So, you want to be your own boss? You're not alone—according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States. But starting a business is a big undertaking, and it's not something that should be taken lightly. Before you take the plunge, ask yourself these 10 important business startup questions.
- What need does my business fill?
- Who is my target market?
- How will I reach my target market?
- What is my pricing strategy?
- What are the start-up costs for my business?
- How will I finance my business?
- What are the legal requirements for starting my business?
- What are the risks and potential pitfalls associated with my business?
- What are my long-term goals for my business?
- Am I prepared to work hard to make my business a success?
What need does my business fill?
The first step to starting any business is identifying a need in the marketplace that your product or service can fill. For example, if you're launching a new line of all-natural cleaning products, you'll need to do some research to find out if there's already a similar product on the market and, if so, how your product will be different or better than what's already available.
Who is my target market?
Once you've identified a need in the marketplace, you'll need to narrow down who your target market is. Are you selling your product or service to businesses or consumers? And within that group, who will be most likely to buy your product or service? Defining your target market is essential to determine how best to reach them with your marketing efforts.
How will I reach my target market?
Now that you know who your target market is, it's time to start thinking about how you'll reach them—in other words, what kind of marketing mix you'll use. Will you use traditional advertising methods like print, radio, or television ads? Or will you focus on digital marketing tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, or social media marketing?
What is my pricing strategy?
Your pricing strategy should take into account the perceived value of your product or service as well as your production costs and desired profit margin. If you're selling a high-end luxury item, for example, you'll likely be able to charge more than if you're selling a commodity item like salt or sugar because customers will perceive more value in the luxury item.
What are the start-up costs for my business?
In addition to taking into account the cost of goods sold (COGS), which includes materials and labor costs associated with producing your product or service, you'll also need to factor in one-time start-up costs like licenses and permits, equipment purchases, and build-out costs if you're renting or leasing office or retail space
How will I finance my business?
There are several ways to finance a small business, including personal savings, loans from family and friends, small business loans from banks or credit unions, venture capital funding, and crowdfunding.
What are the legal requirements for starting my business? Depending on the type of business you're starting—for example, if you're opening a restaurant or salon—there may be special licenses or permits required by state or local law
What are the risks and potential pitfalls associated with my business? Every new business venture comes with some degree of risk
What are my long-term goals for my business? Planning for long-term success is essential for any new business owner
Am I prepared to work hard to make my business a success? Last but not least, owning your own small businesses means being prepared to put in long hours—sometimes 60 hours per week or more—to make your dream a reality
Conclusion: If you're thinking about starting a small business , congratulations! You're embarking on an exciting journey . But before you get started , it's important to ask yourself some tough questions . Answering these 10 questions honestly will help ensure that you have what it takes to succeed . Good luck!