Questions to Ask Before Starting a Small Business
Starting a small business can be like a dream come true. You are your own boss, you can set your own hours, and you can work towards your own goals and shape your company to match.
Being a business owner inevitably comes with some risks too, and of course responsibility, dedication, and a lot of hard work.
There are some important aspects of business ownership to consider before jumping in with both feet and getting started.
Here are some important questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge to ensure you can be successful in your endeavor.
Do you have enough finances secured?
Running a small business is an expensive venture. You have to factor in many costs like rent, operating costs including energy bills, inventory stock, a marketing budget, and web hosting fees, to name a few.
These costs can add up quickly, especially when you’re just starting out and haven’t secured regular clientele or a steady stream of customers yet.
Employee salaries will no doubt be the biggest expense you will need to account for. Carefully consider how many staff you require and if there are any ways to minimize costs without sacrificing quality.
There is no replacement for a good employee with highly refined skills.
In some cases, especially if you’re just starting a small business with tight profit margins, you can outsource to freelancers or use software programs instead of bringing on an employee before you can afford to.
Your business’s monthly energy expenses can be another big cost to factor in, so it’s a good idea to make sure you can get the best rates to avoid overpaying.
Use a website to compare electricity rates between energy suppliers and get competitive quotes so you can make an informed decision before signing an agreement and locking yourself into one company.
Before taking the plunge and buying or opening a business, it might be a good idea to work with a financial planner and sort out what your expenses and upfront costs will be.
You can take out business loans to bridge the gap, but make sure you have the ability to pay your monthly loan repayments on time to avoid getting yourself into a sticky financial situation.
Do you have a business plan?
Your business will need a solid direction in order to be successful.
If you haven’t thought out your objectives and goals, strategies, or plans in case of any bumps in the road, your business may flounder.
Have your priorities in mind so you can run your business with a cohesive vision.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can use online resources and templates to help, and then as time goes on, you can adapt it to better fit your needs and goals.
Are you in the right location?
Whether you’re taking over an existing business or moving in and starting from scratch, it’s important to consider the location and clientele in the surrounding area.
A good location means you will attract the right customers to your store, and a poor location could mean less-than-ideal foot traffic numbers.
You should also consider the amount of rent you’ll be playing against your operating costs and profits so you can make sure you’re not out of your price range.
Do you know how to brand and advertise?
Having a cohesive brand and advertising strategy can make or break your new business.
Building a brand takes time, and it’s important not to skip and steps to try and speed up the process because reputation is everything when it comes to businesses.
Additionally, having a proper advertising strategy can help build your brand faster, so unless you have the knowledge and skills.
Plus the time it takes to dedicate to advertising, it might be better to enlist the help of an agency or proven freelance marketer to get your business’s marketing up and running.