Before starting a business, consider the 5 questions below.
- Is my business really meeting needs?
- How is my solution different from my competitors’?
- Do I know how to sell or market?
- What challenges am I likely to face and how can I overcome them?
- How will I fund my business?
The idea of starting a business is fun until it is time to execute. Then the thought of coming up with a plan, strategies, hiring and organizing your team, etc. becomes burdensome. Eventually, when you find the courage to go through with all of that, you realize that it’s one thing to start the business, and it’s another to sustain it. In summary, running that business becomes very challenging. You realize it’s hard work.
Here’s the thing; I won’t say starting a business or running one is one of the easiest things to do, but it can be less challenging if you get a couple of things right from the beginning.
Okay! Here’s the point where I’m going to add that you are likely going to fail at some things no matter how prepared you are. However, you can minimize errors and even bounce back quickly only if your strategies are right.
So, enough with the talks. Let’s get straight to business. What 5 important questions should you ask yourself before starting a business?
1. Is my business really meeting needs?
Successful businesses have a lot to do than just buying and selling? They are valuable. What makes them valuable? They meet need.
Think about your favourite food company, restaurant, clinic, social media apps, websites, bloggers, etc. Why do you like them so much? It is because they always satisfy you every time you visit. They meet your need. So, beyond their fancy structures, customer care services, user experiences, and other features is their capacity to meet your needs.
Let’s bring it back to your business. No matter how pleasant the features of your products are, if it really doesn’t meet anyone’s need, then it’s pointless.
The first question you need to ask yourself is, what need is my business meeting?
2. How is my solution different from my competitors’?
Once you have established the fact that your business can meet people’s needs, you need to find out what marks you out from other brands or businesses who are trying to meet the same need.
So, say you need to make a chair. The truth is that there are several businesses making chairs out there. So, how’s yours going to be different? Do you want to make a chair that has tyres so that people can easily move around without getting up from the chair? Do you want to attach an air conditioner to it to make people feel refreshed? I mean, what’s that special thing you are bringing to the table that’s not in the market already? How are you different from others? You need to figure that out.
3. Do I know how to sell or market?
So, most people think that all that they need to start a business and become successful is to produce an incredible product. Well, while that’s true, that’s not all that you need.
Say Mr A builds a lovely house in a forest across town. Let’s say the house has all the amazing features to keep the owners from harsh conditions of the forest. Imagine a building made with lots of diamonds, a nice fireplace, a giant air conditioner for the cold season, and lots of amazing features.
The fact that the house is lovely doesn’t mean that people will find their way to it. Mind you, it’s on the other side of town. It means that Mr A would have to create a visible path for people to find their way to it. Not only will he create a path to it, but also talk to people about the benefits of owning such. Failure to do that means that his business will crash.
So, before you start that business, you need to ask yourself if you know how to build the right path to connect people to your business, knowing that there are a lot of side attractions of the road. How well can you convince people that your product is something that they will need?
Can you sell anything to people? Whether you are a writer, trainer, doctor, barrister, etc, if you do not know how to sell, you might want to consider learning that first.
Hint: Have you ever wondered why they say so and so is a best-selling author, not a best-writing author?
4. What challenges am I likely to face and how can I overcome them?
Ask a series of successful people in a particular field what challenges they faced to get to the top. You’ll be surprised to find out that most of them would have similar experiences. Why? Some challenges are inevitable. However, do you end your question at that. Ask them what they did to overcome these challenges? The answers you get from them will help you create your strategy for recovering.
5. How will I fund my business?
Most small businesses fail within the first 2 years of starting up because of a lack of funds. Starting a business requires a lot of funds. So, what’s your game plan?
It’s advisable to come with a plan that can help you generate enough funds to run the business within the first 2 years. This doesn’t mean that your business shouldn’t generate revenue in that time frame. It means that you are giving your startup enough push and support to stand on its own within that period.
Again, it’s easier to start a business on paper than in real life. However, when you have a goal and a proper plan, it becomes easy to achieve your dreams.
I wish you the best of luck, friend.