The idea of owning a business is intoxicating for many people. Being your own boss. Having freedom and flexibility to work when and where you want and so on. The reality as most business owners know, the reality, while rewarding is not always so simple.
Unless your business is selling widgets online, that does not require you to manage staff, stock and has no direct contact with clients, owning a business takes time and effort. We have all seen and heard the discussions about understanding your Why? and defining your purpose; however taking a step back, here are 5 simple questions to consider before you make the jump…
Do you have a business or just an idea?
There are lots and lots and lots of examples of great ideas that worked well in theory, but their translation into reality failed. Not every great idea is a business. When determining if yours can be developed into a business consider,
- Is what you do repeatable?
- Can you replicate the process or product to the same level (or greater) every time?
- Can it be scaled (to meet demand if/when it takes off)?
Do you know what it is you are selling?… And who are you selling it to?
If you are selling a product, this question seems pretty simple (it’s not); if you are selling a service, it is definitely a little more complicated. The saying ‘if you build it, they will come’ does not always ring true in business. You could have the best new product or be the best life coach, accountant, personal trainer or marketing expert on the planet, but unless you are clear on what you are selling and to whom, finding people to buy it will be difficult.
- What is the problem you are trying to solve?
- Who are you solving it for? Will they want to buy it? Why?
- How will what you sell help them? How will they find it?
Have you considered how you will run the business?
You’ve gone through all the questions so far and you know your idea is a goer. Congratulations! So, how will you run the business? When considering to go pro, it is worthwhile to consider how will you turn your idea into a business…
- How will you set up the business?
- What systems do you need? Finance? Equipment? Permits? Marketing?
- Who will do this? You? An Adviser?
- Once you are up and running, do you need a Team? What will your team look like? How will you pay them?
It is easy to think, in the day and age of Fiverr and Upwork, that you can just outsource your business to others; but be aware, the responsibility still lies with you. You (or your appointment business manager) will need to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. And, if you are selling a service, how will you maintain the level of service you provide?
Are you willing to put in the effort, time, ‘sweat equity’ to make it a success (beyond outsourcing it to others)?
Finally, an extension of the questions above, what are you willing to do for your business?
66% of business fail within 5 years of opening the doors, and it’s not (always) because the product or service was bad. Understanding HOW the business will run and WHAT you need to do to keep it running is what business is about… not the idea you started with.
These are some questions I have been working through with clients over the past few months and felt they were worth sharing and considering.
What other questions might you consider?
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