing the benefits of defining clear limits in your business plan, as a way of reducing the stress you will experience.

The difficulty, of course, is defining those limits.

As I said earlier: your business will inevitably develop differently from the way you envisage it at the outset, so those limits you set may need to change too.

Fun Flashback

One of the greatest songs (if not the greatest) from John Lennon:

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Martin Malden

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