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Starting a Business? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First

Small Business
young man works in his sunny studio and considers five key questions before starting a business

Are you interested in starting a business? The prospect of striking out and making it on your own — on your own terms — must be thrilling. Starting a business is an exciting venture that opens up a whole world of new possibilities.

Once you've decided on the service or product you'll offer, there are many considerations that could help set you (and your business) up for ultimate success.

1. Will You Love the Work You Do?

Whether you're aiming to run a mom-and-pop shop, become a full-time writer or head into any other line of work, sit down and think about your future. Will you truly enjoy the work you do — day in and day out? Answering "yes" to this question could help ensure your future happiness.

Sometimes, what you loved doing as a hobby could become an entirely different beast when you rely on that passion for producing income. Passion for your future pursuit could help you find your calling — and pay your bills.

2. Are You Qualified?

How much experience do you have in this line of work? Do you know what's involved — and what skills you'll need to make your business thrive?

For example, let's say you're interested in opening a bakery. How much experience do you have creating delectable pastries and cakes? If baking is your life's passion — great. But if you lack the necessary skills, you may want to consider going back to school, taking an adult education class or brushing up on the required skills in your spare time.

Also, previous employment within the industry could help give you a greater level of success in your own venture.

3. What Are Your Resources?

You have passion, but do you have resources too? If you're leaving behind a full-time job, you might also be leaving behind the many benefits your employer offers. Benefits like health and life insurance, as well as a retirement savings account, could help protect you and your loved ones from future financial hardship.

Think about how much coverage you'll need and how you could purchase it. Consider speaking with a financial representative who could help you find the perfect options for your needs. You might also want to have an emergency fund ready, which could help you cover unexpected costs. Life happens — and a financial backup could be especially helpful.

4. Have You Done Your Research?

What do your customers need and want? It could be helpful to do research to better identify (and understand) your customers before starting a business. You could conduct online surveys to find out more about your future customers, or read up on similar businesses to learn more about what they're doing. (These will be your competitors, after all!) How much are these other businesses charging for services or products? And how could you provide a better service or product?

5. Are Your Documents in Order?

Will you need a specific license or professional certification to set up your business? It could be worth checking local and state laws for requirements. Whether you're opening a business with a partner or by yourself, think about protecting yourself — and your personal property — from liability by setting up your business with the right legal documents. Consider speaking with an attorney to get the ball rolling.

It doesn't matter which type of business you're starting out with: Fun and exciting as a new venture could be, it's worth asking yourself these questions and thinking through all the steps before you begin. A thorough answer to these questions now could give you a solid foundation for future success.

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