Guest post by Jasmine Stephenson
The prospect of starting a business is exciting, and many people are exploring their entrepreneur side. However, business success depends on answering a few honest, pointed questions before you plunge in headfirst.
There are so many important aspects to consider before starting a business. Take a long, hard look at your personality traits, your finances, and other significant factors. Have you got a few great ideas swimming around in your head? Ask yourself these questions before starting a business.
1. Can you take a financial loss?
It is well known that a large number of new businesses fail within the first year or two. Don't let the statistics discourage you; your business may skyrocket and become the next Microsoft or Walmart.
However, starting a business takes money. Do you have money to invest; can you find investors; or are you willing to take a loan? Consider your financial options carefully and the potential repercussions of each. Losing a lot of money is a definite possibility, and one you should be prepared for.
2. Are you passionate about your product or service?
I love buying a product that I feel the salesperson or business owner is really excited about. Not only does it make me feel good, but I also reflect on the experience and think, "Wow, it's amazing to see someone making a living doing what they love."
Will people feel this way about your product or service? Would you use the product or service yourself? Are you proud of your idea? For your new business to succeed, you must be enthusiastic about what you are providing.
3. Do you have enough time?
A new business isn't just a financial investment; it requires a lot of time as well. Putting minimal hours into the beginning and development phases of creating a business will not get you the result you're looking for.
I know you're busy - but are you too busy? If you are short on time, examine your schedule to see what you can reallocate, cut down, or cut out. After a few rearrangements, you may find the time to devote to your new businesses, or you may see that now just isn't the best time.
4. Can you create an honest business plan?
Every entrepreneurial expert agrees that future business owners need to create a business plan. Write down on paper exactly what kind of money you will likely spend, how much you plan to make from your product or service, future projections, competition analysis, et cetera.
After this step is completed, you should hand over your business plan to a mentor, successful entrepreneur, or investor to double-check your work. You may find that you are overestimating your income projections or underestimating your start-up costs. Seeing it all on paper in numbers will help you decide if you are ready to start a business.
5. Can you handle rejection?
So you have this fantastic idea in your mind, and you fantasize about your business blowing up big time. You may very well be right.
Before investing all your money and dedicating your life to this new project, ask for feedback. Ask your spouse, your friends, your family, coworkers, potential investors, and anyone you trust to give you an honest opinion.
Are you prepared for the worst? Some people may not appreciate your idea, but you could get it to work after a few tweaks. If you are easily discouraged, or if your feelings will be hurt after someone smashes your business idea, you may not be cut out to start a business.