Starting a Business

Ready to start a business? Ask these 30 questions

Make sure you're ready to start a business by taking time to consider these important questions.

Published: March 06, 2012
Updated: February 16, 2017

Owning a small business can be extremely rewarding – emotionally, professionally, and financially – but the risks of having a failed business are not to be taken lightly. The stakes are high, which means you need to have a clear idea of how to succeed – and for that matter, what success will look like for you and your loved ones.

Here are a few important considerations before you take the leap into business ownership:

Is starting a small business right for you?

Ask yourself whether you have the right temperament, motivation, and skills to start a business, and if it's the right thing for you and your family.

  1. Is my idea a business or a hobby?
  2. Do I have the personality and mental strength to own a business?
  3. Do I have the skills to start a business?
  4. Why do I want to start a business?
  5. Is it right for my family?

Running a business – especially a new business – can require the lion's share of your energy and attention. So, if you feel hesitant regarding your readiness or your family's readiness to take the leap into business ownership, it may be better to postpone your plans for the time being.

Have you considered the logistics of starting a small business?

Covering the basics of your potential business can help you plan financially. Asking yourself what you need for your business will help you figure out how to achieve your goals.

  1. What type of business do I want to own?
  2. Where do I want my business to be located?  
  3. What are my space requirements?
  4. If it's a home business, will I need to do any construction or renovations to accommodate my business?
  5. Do I know how to negotiate a commercial lease?
  6. What type of equipment will I require?
  7. How many employees will I need
  8. What will my business need that I can't do for myself?

Be sure you can answer these questions in precise detail before you open shop to avoid significant distractions when you can least afford them. 

Do you have the resources to start a small business?

Planning for your new business is a crucial aspect for success in the future. Ask yourself if you are prepared for the financial requirements and responsibilities of starting a business.

  1. Can I afford to leave my job, reduce my hours, or take on a second job? 
  2. What is my estimated startup cost?
  3. How will I raise capital? 
  4. Will I use personal or business credit?
  5. Do I know how to build good business credit?
  6. Do I know how to apply for a loan?
  7. Have I explored all of my financing options?
  8. Am I entitled to special funding for minorities and women?
  9. Can I afford for my business to fail?

It is important that you answer each of these questions in order to understand how your business will turn a profit – and therefore, survive and grow. Also, pay attention to how you feel while poring over these questions, because managing the financial health of your business will be a large aspect of your life as a business owner.

Will your business survive?

Before you start your business, it is crucial to ask yourself questions to determine whether you have a truly viable business idea. Being able to answer these questions prepares you to assume the risks of owning a business.

  1. Do I have a business plan with clearly established goals?
  2. Is my idea unique
  3. Who is my competition?
  4. How do I determine that my product will sell?
  5. How will I price my product or service competitively?
  6. Do I have a sales plan? 
  7. Do I have a marketing plan?
  8. Who are my trusted advisors?

Small business owners are optimistic and ambitious by nature – but when answering these questions, it's important to stand back and be your own critic. If you have lingering doubts while answering any of these questions, now is the time to address those concerns.

There's no way to foresee every outcome and opportunity ahead for your future business. However, thinking through some of these very essential questions can help you make better-informed decisions about your business's future.

For more resources as you embark on this journey, explore the Business Plan Center and Business Credit Center.