You are young and yearning to be a proud owner of a budding business firm. You take the decision of quitting your existing job in hand to be your own boss. Then what?
Before taking the plunge, it’s important to sit down and take into consideration several aspects regarding your business plan. From finances to industry research, here is a checklist of 10 very important questions you need to ask yourself and/or your partners over a cup of coffee. The questions have been known to be useful for many people when they are planning to start their own business ventures and ticking them off one by one could make a lot of confusions you had sizzle away.
- What service or product are you selling, and what is your value proposition?
This is the most important question for any aspiring entrepreneur. What are you selling and why should anyone come to you? What is so special about you – Is it your product or service, the way you manage projects and clients, your contacts and who you know or your experience?
- Who is your competition?
List the names and products of your competitors, who is selling the same product/service as you. How much of a competition they are depends on your location first and your product/service second.
- Is there a need or demand for your business?
This question determines why your business is actually important. Do people need your product/service or are you doing it as a passion? What is it that you offer which will make this business successful? The question is will it actually be successful or not, do people want what you offer? Is there a market present for your goods?
- Will you be running this business alone or will you have a partner(s)?
If you are planning to run this business alone then you will be the sole person responsible for all aspects of the business. The upside of this situation is you don’t have to worry what anyone else is doing. If you plan to have another partner or partners, then are there clear distinctions in each partner’s role in the business? Responsibilities of each partner should be clear before the business takes off so that there is no confusion or complications at a later stage.
- What skill-sets or people are required to make your services possible?
Which suppliers and contacts do you need for your business to work? You should have a list and contact of at least 5 suppliers that you might require for each area of your business before you start your business.
- To run this business, how much money will you need up front?
Before starting any business you need to know how much investment you need and how you will acquire that amount. You will need to invest your own money or find an investor or take a bank loan. But at an initial stage you should know your monetary limits and make sure too much debt or investment doesn’t haunt you later.
- How will you market your business?
What platforms will you use for marketing – pro bono work, word of mouth, door-to-door, Facebook page, website, magazine articles or something else? Make a list of how you want to advertise and what you have to do to make this happen.
- How will you price your products/services?
You have to decide on how you will make profit and how much profit margin you want to keep on your products and services. Will you make profit off your vendors and suppliers or will you ask for a specific fee separately, depending on your business product/service?
- What will the payment policy for clients be?
Will you ask them for a full payment in advance, pay within a few months or pay in installments? For example if you are offering a service like interior designing, how do you plan on taking the payment – will it be in advance for the vendors and your own fee later or everything later? How would you manage payment in all situations?
- How do you define success?
What is success for you? Is it a lot of money or many projects or happy clients? It’s important to know what it is and what will make you satisfied.
Another thing to consider is how you will register your company. There are so many options these days, it is beneficial to consult someone who knows the workings of law and business. Take all of the above into account and start off your venture.