Five questions every “want to be” entrepreneur should be asking

If you have been thinking about starting a business there are five questions you should be asking yourself first. The answers will help you determine whether you are ready to move forward with your idea or not.

Starting a business takes a great deal of energy. As a business owner, your job is to harness that energy and passion and develop it into a living. When you care deeply about what you do, your focus can provide a clear path to success as long as you take certain steps. 

Creating a plan for your business is like carrying an atlas or using your GPS on a long trip. You may not know exactly how to get there, but you have a good idea and can make adjustments for detours and rest stops along the way. It is not necessary to create a complicated plan, but there are five basic questions you should ask yourself before beginning your adventure. These questions will help you understand what it is you hope to accomplish and whether your expectations are in alignment with what is possible. 

The questions listed below are all related to one another. If anyone answer does not align with the others then you should make adjustments to your business model. Here are the questions suggested by Michigan State University Extension that you need to be asking and why they are important: 

  1. Why do I want my business to succeed? – This may seem obvious, but the core purpose of your business will drive every other part of it. If you are unclear as to why you have started your business, you will have a hard time succeeding. All truly successful entrepreneurs have a drive for why they do what they do and a belief that they can achieve it.
  2. Where do you see your business in five years? – Your vision is the picture of your business at some point in time in the future. It can include big crazy items, but without a vision, it is similar to getting into a car without knowing where you are going. Make sure you are clear about where you want to take your business.
  3. What do you want to achieve? – Great business planning includes setting specific, measurable, and time-based objectives. If you don’t set objectives, you won’t know if you should continue on the same path or change course. How do you know if you have set the right objective unless you have something to compare it to? Be sure to set goals that include benchmarks for review and plans of action for follow through.
  4. How will you achieve your objectives? – Write down exactly what it is you want to achieve with clear strategies of ways you are going to make them happen. Using a plan of work is a good way to hold yourself accountable for the steps necessary to make sure you are moving forward in a timely manner. Your strategies are the high-level areas of focus you will execute to achieve your objectives. It is important to be clear about how you will be accomplishing the objectives so as not to waste time on what needs to be done.
  5. Is there a market for your business plan? – The last question helps you identify the viability of your plan. Once you have identified your passion, the final question to ask, is there a market for your product or service? You’ll need to make projections to determine if it makes sense to actually go into business. The U.S. Government Small Business Development Center has a good template to help with this process. It is located at the end of the Writing a Business Plan document. 

By answering these five simple questions you’ll be able to jump start writing a business plan. Having a clear understanding of what you want to do and why you want to do it is the first step in creating a successful business model.

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