You have the desire, the drive and the ideas – but are you ready to start a business? Opening a business is a tough process, and staying afloat once you have is even harder. Before starting your business there are a few essential questions you must ask yourself, and be sure you have solid answers for all of them.
First and foremost, WHY. Why do I want to start this business? Is it because you have a brand new product that no one else has and you see a real demand for? Is it just because you are tired of the same old corporate jobs? Make sure your “why” is a much better reason than because you are bored.
What products will my business offer? And do these products somehow stand out from what is already available? The key is to have something unique to offer the market. You should know what sets your offerings apart.
Am I willing and able to spend all of the time and money it will take to get this business of the ground? Is this simply an online business? Will you need a retail store
filled with store shelving and fixtures topped with merchandise? You will need to have a very real sense of the time and costs involved in getting your business running. You will have to understand the costs of opening a store, purchasing merchandise to fill your store fixtures with, the price for electricity and water and other utilities, how much you will need to pay employees, and more in order to figure out how much money you will need and what kind of loans you will need to take out.
Do I understand my audience? Do you know what kind of customers (realistically) you plan to reach? Are you stocking your store with the products that this audience genuinely wants and needs? You have to be practical about this question. Sure, you might want a certain type of audience to invest in your products, but that might not be feasible.
Where will my business be located? Have you done market research and scoped out available storefront spaces? Is this location the most beneficial to the type of clientele you expect? Location is crucial to the success of a retail brick and mortar store. If your store is in the middle of nowhere but the rent is cheap, that does not mean that you will get the customers you need to make it worthwhile.
Will I need employees? If you do need employees, you will need to figure out how many. Will you be the sole runner of the shop? Do you have a significant other or family member that plans to help? Once you figure out if you will need employees, there are many employee laws and regulations you will have to familiarize yourself with.
In addition to these questions you will need to know when your products will be available to sell, about how long it will take to start being profitable, the types of insurance you’ll need and to figure out your advertising plan. Resources like the U.S. Small Business Administration are great places to better understand all that goes into running your own business.